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zeke

Have you experienced a chilling effect?

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Hi Everybody,

 

I'm just thinking out loud as I make this post. My dad would call this "navel gazing". So feel free to challenge these thoughts.

 

Lately, I've been thinking about the spirit of this forum community and how it may have been diminished slightly by unexpected events. Maybe it's just me?

 

When I first came here, I was looking to learn how to work with the MSP430 processors - how to program them and how to build circuitry based on them. I stayed in this community because I found like minded people who shared my sense of curiousity and who shared my sense of adventure.

 

Is someone going to make money off of my knowledge, sample code, or prototype circuit?  Yes, I have already been burned by someone who found me from my contact information here on this forum. I solved his problems and he stiffed me. He didn't think he needed to pay me for services rendered.

 

Today, I feel a measure of insecurity about sharing what I know. I do not feel like sharing all of the details of my personal projects. I know that I am withholding all the awesomeness of my adventures.

 

I no longer feel the childlike simplicity of sharing everything I learn.

 

Am I just growing up?

Am I giving into my fears?

Am I growing selfish?

Am I believing a lie?

 

 

What's the matter with me?

Is this The Chilling Effect?

 

How can I fix this?

 

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I feel the exact same Zeke, I got some projects I feel like not sharing as much info as before, or no info at all.

I get lots of times people asking me to help with a project. Students I usually don't have much problem in helping out just enough but many times it seems to be for products and well, why should I help you? You're getting paid, I'm not - if it was a friend then well I can help a bit

I feel a bit that with the info on my website. I shared tutorials and all - I must have gotten like 1 thank you in 2 years.
Once I took the site off - there was the possibility of teaching for payment how to use the TM4C so I didn't want to gave my tutorials out there - I needed to think. Well, then people we're quick to insult me, call my website useless (it was with just projects, with code and tutorials on them mind you) because I took the info off. That's why now I mostly make stuff only for people I know, at least they can buy me a drink or at least say thanks. I even got some to help me out making them.

 

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I have some of the same feelings zeke.

 

How can I fix this?

 

What I've done is to only dole out information in real time using IRC.  This allows me to gauge who is looking for the information and why.  If it is for commercial use I just ignore them. If it is a lazy student, I especially ignore them.  If it someone like me, just looking to find out the information for their own benefit, I share freely.

 

-rick

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@L.R.A,

 

FYI, my day job is teaching.

 

You can make money with your TM4C lessons. As long as they are good.

;-)

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All that said, I do wonder if you have "tiers" of information you could feel comfortable giving out, or if it's all just one sacred space for you... I think "tiering" the level of advice and knowledge is key to managing a public footprint that's open enough to keep others excited about what you do, but having a reasonably firm line protecting what you consider pay-worthy in terms of time commitment.

 

Some of us are in different situations where everything we do in this realm is for hobby, but some aren't.

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I got involved with this community essentially knowing nothing about microcontrollers or C/C++ when I retired as an engineering manager with a mechanical background (in Calgary by the way - one of my  favorite places).  Microcontrollers were  just something that caught my interest after viewing a TED video on Arduino.  And on average, the quality of the projects and the help / discussion just seemed to be on a higher level on 43oh than with the Arduino crowd.

 

For me, learning this stuff beyond the superficial on my own outside of a classroom setting and without colleagues is hard.  But it has been rewarding and a great experience.  And I have learned something from each of you who have posted above.  So, my thanks to you.

 

This is just a hobby for me, and it is unlikely anyone developing a commercial product is going to gain much from my advice :) .  Having said that, I try to give as much as I take. And a good way to learn and hopefully help others has been to read the problems others are having and see if I can solve them.  For those who would like to continue getting that kind of help, here are some tips:

  • Don't abuse the goodwill of 43oh members in the manner described above
  • Search and make a real effort to solve it yourself first
  • Post sufficient information for someone to help solve the problem but be as succinct as possible and don't post a 100 lines of code
  • Use the thanks button when someone helps - really, how much effort does that take?  Somebody just spent personal time to help you for free.
  • When your problem is solved, consider editing your first post and put [sOLVED] in the title, or at least follow up with a post that you finally got it to work and how.  The next person with that problem will thank you.

My son-in-law has a masters in EE and is now a patent attorney.  I asked him a while back about the practicalities of protecting intellectual property for the small guy or hobbyist.  My interpretation of that conversation was that unless you have money and/or time it is difficult.  A shame, the result is that you must do something like Spirilis suggests and carefully consider/tier responses, help, and what is revealed. 

 

 I appreciate the help past and future, and enjoy hearing about the projects. But, I also understand the sentiments expressed above and don't want to see livelihoods threatened.

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I've been around on the forums for awhile now. I really enjoy seeing other peoples projects. Especially how they go about solving problems that I would hove done differently. I think there is great value in that. That's why I try to post about my projects too.

 

I'm in my final year of my EE degree. And information I've gained from this forum has definitely influenced my thought pattern for the better when approaching new problems.

 

But also unfortunately there are people who upon seeing the same project will just be thinking of ways they could profit from others work. There might not actually be too many of these people, but it only takes one to make you think about this stuff next time you think of sharing a project, which is a real shame.

 

I'll continue to share my hobby projects, A factor that stops me posting more is that not all of my projects contain TI micro's so I don't feel it's relevant to post here. For example I'm currently working on a DIY PnP.

 

I've also noticed alot more students asking for help with their projects. (assessed projects) (sometimes even capstone projects!) And they typically just want the answer, sometimes don't acknowledge users who try to help. This doesn't look good for the forums. But I'm not sure what the solution is.

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@@zeke

 

I think you'd have you ask yourself one simple question. Were you born knowing everything ?

 

Seriously. How did you learn to write software for this hardware? Was from this forum ? Another forum ? How did you learn to write code to begin with ? I think in this context, yes, you're being selfish. You can not expect to come to this forum, learn from others, and then expect exclusive rights for software you've learned from others. Passed this, programing concepts in general are hardly innovations in themselves. Meaning, if you can figure out how to write something in code, so can about 500,000 other individuals. Programming, on many levels, just is not that hard.

 

In addition to the above. I'm not sure how you got "burnt" by another person, or how you *should* feel. But where I come from, our fathers have a saying too. "Water under to the bridge. . ." Meaning, maybe you unjustly got burned, but there is nothing you can do about that, now. Move on . . .

 

EDIT:

 

Also, if you feel honestly that you have created something special in code, and that it's worth something to you. FFS don't put  it on the internet . . . but again, that seems awfully selfish.

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Let me clarify on my post above.

 

First, I would not necessarily feel that you're a morally reprehensive piece of garbage just because I think one thing, or another, that you do, is selfish. We're all selfish on some level, and have to be in order to take care of our own.

 

So sharing single ideas based on hardware discussed here on the forums is all but a must. e.g. how to use an ADC, or PWM modules. By this I mean that individuals really have no right to hold back that information from others on this forum.That's common knowledge, or should be. Of course they're not obligated to share what they know, but why even bother being here if you're not willing to help, as well as learn.

 

However, on the other hand. For example if someone were to write something from scratch, and perhaps unique. Let says that uses ADC, and PWM in a way to makes some sort of DC/DC converter( just an example ). I do not think it would be that persons responsibility to share that code with the community. In fact, quite the opposite. I thin if that person were to share that code with the public, that person should be required to make sure the public knows how to use the code properly( so as not to burn up hardware ).

 

In my own case over the last IDK, maybe 6 months I've shared a bunch of code on single simple ideas. mostly because I was learning as I went, and figured what I learned might help give someone else some insight on the subject matter. At the same time, much of this code was put together into one large project that did multiple things to get towards an end goal. *That* code I did not share. Simply because I've shared enough code with the public that would allow a creative person to do the same thing I did. But I was not going to write this whole project for anyone other than myself to take advantage of.

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@L.R.A,

 

FYI, my day job is teaching.

 

You can make money with your TM4C lessons. As long as they are good.

;-)

Write a book . . . that should make everyone happy, if it's a good one.

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.  Having said that, I try to give as much as I take. And a good way to learn and hopefully help others has been to read the problems others are having and see if I can solve them.  For those who would like to continue getting that kind of help, here are some tips:

  • Don't abuse the goodwill of 43oh members in the manner described above
  • Search and make a real effort to solve it yourself first
  • Post sufficient information for someone to help solve the problem but be as succinct as possible and don't post a 100 lines of code
  • Use the thanks button when someone helps - really, how much effort does that take?  Somebody just spent personal time to help you for free.
  • When your problem is solved, consider editing your first post and put [sOLVED] in the title, or at least follow up with a post that you finally got it to work and how.  The next person with that problem will thank you.

There are several people here on this forum that I've learned from. Spirilis, oPossum, and Rickta are 3 especially that have made me think especially hard about what I'm doing in code. I would know nothing about any of the hardware I've worked with without their help. period.

 

I've especially appreciated how oPossum has helped me the most recent. He did not write code for me, he waited for me to write code, and offered up a way for me to refactor that code. As well as offer insights as to what a high level "thing" could be doing in concept. Such as helping me identify sequence numbers from CANBUS output.

 

In all though. There really is not much I can not figure out on my own, but it does certainly help to have others to discuss various situations / things with. It's pretty cool to be able to make a post saying "hey how does this work", and perhaps expand on that discussion some. At least I appreciate that sort of discussion.

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