[R] Re: Reasons not to answer very basic questions...

Uwe Ligges ligges at statistik.uni-dortmund.de
Tue Nov 30 09:14:55 CET 2004

Jim Lemon wrote:

> A.J. Rossini wrote:
>>and perhaps the most important reason for the particular socratic form
>>of teaching on this list...
> Golly, anyone who read Plato's Dialogues would realize that the Socratic 
> method involves patiently leading the questioner stepwise through the 
> solution, not simply writing RTFMeno.
> Jim

Jim, yes, that way works as long as the number of questioners does not 
sum up to "a lot":
It is "easy" to teach courses for 20 people and answer individual 
questions, even if these questions are very basic and have been 
explained more than once during the course.
Courses for 700 people (e.g. basic statistics for economists) in the 
biggest auditory aren't that funny and you have to say "read what 
I/others have written!" - or next month almost each student will be in 
your office asking question he/she could not work out in half an hour 
him/herself ...

So it is my very serious opinion that we need to point people to the 
basic documentation and the FAQ, if they post their first very basic 
question to the list. If the questioner asks the next basic questions as 
well, and with him many others, we will have a flood of many hundreds of 
messages a day!


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