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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] code sleuths needed - cheating suspected
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Re: [vox] code sleuths needed - cheating suspected



That's a problem with your students not having dealt with undocumented,
uncommented legacy code in any previous situation. For example, I worked
for a 24/7 shop--all developers had a rotating on call schedule. It
totally sucked to get called at 3:00am to try to figure out why code
written by a long-gone developper (the shop in question also suffered from
a high-turnover rate) suddenly broke. It would have been very helpful to
have had some sort of insight as to what the developper was thinking when
he wrote the program.

Comments in the code are great for maintenance, but I imagine that it
would be very difficult to get that across to students in only a quarter.
Imagine if you could have students start a project in their freshman year,
then require them to defend it in order to graduate. Then they would
appreciate the value of *meaningful* comments in the code.

On Wed, 13 Nov 2002, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:

> i'd like to take off points for no commenting and poor formatting, but
> it's hard to when the class is pass/nopass.   i don't have the "playing
> field" that a normal A+ - F class does.
>
> but anyway, my experience is that if you force people to comment, you'll
> end up with comments like:
>
>
>    // i is an index variable
>    //
>    for (i=2; i<10; ++i)
>    {
>       V[i] = blah(i);
>    }
>
>
> because most people just don't think of anything more interesting to
> say.  like:
>
>
>    // We start i at 2 because of boundary conditions.  V[0] == 0 is a
>    // gauge choice and V[1] == 0 is due to spherical symmetry.
>    //
>    for (i=2; i<10; ++i)
>    {
>       V[i] = blah(i);
>    }
>
>
> you really can't force people to comment if they don't want to.
> otherwise you just get garbage.
>
>
> pete
>
>
> you can't really force people to comment.
> begin Bob <bob@maccione.com>
> > I sure hope you take credit off for lack of comments and poor formatting.
> > My pet peeve is that the people teaching people to code ignore the fact that
> > the code should be readable and heavily commented.  True, it's overkill for
> > one liner's but once the habit is learned (to not comment) it's really hard
> > to break.
> >
> > Then, as an employer, I have to baby sit these self-proclaimed code gods who
> > think their code is perfect without comments and everyone else is a fool..
> >
> > It's been my take (after taking many programming courses) that commenting
> > and layout is not on very many professors agenda.  I personally think that
> > it's because they've never had to find a bug at 3am in some X year old
> > legacy code..
> >
> > bobm
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Peter Jay Salzman" <p@dirac.org>
> > To: <vox@lists.lugod.org>
> > Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 12:36 PM
> > Subject: Re: [vox] code sleuths needed - cheating suspected
> >
> >
> > > just for the record, i don't want to get anyone in trouble.  i don't
> > > plan on making it "official" or anything.  i just don't want to give
> > > credit for the homework if it was copied.
> > >
> > > so i guess maybe it's silly to even worry about it in the first place.
> > >
> > > pete
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > vox mailing list
> > > vox@lists.lugod.org
> > > http://lists.lugod.org/mailman/listinfo/vox
> > >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > vox mailing list
> > vox@lists.lugod.org
> > http://lists.lugod.org/mailman/listinfo/vox
>
>

-- 
R. Douglas Barbieri
doug@dooglio.net
http://www.dooglio.net

"That government is best which governs the least, because its people
   discipline themselves."

-- Thomas Jefferson

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