Re: Logarithmic Plot

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg96490] Re: Logarithmic Plot*From*: dangerrity at gmail.com*Date*: Sat, 14 Feb 2009 03:13:28 -0500 (EST)*References*: <gn11vn$8gi$1@smc.vnet.net> <gn3c0l$q60$1@smc.vnet.net>

If the question simply requires reading the help, I think a simple RTFM response would be appropriate as it is in many usenet groups. I will say that as a modestly skilled engineer and an experienced programmer, I find the Mathematica Help documentation to be obtuse at times. Thank you to Leonid Shifran for his elucidation of the differences between a procedural language and Mathematica. Mathematica 7 help is incredibly improved over any previous version, but still I find it difficult to make sense of things that differ from more conventional development platforms -- things like upvalues and downvalues, or when it is appropriate to use AppendTo and when it isn't, or how to use patterns in a "bug free" manner. Sometimes the documentation is technically correct but not helpful technically. My recommendation to those users who see questions that can be simply answered in the documentation center is to either a) not respond, or b) respond with "RTFM." As far as thinking for someone, I think the sophistication of the answer should derive from the sophistication of the question. Whoever posted that assignment question hadn't done his or her homework, and it showed clearly in the question. Not every question deserves an answer. When people have wrestled with Mathematica and still don't have a clear picture on a simple query, I don't think it's wrong to ask, even if the answer is "technically" in the documentation center. Everyone wants dense newsfeeds. No one likes spam. And no one likes RTFM questions. But it's sometimes difficult to determine, a priori, which questions and answers will be useful to a given reader and which won't. I, for one, am extremely grateful for the help I've received on this forum -- help I don't think I could have received anywhere else. For all you contributors out there that have to put up with RTFM questions let me just say: "Thank you." Please ignore or respond simply to the RTFM questions. Please continue to respond thoughtfully to the thoughtful questions. Please don't discourage people from asking questions -- even dumb ones. It's valuable to a community that is larger than you might imagine. Again, thank you to all of you who contribute answers or commentary. It doesn't go unnoticed. If I ever ask a question that can be answered simply by the documentation, please tell me and I can avoid wasting your time in the future.