First, *my* definition of "newbie" just for this post:

A person who is generally inexperienced in computer programming, and 
specifically inexperienced in Ruby programming.

Therefore, when mentioning newbies in this post, I do not refer to 
people who are already adept at programming in another language but just 
don't know Ruby. I believe most of such people would not hesitate to 
post to a forum, and would not really want or need a mentor. They would 
also hopefully know how to ask questions in a clear way.

I mentor developers as part of my job. Based on experience, I would say 
that newbies as defined above should execute the following algorithm 
(which contains polite versions of RTFM and STFW) to get maximum benefit 
from a mentor:

newbie.read_the_manual or
newbie.search_the_web or
newbie.read_ruby_books or
newbie.ask_mentor or
newbie.post_to_ruby_forum # Last resort

It is unfortunately not rare to encounter people who will not exhaust 
all other self-help possibilities before asking others for help. I will 
not opine on why this is so. However, IMHO, help is given freely and 
happily when the helpee has demonstrated sufficient gumption, and 
consideration for other people's time, to try to find the solution using 
the above algorithm.

Newbies should, in their email or forum post, clearly describe the 
problem, and explain what they did, prior to asking for help, to solve 
the problem. This will give the ones who are being asked the question 
enough information to reduce or eliminate the need to ask the newbie 
follow-up questions before being able to answer.

Although some people find the content at the following link to be 
objectionable and rude, it does cut to the heart of the matter and is 
worthwhile reading for all newbies:

http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

If they agree to adhere to the above conduct, I will volunteer to take 
on a couple of newbies. This is dependent on time and workload, so 
patience is a virtue; I may not be able to answer instantly. It does not 
mean I am ignoring you.

My background is that I have been developing software for an 
embarrassingly long time, mostly in C++ and Java, on various platforms. 
I use Ruby on a daily basis to automate Linux- and Unix-based tasks such 
as performance monitoring, graphing, data analysis, and as a replacement 
for shell scripting when possible. I provided some Ruby extension code 
for the ruby-informix and RubyWMQ projects. I also use Ruby at home on 
Ubuntu Edgy x86_64; the last significant thing I did was reorganize my 
MP3 collection's directory structure by artist and album, using the ID3 
tags. I have been using Ruby for about 18 months, so IANARG (I am not a 
Ruby Guru), but I have pretty much read all the books and manuals and 
written a fair amount of stuff. I am a systems-type developer, so GUI 
questions are not a great idea. I also don't know Rails (yet).

Finally, I don't think it is a good idea to post email addresses and 
personal contact details on this or any forum. I would suggest using the 
email links provided by this forum to contact me with your details.

Best regards,
Edwin Fine

-- 
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.