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The full title:
"Why daniweb attracts only newbies with no interest to stay in programming and what can be done to keep the others as well ? "

Over few past years now (six my profile says) I love daniweb because it is a polite and civilized place to be (especially in times that I am programming alone , you shouldn't never be alone in programming in my point of view , the interaction is what makes us better and opens our horizons) . I have wrote my objections about the new “design” but this isn't the main problem , it is the main policy those days , one view for all (there are “pages” in their minds and not applications yet , maybe after five years we will talk about that) .

For some reason it seems that daniweb is the ideal place for people that have a minimum relation to programming and don't really care , to ask a question or two and then leave. This is great because most days , there are more than three questions a day in a hot tag e.g. PHP but if someone knows the basics will be get bored asking if earth is not flat 1000 times , who asks here the first time and then learns , have no real reason to be in daniweb for next visit other of helping others.

One strategy would be to make posts about major things in programming to keep the spirit up as programming “religious wars”. E.g. ORM vs Data Mapping , or other interesting things. Yes this topic would be a bit hot with maybe pointed opinions but would keep the programmers here because in all the discussion something new might arose. I tried that some years ago with no affect.

One other strategy could be if the main page of each language ( I hope that soon to be realized that each programming language is a different field ) had news. A blogging like system that there would be tutorials , interviews , code snippets and why not frew product reviews for advertising revenues.

One other strategy would be the subject of the month in every language (if daniweb hasn't a big community in lets say “R” language than the subject doesn't need a refresh). I am not talking here about “religious wars” but something like “the problem is x … how would you solved this ?”.

I am moving from one company to other (in both I have a percentage but currently I work alone, (I am sure that I will remember those days as great but as I said interaction is what move us forward) ) the couple past months , so I had the urge for that interactions. That made me think why daniweb has even fewer visitors than a project that I abandoned three years ago. Has fewer visitors but great programmers just hanging out , and besides that I believe great people as well. I don't know if Dani like the idea to speak this loud. But I didn't stand on the problem I gave some proposals, I would love to hear others as well.

( I still find offensive the payment system , and as I understood it is not working as expected for people trying to get the 5 or 10 bucks out of it (even 50 but who cares). You can't say to others “pay to have better answers” you can say “pay to mark your question as sponsored and above others”. If you are going to create answers and responders then none serious responder would be here for 0.10 per hour. Calculate that “payment” and send a gift to the responder or even a check … don't make it too market )

Edited by jkon

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These are good proposals, maybe you will be heard :)
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Last Post by Dani
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  • 3

    I think the teachers of these coding classes tell their students "If you have any problems, just copy/paste your homework on Daniweb - the people there really dig that kind of thing". Read More

  • 3

    Main problem is that there's no penalty for dumping your homework assignments here verbatim. On StackOverflow if you do that the entire thread gets removed, and your account gets locked from posting anything for a period of time (especially if you do it repeatedly). Daniweb needs something like that. Of … Read More

  • 4
    ~s.o.s~ 2,560   2 Years Ago

    I have come to realize that only a handful of beginners prefer programming "discussions". This is one of the primary reasons why SO is viral; as long as you have a precise question, there are loads of professionals out there ready to give you an answer for "free". The reward … Read More

  • 3

    I joined DaniWeb ten years ago when I was just a beginner programmer and it was probably the golden age of DaniWeb. In that time, I felt that DaniWeb was the most modern and most innovative forum among all the forums on the internet. The design was top-notch (the current … Read More

  • 2
    diafol 3,720   2 Years Ago

    Many good points. >during the past six years is that Daniweb stop innovating and stop trying to be unqiue That's always a tricky one. Trying to balance keeping your members happy by not changing too much, but changing just enough to keep you attractive. Heh heh, have you read all … Read More

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I'll chip in there on the "quality of noob". I think I've mentioned this in a couple of threads over the last year or so. We do seem to be getting an inordinate number of fly-byers and script-kiddies. It certainly does make researching and crafting a (hopefully) elegant solution a bit of an unfulfilling experience when the OP doesn't come back or just demands more and more, without being prepared to do any legwork themselves. We used to have something like an "ignore list". This was dispensed with a few years ago, but I always hankered after it. As a mod, I suppose an ignore list would be something that I should not use, but as a contributor, it would certainly remind me not to help that "selfish so-and-so", even though the argument goes that we help everybody by replying, not just the OP. That doesn't offer anything with regard to retaining "quality" members I know.

I think creating quality editorial (like your recent tutorial series) is a good way of drawing more people in. HG writes the odd brilliant news article too. Other than that, it's pretty thin on the ground. I'd certainly like to argue the toss with you on a number of issues (PHP) - just that they're not too complicated, heh heh.

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thank you
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My recent tutorial series ? ... No one read those , no questions in the third one I had an error in purpose .. and nobody read it and tried really m so there is no reason for me to write a new one. Right now daniweb is a site that is having real few visitors. Fewer than a project I abandond three years ago.

What can we do with that ? How can we make daniweb intresting again ?

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I read it. Which error?? I was gonna give ILM a bash next month. ANyhow, I get your point.
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I think skilled programmers usually don't have problems with basic / general language issues and, when having some difficulties, they would search for help in appropriate places, like: bug lists, mailing lists, specific niche forums & blogs or support teams.

In my activity I hardly ask for help, as I'm generally able to find what I need. Only when I'm really lost then I ask for an advice, and I search primarly in those places mentioned above, not for distrust in Daniweb members, but because you would search in those places too. I think this is the behaviour of professionals, at least a part.

Daniweb, as I see it, lacks of strong niche groups, for example: if we had groups of people working on same framework / browser plugins / mobile apps / hardware (Raspberry PI & co.) and sharing snippets and issues then, it could drive the attention of new contributors interested in rise their knowledge on those topics. From my point of view, the new tag system can help to build such groups, but it's not something that we can force, it has to emerge spontaneously.

On the other side, nowadays, there are a lot of documentation / blogs & books, so it's easy to get confident with a new technology without becoming visible to other partecipants.

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Doing projects together would be nice and fun, one way or another would benefit the majority of people involved in it

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I have a few observations. From what I have heard the US population is probably shrinking a little bit due to the baby boomer thing. So most programmers these days are actually senior level people. If you take a look at the job market in most places you will quickly come to this conclusion due to the fact that only senior level people are getting hired. I am betting that you all are loosing a good deal of population due to these environmental features. I am also wondering how many people go to college and have to take at least one programming class as an elective. It's a strange thought, I wouldn't think that many people would go for an elective like this, much less need one. However while I was in college I noticed that a lot of students were held to a lot lower standard than I thought was probably required. This could be an errant observation, but I remeber being asked a lot of questions, like "what is an interface, and what is it good for". Also take into account the way the number of languages is ballooning these days with DSL's and scripting languages cropping up all over the place. It could be that everybody is being spread a little bit thin. The colleges I went to start people off at ASM, C/C++, and almost literally move chronologically to Java, C#, SQL, etc, etc, etc. I am not complaining about the number of languages today, I realize I will have to learn a good chunk of them to be successful. I get that a lot of classes require fundamental knowledge of efficiencies, and the history of programming, do you think that perhaps they teach too much history though? I don't know you all tell me... One of the things I noticed is that schools seldom teach the stuff that is really intersting, for example have you ever seen a C# crypto API class advertized for a 4 year degree? Practical cryptography, not theory, just how to use the classes that are already implemented in the API, and simple, not uber complex. I bought myself a C# data security book a while back, it is probably the most interesting thing I have picked up in a while, and it really lights a fire for me to want to learn more. Another thing I realized is that there's not really enough emphasis on configuration settings for databases, how to install them, SQL intracacies etc. I consider it a shortcoming of the current school systems. What about LINQ, I absolutely know that nobody teaches that in C# classes, and that's the C# afficionado's bread and butter. Speaking of LINQ, many languages are now supporting a more data pipeline approach to things, and nobody mentioned lambadas and anonymous classes until I picked up a book and read about it myself. Sure it is proably bleeding edge, what year did it come out? There are also a lot of "trendy stuff" going on these days, like as somebody mentioned Raspberry Pi's, and Arduino's. Have you guys ever made a sensor out of one of these? Physical computing... we really live in some interesting times to be a programmer. I probably won't be able to apply such knowledge at a work place, but it is some really cool stuff. I feel however that the hardware is a little bit expensive for pre-college/pre-employed individuals. Also, some of the raspberry pi/Arduino books have a little ways to go until they actually become academic, and simultaneousely interesting aswell as complete. Other things that interest me are Security related stuff, and penetration testing. Don't dismiss me as a hacker either, there are legal forms of "hacking", and I do admit that I know very little about the subject at this point in time, but it is cool to learn about how to secure your environment. Another thing that fires me up is doing something that is extremely elegant, or useful with available syntax, for example, an XML serializable object with an expando object type syntax, you know the array indicies overloaded, or perhaps a typed reader which automatically parses input to a user defined data type via attributes, you know fun and interesting stuff. Lots of people need a chance to get past the "hello world" examples into something really satisfying and elegant. What if you arranged your subjects according to toolchain? Would there be more overlap, and available community if you pooled in this way? For example Oracle -> Java -> Applets -> HTML -> JS -> Linux/apache/RedHat -> Eclipse/Beans/whatever is trending ... and another tool chain C# -> SQL Server (beginners want express, they could probably use a link to that) -> HTML -> JS -> ASP.NET -> Microsoft -> Visual Studio -> etc, and another Python -> C -> C++, etc. Perhaps one more, for portable apps. I don't want to make more work for people however, so evaluate what I say based on your own perceptions. After graduating I have been noticing that most companies use slightly different toolchains from each other however, some things are so specific it is a little bit irksome. Perhaps ignore the really fringe stuff until it establishes it's self. But there is always that wildcard tech which you have to learn, or perhaps help to phase out.

Just a bit of information, I graduated Cum Laude from my university, I am probably not going to mention which one, don't discount what I say based on what I percieve are shortcomings in the education system. What the schools didn't fill in I feel I have been making strides in on my own time.

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It's a good question. I think it gets hits about getting help with coding but then the newest of the new type in their homework without even trying. Some will rebuke folk as "not helpful" or worse.

I don't mind a puzzling issue or sharing what I've done about this or that over the years but there is a few too many "urgent, how do I write this for my homework" posts.

Maybe Khan was right. Let them eat static? Then again a few members have spot on standard responses to that sort of posts.

On another forum I'm on, I get folk all the time that want to know what part to replace on a non-working TV, receiver, PC, laptop, tablet, phone (you get the idea) and they may get irate over how today's gear may be cheaper to replace (a board to the entire device) than swapping out chips or such. As an electronics engineer I worked on fairly complex boards with full schematics and almost any gear of the day and well, you don't get that schematic (source code?) to consumer gear anymore.

Sometimes you like then stew a while to soften up.

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Perhaps there should be a feature where you can't downvote someone when your account is only n days/months old?

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Social Media (SM) thinking there. Not bad.
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2 things come to mind.
Every Question / Answer site I've spent enough time reading has the same issues with people who just want their homework done or just want a simple answer and are never to be heard from again, most of the time not even a reply once they have an answer. It's not exclusive to daniweb.

People get their answers more and more from a simple search engine query as more and more answers are available. Ask a question to google and you'll find the google of programming answers StackOverflow trumps all results 90% of the time, so registering on a site becomes more and more unneeded.

If it's traffic which is needed on a site, then opening the doors to guests or anonymous users could do the trick. When I was starting out those sites I could post on without registering attracted me more, and I wound up registering anyway in the end.
I would apply 2 simple rules to be enforced with this, an unregistered user cannot post in a thread they did not start. An unregistered user must pass bot test.

You cannot have the best of both worlds, you cannot expect people to do their research, and want them to sign up and ask a question, because by doing the former mostly negates the latter.

Sure you might get more noob and basic and even stupid questions, but in my experience that encourages newer noober members to participate in answering those simpler questions, because they actually can.

Edited by Suzie999

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One more could be the ability to make short comments into a response (but not as short as the “upvote” comment) without the need to vote.

One other would be to see in every post except from the reputation points the unsolved ratio. For example if a person has posted only two issues in the same day and after a month she / he marked as solved only the one than his / hers unsolved ratio would be 50% (of course tutorials , community center , code snippets and others shouldn't be counted)

(diafol it was an error in comments in the last ILM tutorial , in "Get all categories by parentId" I wrote in comments that we got all categories that had parent id 1 but in the code we got all categories that had parent id 0 , to be optimistic even if only one person (you) really tries these tutorials then there were a reason for writing those)

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short comments would be nice
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I think the teachers of these coding classes tell their students "If you have any problems, just copy/paste your homework on Daniweb - the people there really dig that kind of thing".

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That's it.
Yes, this does happen. I've witnessed it firsthand.
that has been observed I think, yes
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Suzie's suggestion of unregistered user traffic has merrit, however the unregistered users shouldn't be able to downvote, perhaps retain that as a member right. Suzie is also right about more and more people typing in a search query into google in order to obtain code snippets from mulitple sources. I know Snippets really help me, and I get them from a diverse number of sources. I would never copy them word for word for homework assignments, I would use them to understand how something worked. On the same token everything, or mostly everything you can see online is public domain. IDK.

None of the teachers I had told any of their students to copy and paiste snippets from other people's work. I have seen students do some pretty curious things in the past though, such as saying they were going to write a report about quantum computers, and then their "report" was just a printout of the wickipedia article. Perhaps a lot of teachers don't even try to catch the plagerisers because they don't really care, don't have the search tools, or don't have the political capital to persue such ends? (I am actually not suggesting that all teachers should have more political capital, wait 'til you get one with "political" capital, aswell as an axe to grind)

On the other side of the token I have had teachers who wouldn't let you use small utility methods written by others without a (insert obsenity) citation in a format that didn't even match MLA, or APA. How do you cite in a program? There has to be a little bit of sanity when it comes to programming, there are very useful things online, and coders do need to learn how to effectively practice code re-use. At the same time, a program written by somebody else is not giving the student the opportunity to learn the basic things they need to succeed outside of college. Whenever I use somebody else's snippet I try to simply put a comment including a URL, and the person's screen name.

Edited by overwraith

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Main problem is that there's no penalty for dumping your homework assignments here verbatim. On StackOverflow if you do that the entire thread gets removed, and your account gets locked from posting anything for a period of time (especially if you do it repeatedly).
Daniweb needs something like that.

Of course Dani doesn't seem to be aiming at professionals (though there are certainly some here, myself included) so much as students and schoolkids, and among those the ones most likely to want to get help in an online forum are the ones least likely to be inclined to do their own research...
If they were inclined to do their own research they'd rapidly find the answers to their problems as those tend to be fairly basic and easily handled by even basic tutorials and documentation (and usually their course material...).

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There should probably be a kick ban feature for people who only post one sentance and no code, would need human interaction of course. IDK.
That works for me.
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I have come to realize that only a handful of beginners prefer programming "discussions". This is one of the primary reasons why SO is viral; as long as you have a precise question, there are loads of professionals out there ready to give you an answer for "free". The reward for those professionals is internet "karma" which they can show in their resume (and seems to be working great these days due to the popularity of SO).

I am almost certain that this wasn't the case around 5-6 years back when long discussions on a single thread were a norm because a thread stood for much more than "I need X, how can I do it". Some examples which I can recollect are folks trying to create download managers and entire threads dedicated to solving that "big" problem. Multi-page threads were a norm as opposed to the current trend wherein most threads are solved or die out on a single page.

I'm sure there are still beginners/folks interested in having long discussions, it's just that they no longer use Daniweb but use some more recent solutions like gitter, SO chat and so on. Take an example of learning a new language. Let's say there are few smart newbies out there who would love to learn about Rust programming language. One look at https://www.rust-lang.org/community.html gives you multitude of options to get in touch with other Rust developers. What about Scala? Sure, here you go http://www.scala-lang.org/community/ which again has links to chat rooms -- instant gratification!

All in all, I would say the reduced traffic and low quality questions are not completely the fault of Daniweb -- it's just that the tech landscape is changing and we, as a generic discussion community are left with the short end of the stick.

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I think you've hit the nail squarely on the head. The question is now, how to keep DW relevant to any type of audience.
I am thinking your are most right, this is an environmental/changing landscape problem
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The world is upside down. OK, let me expand from there.

If you were making a support Q&A forum the designs you see are upside down. Questions with answers go to the top of most views and oldest are pushed down. That's pretty opposite of how things should be. That is, the person that has the newest question is at the top of the list.

Then we have the idea for commerical app/tool/other support forums just don't work. An example is at Ninja Forms.

Beyond that, I agree that many want the solution without learning how the solution works or why. Sometimes they ask for things that are incredible at first until you understand they are just that new. New wears off eventually.

Then again I wonder what minds are behind questions like "What is TCP/IP?" With all that is on the web, or fine books, you begin to wonder who asks that question.

Then you have spam with shills asking how to recover SQL, Outlook, Excel and the list goes on files. With 99% of those being shills for file recovery answers (spammers) that really makes it rough for the 1% that really needed help.

Forums may not be perfect but if a member applies themself instead of expecting spoonfeeding, there is a lot of knowledgeable folk that will share insight and ideas.

Edited by rproffitt: Spelling.

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Well, "What is TCP/IP" is not the worst question I have ever heard. I think the worst one I have ever heard is "What is an interface". Mind you this was in a higher level programming class.

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@overwraith. What's interesting to that interface question is what the world thinks such a thing is. Well the world according to Google.

I'll admit that too much of my work over the years used the RS232 interface. Not much graphical going on there and plenty of software behind that. Context?

Fast forward to 2015 (now?) and my last app and its human interface on Android is lightyears ahead of my first program. Then again, teletype vs. smartphone!

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I was referring to a programatical interface however, it is a little bit important, and like I said it was a higher level programming class.

public interface ISomething{
    void IDoSomething();
}

I think you would probably agree with me that this is a fairly important concept.

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Nod. Member should ask much better questions.
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Something I've noticed on daniweb is, that when questions are of poor quality they are often voted down. But when questions are of good quality, they are rarely voted up, where as the answers often are.

I'm not talking about interesting questions or questions that have not been asked before that pique the interest of more experienced members, I'm just talking about those which are accompanied by some thoughts and aparrent effort on behalf of the thread starter which are structured well.

I'm not even certain how voting more on questions might positively affect a site like daniweb, but I'm certain it could not harm it.

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I joined DaniWeb ten years ago when I was just a beginner programmer and it was probably the golden age of DaniWeb. In that time, I felt that DaniWeb was the most modern and most innovative forum among all the forums on the internet. The design was top-notch (the current design is still top-notch), running the best customized vBulletin, and with great people. Before, I went inactive six year ago, my reputation rank was around 120. Six year later, my rank barely dropped and that indicates that during these six year Daniweb is mess up.

What I have noticed during the past six years is that Daniweb stop innovating and stop trying to be unqiue. Daniweb keep playing a catch-up game and trying to compete with everyone. Nowaday, Daniweb is like a little bit of everything: a little bit of question and answer website, a little of social media, a little of forum, and a little of blog. Daniweb does not have its own landscape, but trying hard to steal a bit of other landscape.

The big question should be what direction should Daniweb go and where should be our territory.

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Many good points.

during the past six years is that Daniweb stop innovating and stop trying to be unqiue

That's always a tricky one. Trying to balance keeping your members happy by not changing too much, but changing just enough to keep you attractive. Heh heh, have you read all the vitriol about a few changes to the design? You could swear people's nails had been torn out.

Edited by diafol

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I cannot agree more. Years ago, there were a number of things that we did that were very innovative and never before done, and it really propelled us to success. However, over the past few years, there hasn't been much in the way of complete innovation ... the industry landscape changed, and we did more of, as you say, borrowing concepts from here, and borrowing concepts from there.

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