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Johannes de Jong
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Hi Paul,
As a matter of interest :
- how many people have started the Cattle Drive.
- how many of these have completed it.

Thanks
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Back when Paul turned the Cattle Drive over to me I asked him the same question. At that time he had had about 100 people do the first assignment and about 20 that had gone through the 8th assignment.

Since then, about another 150 have started the course bringing the total to 250. So far about 35 or so have gone through the 8th assignment.

The reason the stats only go through the 8th assignment is that until recently that's all there was.

[This message has been edited by Marilyn deQueiroz (edited February 15, 2001).]
 
Johannes de Jong
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35 out of 250 does that indicate a very high % off "dropouts" ?
or that a lot are still busy working towards the 8th assigment?
by the way when did he hand it over to you?
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 15, 2001).]
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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>Does that indicate a very high % of "dropouts" ?

Yes, lots of dropouts. Seems like a lot of people feel that they already know everything we're trying to teach or that it is not important.

>When did he hand it over to you?

17 October, 2000. Although he is still involved, my assistant and I are handling the bulk of the workload now.
 
Johannes de Jong
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Pity.
How about adding a sort of incentive to stimulate people.
For instance adding "certified" to the different ranks here at the Ranch. i.e. I would become a "Certified Ranch hand", you a "Certified Sheriff" etc.
Maybe even add a list with certified "ranchers".
Do you also try and find out why people drop out by sending them e-mails asking them why they stopped for instance. Actually as I'm typing this a though has occurred. I'm starting a topic here "Why did you drop out of the Cattle drive?" (Would be better if we start a separate forum, but heck I'm no sheriff, yet )
I suppose you and Paul both have your reasons why you spend all you time doing what you doing for this community , but I know one thing for sure , it must be very frustrating for any teacher when his/her students drop out, so I suppose the same goes for you guys.
Good luck.

[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 15, 2001).]
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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We've tried various incentives. None have been particularly successful up to this point. Most people that I've contacted say they dropped out due to lack of time. Of course, priorities change in everyone's life for various reasons.

As far as being "certified", there is always the SCJP certification and we have no way to indicate on this bulletin board any differences between one ranch hand and another or one greenhorn and another. There are only four catagories, greenhorn, ranch hand, bartender, and sheriff, limited by the software.
 
Johannes de Jong
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Originally posted by Marilyn deQueiroz:
As far as being "certified", there is always the SCJP certification and we have no way to indicate on this bulletin board any differences between one ranch hand and another or one greenhorn and another. There are only four catagories, greenhorn, ranch hand, bartender, and sheriff, limited by the software.

Pity though. If I see how often people ask how they can become bartender, I really think some sort of visual way of showing that they have completed the Cattle drive might motivate them just that bit more to complete it.
 
Peter Tran
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Marilyn,
How about we make some sort of certificate link with their name like SUN so they can link to it and put it on their resume. Who knows, maybe our certificate may take off and be recognized by the industry. Even more so than SJCP. That would be pretty
-Peter
 
paul wheaton
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That would also be an enourmous amount of work for the nitpickers!
I suppose if we charged $150 for it, nitpickers could get $5 per assignment? The bigger assignments would work out to being less than minimum wage!
 
Thomas Paul
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We could take our pay when it becomes internationally recognized.
 
Peter Tran
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According to Marilyn's statistics, so far only 35 people would get this coveted "JavaRanch Programmer's certification" We could come up with a looking certificate using the JavaRanch's moosehead.
The criteria to get this certification is to finish all assignments.
-Peter
 
Thomas Paul
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The bigger assignments would work out to being less than minimum wage!
I'm fairly certain we aren't here to collect those big Christmas bonuses.
 
Johannes de Jong
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My suggestion was purely to motivate people to complete all the assingments and become recognized as Certified rangers here at the Java Ranch.
It's something like "Hey man I finished the Drive". Marilyn however did say that there were only 4 categories available. So I suppose the distinction cant be made.
As for the Official recognition that would be a added bonus
I for one will put in my CV that I have completed the Cattle Drive (when I do). I'm even playing around with the idea of putting the moose in as well. What do I gain by that, heck it proves to them that I do Java for the fun and am enthusiastic about it.
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 20, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 21, 2001).]
 
paul wheaton
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I think the important thing to remember here is the huge amount of work that is involved in the nitpicking.
And that not everybody is appreciative of the nitpicking. Many people would rather debate with the nitpicker about how the nitpicking is done than to just do the work. The funny thing is that if they are doing the first assignment, are they really in a position to debate?
 
Thomas Paul
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New rule for the Cattle Drive:
You are forbidden to argue balls and strikes with the umpires. If you do, you are out of the game.
 
Johannes de Jong
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Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
I think the important thing to remember here is the huge amount of work that is involved in the nitpicking.

No one argues with you there Paul.
And that not everybody is appreciative of the nitpicking. Many people would rather debate with the nitpicker about how the nitpicking is done than to just do the work. The funny thing is that if they are doing the first assignment, are they really in a position to debate?


I saw somewhere in another topic that programming can be considered an art http://www.javaranch.com/ubb/Forum32/HTML/000153.html I suppose thats why people take nitpicking so personal
As for your statement that people doing their first assigment might not be in a position to debate. Surely debating is a form of learning ie. trying to understand why. And also even though I might only have completed my 1st assigment and am only starting off on my Java adventure I do have more than 24 years worth of programming experience behind me. Surely that sort of background gives me the RIGHT to debate.
Actually Paul, I do feel a bit attacked by your reply. I only started this topic as a matter of interest and my further postings on it was to try help improve the % of people that finish the Drive.
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 21, 2001).]
 
Johannes de Jong
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
New rule for the Cattle Drive:
You are forbidden to argue balls and strikes with the umpires. If you do, you are out of the game.

Actually if these become the rules of the Drive I can live with it, but pse remember even ball players have the right to ask the ref why he was given out.
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 21, 2001).]
 
Thomas Paul
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Wrong! In baseball, if you argue balls and strikes you are tossed automatically.
From the official rules of baseball:
9.02 (a) Any umpire's decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.
[This message has been edited by Thomas Paul (edited February 22, 2001).]
 
Thomas Paul
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I do have more than 24 years worth of programming experience behind me. Surely that sort of background gives me the RIGHT to debate.

Fine, then why ask for our opinion? If you are going through the Cattle Drive then it's either the nitpicker's way or quit. No one is getting paid here. Questions about why we want you to do something a certain way are legitimate. Complaints and whining are not. To use the baseball analogy, if a batter is called out on strikes he is allowed to ask where the pitch was... he can't start complaining that the pitch was outside and the umpire needs glasses.
 
Johannes de Jong
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Why this attack Thomas
I have NOT been whining and complaining as you state here. Check my postings I have had nothing but praise for the "nitpickers".
Do you actually read what I'm posting / writing
I cant figure your and Paul's attack

[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 22, 2001).]
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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I think a lot depends on the attitude behind the "debate". If the student is trying to show why his/her way is right and the instructor is wrong or has the attitude that "I'll do it because you say so, but I don't agree", then I don't think that there is much learning going on. If they are asking what the reasoning is behind the comment(s), that is totally cool .

On the other hand, we don't "toss people out" of the cattle drive for any reason other than the lack of fulfilling the posting requirements ( see the about the cattle drive page ). It is the student's choice whether to continue or not.

In my opinion, it is the student's loss if s/he decides not to continue. We provide a service that we believe is beneficial to Java engineers. The incentive to the student is to see the improvement in the way they write their code.

Lots of people do the assignments and never send them in. There is certainly value in that. They will make a program that works! Our role is to help the student understand what makes a program readable. We also throw in tips about optimization and style.

 
Johannes de Jong
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I cant but agree on what you said Marilyn
Thanks
 
Thomas Paul
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I don't see any way in which I have attacked anyone. I never said that you were whining or complaining.
But debating is not a form of learning. Do you really think that Al Gore and George Bush were debating so that they could learn from each other?
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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I think Johannes is using the word "debate" in the sense of "to discuss a question" rather than the more common connotation of "to argue, fight or contend about".

I believe "discuss" would be a better word to describe this than "debate".
 
Thomas Paul
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And that not everybody is appreciative of the nitpicking. Many people would rather debate with the nitpicker about how the nitpicking is done than to just do the work.
But I don't think that was the sense that Paul was talking about in the above quote.
 
Johannes de Jong
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
But debating is not a form of learning. Do you really think that Al Gore and George Bush were debating so that they could learn from each other?

Come on, to compare a programmer with politician is an insult !!
As to your comments regarding whining and complaining.
I actually quit agree with your statements regarding people that complain and whine !! I just dont see the relevance to my original posting and subsequent replies.
I do however accept your word that you did not mean it as a personal attack
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 22, 2001).]
 
Mapraputa Is
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But debating is not a form of learning.

If debaters are only concern to �win�, like in case with Al Gore and George Bush, than, of course, it is not a form of learning. If both parts want to expand and enrich their knowledge, than it is a very effective form of learning. The problem seems to be when somebody feels personally attacked � in this case discussion can easily degrade to �I win � you lose� state. I usually watch for two things: 1) express my opinion without hurting others 2) not to be too sensitive myself.

This thread IMHO is a good example of �positive debating�
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
"And that not everybody is appreciative of the nitpicking. Many people would rather debate with the nitpicker about how the nitpicking is done than to just do the work."
But I don't think that was the sense that Paul was talking about in the above quote.

You're right, Thomas. He was talking about people who argue with the nitpicker that their way is better than the way we are trying to show them.

And we do get students like that!

It makes me wonder why they want to continue to have their assignments nitpicked if they already know how to do it better than the instructor.

(I was trying to quote inside a quote -- didn't work)

[This message has been edited by Marilyn deQueiroz (edited February 22, 2001).]
 
Johannes de Jong
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
2) not to be too sensitive myself.

Thanks Mapraputa, I'll keep this advice in mind


[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 22, 2001).]
 
Johannes de Jong
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Originally posted by Marilyn deQueiroz:
You're right, Thomas. He was talking about people who argue with the nitpicker that their way is better than the way we are trying to show them.

And we do get students like that!

It makes me wonder why they want to continue to have their assignments nitpicked if they already know how to do it better than the instructor.

Yes that is a tough one.
Like the link I refer to above, I do agree that programming can be considered a form of art. There is a lot of personal "me" in one's coding. I do have quit a bit of sympathy for the people that "fight" for their code.
But you guys have made it very clear from the beginning that your way is the right way and only. Heck you even call your code-reviewers "nitpickers" so the people know what they are letting themselves in for.
Do you formally warn people "enough is enough" one more whine and you are out?. Personally I think you have the right to do that.
Regarding the code that people submit do you guys & gals actually learn anything from it? and following up on that do you then decide to change your standard answer ?
As for my overly sensitive reaction to the replies from Paul and Thomas. I think what I really wanted was some recognition from Paul that my "certified Ranger" idea was the greatest since peanut butter. Case closed on that one.

[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited February 22, 2001).]
 
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Johannes, specially for you . My friend�s karate instructor used to say: �if someone hit you - rejoice, you are passed an energy!�
 
Johannes de Jong
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
�if someone hit you - rejoice, you are passed an energy!�

I dont think that I'd like to receive that kind of energy , thanks though.
 
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Ok, Johannes, then another words of wisdom from the same karate instructor:
"if somebody is going to hit you and you can run away - run away!"
 
Thomas Paul
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OK, so let's pretend that programming is an art. So Van Gogh paints a very nice picture. Now Picasso has to make changes to it. What do you think it will look like after a round of enhancements by Jackson Pollack? How about crap? You see, the idea is that by creating a consistent style among developers we will be able to create more understandable and therefore maintainable code.
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:
But you guys have made it very clear from the beginning that your way is the right way and only.
Do you formally warn people "enough is enough" one more whine and you are out?. Personally I think you have the right to do that.
Regarding the code that people submit do you guys & gals actually learn anything from it? and following up on that do you then decide to change your standard answer ?

It's not that our way is right and everyone else's is wrong. Our way is the one and only way for this course. It is important to learn how to follow the style guide of the group you are working for, whatever their style guide requires.

We don't kick people out for whining.

We occasionally change the instructor's solutions based on feedback from students.
 
paul wheaton
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"Actually Paul, I do feel a bit attacked by your reply"
I suspect that many people will feel the same way. In this case, I had no people in mind when I made the statement.
When I started into Java, I yearned for the sort of feedback that the cattle drive offers. I wanted to know about what things were industry standards vs. what things were stuff that authors made up. I also wanted to know details about better ways to do things. I even paid $2000 to attend a class involving graded homework only to have the homework returned with "90%" at the top. No other comments. Worthless.
I think discussion has always been encouraged. But I think this is the forum for the discussion, not in the assignments. Way back when I did the nitpicking, about one person in ten would send e-mail stating that I needed to handle them differently than everybody else in one way or another. Or that I should handle everybody the way they wanted to be handled. This usually boiled down to being their personal full time slave.
Well, now I'm ranting .....
All I ask for is that these debates over style, technique, etc. happen in these forums rather than via e-mail. It is these very debates that led to several changes in the style guide, and keep this site fresh.

 
paul wheaton
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On "our way or the highway" ...
The purpose of this is to make it easier on the nitpicker. Another bonus is that many companies will have a style guide that you will be required to follow. Being flexible in this regard in an important facet of being a professional.
 
paul wheaton
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"So Van Gogh paints a very nice picture. Now Picasso has to make changes to it."
Are you saying that you are the "Van Gogh" of Java?
It seems to me that by doing the Cattle Drive you are saying that you are a Java beginner and would like your code reviewed by somebody with a little more Java experience.
Useful feedback is what we offer.
Because you are new to java, you will have lots of questions about the feedback. That's healthy. That's educational.
Some people move out of that arena and debate the site, the technique, the overall service, the heritage of the nitpicker... In these areas, the student needs to show a great deal of diplomacy or there could be trouble. I think in most of these cases the student is frustrated and can't grasp why - so the student looks for something to grab at and wrestle with. In these cases, I prefer that the student have a little faith and trust in our nitpickers.
In fact, I think that is one ingredient that helps all students: faith and trust in the nitpicker.
Suppose you get about a dozen assignments in.... no matter how you got there, won't you have a greater understand of java? Perhaps that would be a better point to raise a lot of these questions.
 
Thomas Paul
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"So Van Gogh paints a very nice picture. Now Picasso has to make changes to it."
Are you saying that you are the "Van Gogh" of Java?

Actually the Van Gogh quote was from me. And I don't think of myself as the "Van Gogh of Java". I'm more like the "Washington Roebling of Java".
 
huiying li
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Hi,
I sent my first assignment last week to
nitpick@javaranch.com, so far I have not heard anything yet.
Any ideas?
Thanks

 
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