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I'm bemused at how I got modded down three times (as of this writing) for asking a legitimate and helpful question.

We're programmers. It is our job to ask questions. We take user requests and turn them into something useful. Sometimes what the user asks is not what they want. That's where our expertise at problem translation comes into play.

Example #1: The other day, someone from Marketing dropped by asking "Andy, are there any websites with statistics about home computer usage?" I didn't know of any, and some cursory research on Yahoo didn't turn up much useful. Poked around in some online almanacs, but no luck there.

So I delve a little deeper. "Why do you want to know?" I ask. After a few minutes it turns out that what she REALLY wants to know is percentage of homes in the El Paso, TX area that have home computers. Aha, now that's something different. A little research to some Texas gov't websites turns up the answer she was looking for.

Example #2: (And this has happened more times than I care to count) User comes by and asks "How many hits do we get on the website?" Well, that's a pretty wide-ranging question. I used to ask "Do you want hits or sessions or users? Over what time period?" but that causes eye-glaze.

Usually I say "What will you do with the numbers? What if I tell you '5,000'? What will you do with that?" Turns out that I have NEVER had someone ask for web hits that actually has their problem defined.

Now, THAT you can turn into something useful. For instance, I had someone who asked me "how many hits do we get?" because she planned to come back in a month and ask again, and see if it went up because of an ad she was about to run in a magazine. Now, based on that, we can get some meaningful information.

But here's the point... All these answers that have been given to the original poster answer give AN answer, but perhaps not the answer that that poster is looking for. It is our responsibility as monks to make sure that the answer we give is the best one we know how.

xoxo,
Andy

# Andy Lester  http://www.petdance.com  AIM:petdance
%_=split';','.; Perl ;@;st a;m;ker;p;not;o;hac;t;her;y;ju';
print map $_{$_}, split //,
'andy@petdance.com'

In reply to Re: Re: Line-counts of perl programs/modules by petdance
in thread Line-counts of perl programs/modules by Tarka

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