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Monday, April 6, 2009

I am not amused

While in my last post I mentioned the need to get back to work (specifically to modifying the simulated environment in which I am putting my robots), events have conspired to distract me for a little while longer. You see, I am annoyed. Last year, I took a course which I greatly enjoyed. I have talked about it quite a bit to other students, so there are many people who are aware I took it. As it is being offered again this semester, I happen to know (sometimes quite vaguely) several people taking the course, and have therefore been getting gradually increasing amounts of email asking for help (I suppose because I am known to reply to requests for help). As with all times when I offer help to other students, I try my utmost to keep from crossing the line from helping to cheating. To keep the story short, the last problem set they are working on this year is almost identical to the one last year that I attempted. My program never actually worked completely, but it had a fairly reasonable structure and had at least part of the problem solved. In the course of helping one of those 'vaguely' known students currently taking the course, I sent him a copy of my code, explaining that there was a problem in it that I had never solved, but that it should provide him with some explanation for the trouble he was having with setting up the problem and organizing his program. Imagine my surprise and annoyance, then, when I get an email this evening acknowledging that I had most of the problem solved, but asking if I perhaps had an idea of how to correct the snag that remained preventing the program from working completely. Leaving out the fact that I explicitly told him I had never figured out what the problem was and that I haven't worked on the code for a year, I am still indignantly pissed off that he would ask me to provide him with the entire solution to his problem set. The only reason I shared the code with him in the first place was because it wasn't working, and would require a full understanding of the problem to fix (which he shouldn't be trying to do in the first place, since generating his own program to solve the problem is the primary exercise of the problem set, and when I sent mine to him I assumed standard student programming etiquette of never reproducing other peoples' code in your assignment without express acknowledgement). Anyway, I think I'm done this rant... I am annoyed, but I also thought it was a vaguely amusing story out of sheer audacity. Sometimes people surprise and confuse me.