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Is there a language that does both what SQL does and general purpose programming?

@Dave  a common comp.lang.* sort of question was, "I need to do <x>, what language is best for doing it?"

Yeah. These days on SO that question would get deleted, as being too much of a matter of opinion, not code. In fact "best for" appearing in your q is pretty much a skunked term.

I'd be happy to post comments against that sort of q, to help the questioner turn it into something more precise/less opinion-based, but these days the q gets suspended/downvoted/deleted before any dialogue can get going. Have these people not heard of the Socratic Method?

I imagine that for newbies, the experience is so negative, they give up. (And indeed there's plenty of newbies who appear only once.) I'm interested to know where else they could go. (I think Quora is becoming much the same.)

@Dave  ... hyper-critical (but without any helpful advice) tends to be just the beginning of their unpleasantness.

To temper Dave's comment (I hope I'm not nit-picking ;-( ),  to get to be a moderator, the individual I have in mind has provided answers in the past.

I suppose somebody (well, quite a lot of bodies) must have found them helpful at the time, so they got upvoted. Speaking for myself, their signal to petulance ratio is too low for me to persevere with them. There's some sort of grandfather effect goes on in SO: people who've been around a long time just acquire points. Perhaps they were the only ones answering at the time -- there's plenty of old answers I fall across with heaps of votes that are never the less WRONG (to use a technical term).

Anyhoo, this individual could never have got upvotes for their civility.

Quote from AntC on November 29, 2020, 11:10 pm

@Dave  a common comp.lang.* sort of question was, "I need to do <x>, what language is best for doing it?"

Yeah. These days on SO that question would get deleted, as being too much of a matter of opinion, not code. In fact "best for" appearing in your q is pretty much a skunked term.

I'd be happy to post comments against that sort of q, to help the questioner turn it into something more precise/less opinion-based, but these days the q gets suspended/downvoted/deleted before any dialogue can get going. Have these people not heard of the Socratic Method?

I imagine that for newbies, the experience is so negative, they give up. (And indeed there's plenty of newbies who appear only once.) I'm interested to know where else they could go. (I think Quora is becoming much the same.)

I'm quite active on Quora, and I'd like to think it's a little better than StackOverflow at holding back on the noob-roast flamethrowers, but -- sadly -- there's still some of that.

At least Quora has reasonably effective crowd-sourced moderation that tends to take down the worst offences and sometimes the persistent offenders. You'll hear a lot of complaints about the Quora moderation system, but it's mostly from offenders who are getting regularly and rightly moderated.

Quora tends to suffer more from a lack of motivated noobs to prompt interesting answers. It could do with more who really want to learn and fewer "How I make a the JAVA with Eclipse number adding app now?" homework cheating attempts, but maybe that's unavoidable.

 

I'm the forum administrator and lead developer of Rel. Email me at dave@armchair.mb.ca with the Subject 'TTM Forum'. Download Rel from https://reldb.org

[This is not a defence of SO, and should not be read as such.]

The clear stated purpose of SO when first set up by Jeff and Joel (two guys I respect highly, but frequently disagree with) was that it should become a bank of valuable questions and answers, and not just another place for chat. Each Q&A should ideally help 10 or 100 or 1000 other readers solve some programming problem, and both Q&A should be written with that in mind. For those of us with the capacity to provide high-quality answers on specific topics, bad questions are a serious distraction and should be fixed, closed or deleted. I don't care how much you're struggling with your homework, don't bring your problems here!

I recently found a perfect answer to a badly written question about Unity. The question had been closed because the reviewer couldn't understand the question: it was highly specific to Unity but was not tagged as such. The question could and should have been edited and reopened, but even the closed question was enough to solve my problem. That's the value of SO.

The reviewers (such as myself) and moderators (not yet) see themselves as fighting a tide of morons trying to get someone else to do their homework or debug their programs. I'm on their side, but I do regret the loss of the ability to get more general answers when the rules are applied too enthusiastically. Comments don't always get there.

Andl - A New Database Language - andl.org

@dandl  fighting a tide of morons trying to get someone else to do their homework or debug their programs.

Hmm. Specifically on database-y topics, the standard of teaching seems to be terrible. If a student posts a homework question, my reaction is frequently: dismiss the lecturer, there's no hope of a sensible answer, I have every sympathy with the poster.

Whether or not somebody's made a decent effort to answer a q for themselves, there is absolutely no excuse to call them a "moron". Yours is exactly the attitude that makes SO toxic. I feel revolted just having to reply to ask you to be civil. Please go back and change your post (then I'll change this).

Lecturers seem to persistently mis-represent that RA is just another way to express SQL, that you can translate between the two, and that it's some sort of mis-feature that RA doesn't support Nulls. If it were just a few newbies turning up with that mis-impression, I might suspect it was them. But no: it's every newbie. Mostly (thanks to people with attitudes like dandl) they go away terminally confused about the Relational Model.

So educators, including SO, I see as a large part of the explanation why nobody's pushing for a 'Truly Relational Model'. Hardly anyone perseveres enough to know what that means. How did I find out about it? I didn't get any formal education on databases or RM, there wasn't a StackOverflow at the time, I read some of Hugh's papers then the original Codd and Fagin.

Quote from AntC on November 29, 2020, 10:52 pm

For answerers, particularly on database-y topics (incl Relational Algebra), there's a troll who's taken it upon themselves to curate all q's and answers, viciously root out duplicates, nit-pick any informal language, and in general ensure answers are either deleted or so 'precise', long-winded and convoluted that they are 'correct' but impenetrable for anybody who doesn't already know the topic. I don't know if it was that troll who deleted your answer (as David says, mere mortals can't see). But in the past year or so, I've seen more frequent brutal deletions without explanation.

If it was that troll, they know you've been saying things like "Hopefully I'll actually have it running soon." for over a decade. So I think it would be reasonable to say that doesn't meet SO's criterion for a usable package. It is downright rude to delete your answer without explanation -- that's inexcusable. SO does pop up a message saying so-and-so is new here, please be gentle. The troll consistently ignores that -- or perhaps is incapable/emotionally stunted.

This is who deleted my post, Bhargav Rao from Bangalore: https://stackoverflow.com/users/4099593/bhargav-rao

Is that whom you're talking about?  I didn't recognize that name.

Your comment about the troll knowing I've been saying "soon" for over a decade (though every time I say it I'm honestly more sure of it) implies that they were or are a member of this forum.

Note that my post was literally the same 1 sentence I posted in the TTM forum a few minutes earlier, but with a couple words changed.  I can see how it would qualify as unacceptable under the normal Stack Overflow rules so I don't fault this moderator for that specific action.

Quote from Darren Duncan on November 30, 2020, 1:12 am
Quote from AntC on November 29, 2020, 10:52 pm

For answerers, particularly on database-y topics (incl Relational Algebra), there's a troll who's taken it upon themselves to curate all q's and answers, viciously root out duplicates, nit-pick any informal language, and in general ensure answers are either deleted or so 'precise', long-winded and convoluted that they are 'correct' but impenetrable for anybody who doesn't already know the topic. I don't know if it was that troll who deleted your answer (as David says, mere mortals can't see). But in the past year or so, I've seen more frequent brutal deletions without explanation.

If it was that troll, they know you've been saying things like "Hopefully I'll actually have it running soon." for over a decade. So I think it would be reasonable to say that doesn't meet SO's criterion for a usable package. It is downright rude to delete your answer without explanation -- that's inexcusable. SO does pop up a message saying so-and-so is new here, please be gentle. The troll consistently ignores that -- or perhaps is incapable/emotionally stunted.

This is who deleted my post, Bhargav Rao from Bangalore: https://stackoverflow.com/users/4099593/bhargav-rao

Is that whom you're talking about?  I didn't recognize that name.

Your comment about the troll knowing I've been saying "soon" for over a decade (though every time I say it I'm honestly more sure of it) implies that they were or are a member of this forum.

Note that my post was literally the same 1 sentence I posted in the TTM forum a few minutes earlier, but with a couple words changed.  I can see how it would qualify as unacceptable under the normal Stack Overflow rules so I don't fault this moderator for that specific action.

OK, no that isn't who I had in mind, so I withdraw and apologise. Indeed who I had in mind was a member of this forum.

do fault a moderator who goes deleting a post without explanation -- especially a post from someone new to the site, who should be allowed a bit of slack and gentle explanation/coaching as to etiquette.

Quote from AntC on November 30, 2020, 12:36 am

@dandl  fighting a tide of morons trying to get someone else to do their homework or debug their programs.

Hmm. Specifically on database-y topics, the standard of teaching seems to be terrible. If a student posts a homework question, my reaction is frequently: dismiss the lecturer, there's no hope of a sensible answer, I have every sympathy with the poster.

Certainly, but don't blame that on SO.

Whether or not somebody's made a decent effort to answer a q for themselves, there is absolutely no excuse to call them a "moron". Yours is exactly the attitude that makes SO toxic. I feel revolted just having to reply to ask you to be civil. Please go back and change your post (then I'll change this).

This is my perception of what other people see, fighting an absolute torrent of homework and calls for help with debugging, when SO was never for that. SO was set up for a purpose, we reviewers and moderators get that, and we do our best to preserve the vision against a veritable onslaught of people who don't care about SO, they just want help for some dumb problem. They won't get it from me.

Lecturers seem to persistently mis-represent that RA is just another way to express SQL, that you can translate between the two, and that it's some sort of mis-feature that RA doesn't support Nulls. If it were just a few newbies turning up with that mis-impression, I might suspect it was them. But no: it's every newbie. Mostly (thanks to people with attitudes like dandl) they go away terminally confused about the Relational Model.

So educators, including SO, I see as a large part of the explanation why nobody's pushing for a 'Truly Relational Model'. Hardly anyone perseveres enough to know what that means. How did I find out about it? I didn't get any formal education on databases or RM, there wasn't a StackOverflow at the time, I read some of Hugh's papers then the original Codd and Fagin.

SO pushes for nothing except a place to record top quality questions and answers. If you have a truth and  you want if to be known via SO, then you have to ask a really great question and hope (or arrange) for it to receive a really great answer. If you just want to bleat about bad teaching, SO is not the place to do it. If you find SO treats you badly, then in all likelihood you haven't  yet figured out how to ask a good enough question.

FWIW I'm sitting on around 8K after over 10 years; my son is at 10 times that in a much shorter time. His answers are excellent; his main complaint is there aren't enough people in his specialty asking good enough questions.

FWIW2: my daughter loves SO. She never asks or answers anything, she just finds the answers to her questions because someone else did the hard yakka.

Over to you: what great question can you ask about the RA, that will attract a great answer and thousands of votes?

Andl - A New Database Language - andl.org
Quote from AntC on November 30, 2020, 12:36 am

...

Lecturers seem to persistently mis-represent that RA is just another way to express SQL, that you can translate between the two, and that it's some sort of mis-feature that RA doesn't support Nulls. If it were just a few newbies turning up with that mis-impression, I might suspect it was them. But no: it's every newbie. Mostly (thanks to people with attitudes like dandl) they go away terminally confused about the Relational Model.

So educators, including SO, I see as a large part of the explanation why nobody's pushing for a 'Truly Relational Model'. Hardly anyone perseveres enough to know what that means. ...

That's because most undergrad database lecturers have no interest in databases. They're usually PhD students saddled with the course/module not because of interest or experience, but because somebody's got to teach it and it fits in their timetables. They're as likely as any other outsiders to have the usual misconceptions: database = SQL (or MongoDB); the "relational model" is an old IBM idea that Oracle SQL fixed by adding nulls; the future is graph databases using SQL. No, this isn't on the test and you'll never have to use any of it because by the time you graduate it'll all be in the cloud. Here, do some more SQL exercises and stop bothering me, I've got to work on my dissertation.

Most CS departments do have a "database guy", but he or she is typically senior enough to avoid the spirit-crushing depression of having to teach an undergrad databases course, and of course he/she isn't interested in the relational model because Datalog solved that years ago. The interesting problems are in knowledge graph representations.

I'm the forum administrator and lead developer of Rel. Email me at dave@armchair.mb.ca with the Subject 'TTM Forum'. Download Rel from https://reldb.org
Quote from dandl on November 30, 2020, 10:08 am
Quote from AntC on November 30, 2020, 12:36 am

@dandl  fighting a tide of morons trying to get someone else to do their homework or debug their programs.

Whether or not somebody's made a decent effort to answer a q for themselves, there is absolutely no excuse to call them a "moron". Yours is exactly the attitude that makes SO toxic. I feel revolted just having to reply to ask you to be civil. Please go back and change your post (then I'll change this).

...; my son .... His answers are excellent; his main complaint is there aren't enough people in his specialty asking good enough questions.

Over to you: what great question can you ask about the RA, that will attract a great answer and thousands of votes?

What puts me off StackOverflow is exactly toxic people like you. I see you haven't emended your offensive language; indeed you're doubling down on it.

My main participation these days is to try to counter the offense toxic people are causing, to encourage newbies to get a greater appreciation of the RM, and of why SQL is a corruption of it. Rather than their going away with the impression that the RA is the preserve of ivory-towered nerds who think themselves superior to anybody who has difficulties understanding it. Of course somebody who doesn't understand is unlikely to ask a "great question". They'll start off with a poorly-expressed question; answerers should start by working with them to improve it. Instead what happens is some moderator just closes/deletes it without explanation. Rude. Toxic. Very effective at ensuring people never ask again.

Why on earth do you think there's any questions left that I would want to ask about the RA? You've managed to be both offensive and patronising. Why do I want votes? I get my self-esteem plenty of other places. A high vote-count seems to closely correlate with an unpleasant attitude.

So actually over to you and your ilk: take your attitude elsewhere. That also applies to this forum. The best thing to improve SO from its current state (for database-y topics) is to preserve the old Q+As and otherwise shut it down.