Listening to my partner record intro stuff for a course she's teaching and she just did an entire section on "please, for the love of dog, learn to copypaste errors into google".

It's so bizarre to me that people can make it to advanced university courses without being exposed to that concept. How do people even use computers? I have observed cases of error messages that explicitly tell you what to do being trouble-ticketed and then resolved when the technician repeated the instructions in the error message word for word

@alexandra suddenly remembering that one time in college I had a really incompetent professor who was trying to help another student with some Java error message, which very clearly said they were trying to run a thing that was compiled for an incompatible version of the JVM

"okay so do you have main() defined?"


they just believe in magic. they have no idea about anything, and if you try to teach them, they put their head in the sand, start making things up, and continuing the "i don't know anything at all i was born three seconds ago" narrative.

@emily depending on the schools you went to, you might have learned everything by rote or direct instruction and never been forced to seek knowledge on your own. it's different from my experience, but I can imagine that it's possible to live like that, especially if you aren't particularly intelligent but still have a decent memory

@emily They don't. And that's not me trying to be a sassy asshole: my professor friend (teaching undergrad CS) talks about having to relate concepts to iOS or ChromeOS for things to click, and about how there is a Genius Bar in software engineering (Stack Overflow), you just have to be willing to do the upfront triage.

Computers, and especially anything resembling what we're familiar with, seem to be falling rapidly out of fashion. And our education system willfully doesn't teach how to *think*

@emily On that last point: think about how much of public K12 is dedicated towards getting kids to regurgitate some shit for a standardized test, and towards punishing those who walk too near the edge of the line. That's not a culture that teaches how to *think*, that's a culture that creates obedient factory workers.

@klardotsh The sequel/epilogue to this story: this intro stuff was about downloading and installing R, and she mentioned that there were different downloads for different operating systems (because that's how compiled native binaries work), and she got at least one email asking whether the differences between the operating systems and how you install programs on them would be on the test

@emily That last factor is exactly my problem with American (arguably globally modern) education culture. "Is it on the test?" fam it's gonna be on the test of *life*, fucking learn a thing every so often

@klardotsh or maybe it won't, and you'll never have to install R on another operating system.

or maybe some new OS will take over the market share of the three that are currently popular, and then OH SHIT MY STATISTICS COURSE DID NOT PREPARE ME FOR INSTALLING A PROGRAM ON THIS STRANGE NEW THING, WHAT DO I DO

@klardotsh the thing that's actually on the test of life is being able to adapt to situations that are not exactly 100% identical to one you've seen in a class

@klardotsh @emily I once taught a game dev workshop to highschoolers and they had no idea how to "copy paste" on a computer because they had only ever used phones. this was ~10 years ago...

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