Representative conversation



  • Chat the other day...

    Intern 1: Do you know how to create a category in HugeBloatedProduct?
    Me: A category of what?
    Intern 1: well I don't know. Intern 2 asked me to create catgeories but he is not sure what those are.
    Me: He must have some idea what he means.
    Intern 1: ok I'll ask him more info

     

    I'm not bashing the interns. This is how everyone on the team communcates. They've just picked it up from the permanent programmers.



  • @Nu Kua said:

    He must have some idea what he means.
    You sure about that?



  • I have conversations like this with my kids all the time.



  • @boomzilla said:

    I have conversations like this with my kids all the time.
     

    You get your kids to intern? Dang. I have to pay mine, and they're unionized so they ain't cheap.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @boomzilla said:
    I have conversations like this with my kids all the time.

    You get your kids to intern? Dang. I have to pay mine, and they're unionized so they ain't cheap.

    My kids only get paid when their rooms are clean. Which is to say...I don't pay them. Union activity will not be tolerated.



  • @Nu Kua said:

    I'm not bashing the interns. This is how everyone on the team communcates. They've just picked it up from the permanent programmers.
     

    At least they talk to each other. Where I work (all permanents or contractors, no interns) it would have gone something like:

    Intern Programmer 2 to self: This task says I need to create categories but I'm not sure what they are. If I ignore that bit then maybe someone else will do it.

    Intern Programmer 2 doesn't ask the person who created the task how to create categories.

    Intern Programmer 2 doesn't ask Programmer 1 how to create categories.

    Intern Programmer 2 doesn't assign the task to someone who knows how to create categories.

    Intern Programmer 2 marks work as complete.

    QA asks Programmer 2 why they didn't create the category and then helps them do it.

    Actually, I made that last bit up, there isn't actually anyone doing QA.

    The sad part is that despite this, it's not the most WTFy place I've worked.



  • @Nu Kua said:

    Chat the other day...

    Intern 1: Do you know how to create a category in HugeBloatedProduct?
    Me: A category of what?
    Intern 1: well I don't know. Intern 2 asked me to create catgeories but he is not sure what those are.
    Me: He must have some idea what he means.
    Intern 1: ok I'll ask him more info

     

    I'm not bashing the interns. This is how everyone on the team communcates. They've just picked it up from the permanent programmers.



    I'm not really seeing the WTF here. Unless you mean your own refusal to actually explain things to the intern. Intern 1 doesn't know what a category is in the context of your product. He assumes, as would be appropriate, that you, being the more experienced person on the team, would know what a category is, and would helpfully explain it. Instead you just passed the buck and sent him back to Intern 2, who he already said is just as clueless as he is.

    Would it really hurt to take the 5 minutes to go "ok, a category in HugeBloatedProduct refers to _____ type of object. Here's the form you use to make one, and the steps you take to do so. Now, what do you need this category for and what are you putting into it, because there can be differences based on _____ and _____.

     



  • @Snooder said:

    @Nu Kua said:

    Chat the other day...

    Intern 1: Do you know how to create a category in HugeBloatedProduct?
    Me: A category of what?
    Intern 1: well I don't know. Intern 2 asked me to create catgeories but he is not sure what those are.
    Me: He must have some idea what he means.
    Intern 1: ok I'll ask him more info

     

    I'm not bashing the interns. This is how everyone on the team communcates. They've just picked it up from the permanent programmers.



    I'm not really seeing the WTF here. Unless you mean your own refusal to actually explain things to the intern. Intern 1 doesn't know what a category is in the context of your product. He assumes, as would be appropriate, that you, being the more experienced person on the team, would know what a category is, and would helpfully explain it. Instead you just passed the buck and sent him back to Intern 2, who he already said is just as clueless as he is.

    Would it really hurt to take the 5 minutes to go "ok, a category in HugeBloatedProduct refers to _____ type of object. Here's the form you use to make one, and the steps you take to do so. Now, what do you need this category for and what are you putting into it, because there can be differences based on _____ and _____.

     

    Obviously "category" could mean different things in different contexts and so there wasn't any simple "now here's what you do" answer unless he had a bit more context for the question.



  • @anotherusername said:

    Obviously "category" could mean different things in different contexts and so there wasn't any simple "now here's what you do" answer unless he had a bit more context for the question.


    Sure, and in that case, he should explain what those different meanings and differing contexts are. The intern can't give him any more context because he doesn't even know what context is needed. Sending him back off to "get more info" just starts a revolving cycle and leads to the sort of behavior where the intern stops bothering to ask questions at all and just hopes that nobody notices that the category is missing.

     



  • @Snooder said:

    @anotherusername said:

    Obviously "category" could mean different things in different contexts and so there wasn't any simple "now here's what you do" answer unless he had a bit more context for the question.


    Sure, and in that case, he should explain what those different meanings and differing contexts are. The intern can't give him any more context because he doesn't even know what context is needed. Sending him back off to "get more info" just starts a revolving cycle and leads to the sort of behavior where the intern stops bothering to ask questions at all and just hopes that nobody notices that the category is missing.

     

    I don't think you understand how interns think. Trying to explain every possible meaning of "category" and what conditions you use them in is going to result in a glazed look from your intern and approximately zero retention. Better to send them to get the information you need and, if they exhibit any curiosity about what other types of categories there might be, then take it as a sign that they might pay attention to the explanation.



  • @anotherusername said:

    @Nu Kua said:
    He must have some idea what he means.
    You sure about that?

    ...You've got me there.



  •  @anotherusername said:

    Obviously "category" could mean different things in different contexts
    and so there wasn't any simple "now here's what you do" answer unless he
    had a bit more context for the question.

     It's worse than that. "Category" doesn't mean anything in particular in respect to HugeBloatedProduct. Intern 2 was using to "category" to mean something I do know the name for and could figure out if only some hint about how you perform the action or where the result shows up had survived to reach me. Assuming we're not all on a wild goose chase after a feature that doesn't actually exist. (This has happened.)


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