In "Would You Give This Student Full Credit?," which is probably an off-topic blog for TSS, Weiqi Gao shows a truly astounding (and very obvious) answer for a question on the Pythagorean Theorem, with another example of such obvious answers coming in a comment to the blog.
- Posted by: Joseph Ottinger
- Posted on: January 05 2006 09:39 EST
It made Your Humble Author wonder: how often do we skip the obvious answer in an attempt to be engineers, mathematicians, or anything else to fulfill our self-images?
- Weiqi Gao: Would You Give This Student Full Credit? by James Watson on January 09 2006 10:56 EST
- Weiqi Gao: Would You Give This Student Full Credit? by Irakli Nadareishvili on January 10 2006 08:07 EST
- Probably not by Simon Bisson on January 20 2006 10:22 EST
- Understand the customer by Jonas Andersen on February 17 2006 16:04 EST
At best this student was a smart-ass who pointed out a flaw in the wording of a question. At worst, this student doesn't understand the pythagorean theorem and/or lacks the ability to 'fill in the blanks' in an instruction.
Having been badly burned (not literally) when I was told to fufill a clients request literally, I see little value in this 'skill'. If the student really wasn't sure what the teacher wanted, he/she should have asked for clarification.
Perhaps if you are one of those people who thinks 'outside the box' riddles are really useful in determining a person's intellegence (news bulletin: familiarity with such questions makes one better at answering them) then maybe this seems like a stroke of genius. Personally I think it's probably a the epiphany of a student that was high on pot.
The professor/teacher was an *******. It's his/her fault being unable to formulate a question without ambiguity. Student got him caught and he got pissed - just admit it and give credit, for God's sake! What's the big f..in deal?
This question, most probably, was one of many on the exam. You can always fail the student if he or she is so dumb, for something else.
For lateral thinking full marks. For applying Occam's razor full marks. For being a smart ass full marks. For being a total dumb ass full marks. For an answer to a question in a basic maths paper a big fat zero and a richly deserved kick up the backside.
[snip] It made Your Humble Author wonder: how often do we skip the obvious answer in an attempt to be engineers, mathematicians, or anything else to fulfill our self-images?
The answers is a bit funny, to some degree obvious, but definetly wrong. Since this was a math test, the context should make it clear that the answer should be the value of X.
In the context of software development, it is imperative that you understand the customer's requirement. If you are not certain, ask questions, do not assume (Assumption is the mother of all f*#k-ups, Steven Seagal)!
Although I think the student in this case was very much aware of the context and was just trying to be a smartass. Being a smartass does not impress customers.
Chance of being on my project the day after pulling similar stunt on customer: 0