Bridging the culture gap?

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Adjuster, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. Adjuster

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
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    I have followed with interest, but also with a degree of frustration, a number of long threads started by students in distant countries. Some of these have gone on for a long time without reaching a satisfactory conclusion. In certain cases the OP seems to be desperately in search of a solution to a problem, but persists in wishing to use seemingly inappropriate methods or technologies against other contributors' advice.

    There may of course be many reasons for this sort of thing happening, not necessarily the same from case to case. Surely it would unfair to label all these enquirers as lazy or stupid. For instance, there may be real difficulties in obtaining suitable hardware in some regions. Other problems may be linguistic, as many of these questions come from people who do not have English as their mother tongue. There often however seems to be a pattern of concentrating on the details of a question, at the expense of the whole picture.

    It seems likely to me that some of this difficulty comes from differences in educational methods. In some countries, much emphasis appears to go into the rote learning of set answers to set questions, while the basic principles behind these solutions are less well taught. This may act in addition to a more general problem of poorer access to education in the less wealthy parts of the world. As a consequence, some students may get to a relatively advanced stage without acquiring much real understanding.

    Such a student may ask a quite technical question, but may not be able to profit from the advice he or she is offered. A long and repetitive thread of discussion then ensues until the OPs real level of understanding becomes clear. At that point it may be possible to give them advice at a more appropriate level, or possibly the discussion will simply be abandoned. I wonder if there is any way of improving on this?
     
  2. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    Unfortunately, I don't think any good can come from a forum in that case. If one's educational level is low, then short and incoherent messages through a forum won't be of much help.
    At this point the student must acknowledge that he is lacking fundamental knowledge and try to search elsewhere for it. Books and e-books are good sources of valid knowledge.
    A forum however isn't as good at educating as at solving answers in my opinion. This is why I have often found myself abandoning an OP when he is asking for answers he doesn't seem to understand, even after being told his lack of knowledge.
     
  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I'll disagree with the forum not being very good for education. I've seen too many "ahh" moments here. We have lots of beginners who slowly advance to the point they can design what they want. It may not be advanced electronics, but pretty darn good.

    Language may be one of the problems, but another is similar to the problem with the HHO believers. They refuse to believe they can't get what they want because they want it. Circular thinking, and wishful thinking. This may be partly cultural, but it is also universal to some extent.

    There is another factor, the less you know, the less you are going to credit people who do know with the depth of their knowledge, and the less likely you realize how much you don't know and have to learn. There is a name for this, but I can't recall it at the moment.

    The major first step for everyone is being willing to read. And read. And read. If an OP is not willing to do that it is hopeless.
     
  4. debe

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2010
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    I have watched with interest these types of threads. Personaly I started repairing TVs back in the early 70s when colour tv started in Aust & had no training at all but a very basic grasp of electronics. It wasnt untill about early 80s i was very lucky to getinto a TAFE course on TV servicing, even more luck had an instructor who in my opinion was a real teacher. He was able to fill in stuf i didnt realy understand technically. It did make repairing TVs a little easier. I was also selling fridges & freezers & repairs were out sourced, but the fridge mechanic was an alcaholic & upseting the customers. So had to sudenly self taught to repair refrigeration. My point is i find this site very interesting as even i am still learning & think youngsters from other countries do need some encouragement, I can only imagine the dificulties they must face compared to where i come from.
     
  5. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

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    ..........................................................................
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  6. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    We have had threads where people would insist what they wanted to do was possible, with everyone around them explaining the problems. This may partly be cultural (I don't think so though), but mostly an unwillingness to do basic research. Language can be an issue, but another issue is a type of hard headiness. The idea that they are being misunderstood somehow, and what they want is easy. Before beenthere put his foot down we'd get a lot of that from the HHO crowd. They don't understand basic science, but will argue with the earnestness of a religious zealot. In many ways the resemblance is uncanny.

    Surely there are texts in their native language about electronics? Internet interpreters only go so far. I suspect there is a core issue there, simple interpreters can not beat human intuition.
     
  7. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    There are many problems involved with the topic.

    These folks that come looking for cheap fixes often.

    They see people fix things around them and saving money by DIY.

    Combined with lack of education/knowledge on the topics, they WILL NOT ACCEPT that we are not lying to them.

    They think that we are rich jerks with our "24 hour of power" who want to keep them oppressed. If you read enough of the "inverter" threads, you will get what I am saying.

    They think if they keep asking, FINALLY we will tell them the "trick" behind cheap "24 hour power"

    They have no clue about how and why our power systems are different, they have no idea WHY their countries are the way they are.

    They are oppressed and they are told that WE are the oppressors.

    The young kids still have hope, so they get online and ask.

    We tell them "it cant be done for $3 and no test equipment"

    They DO NOT BELIEVE US. One of their "friends" told them that it is possible!

    "I saw the circuit diagram on the internet", the friend says

    So, the youngster finds the first Aaron Cake or other crap inverter and then comes here to ask how to make it easier and cheaper, with more functionality.

    They are taught that by doing things yourself, you will save money and prosper.

    They think that because it exists on the market, "WE" are inflating the prices to get rich off of them, further oppressing them.

    They think we are withholding the "real $3, no-IC, true-sine-wave inverter, that runs your home for 3 days off of a AA battery.

    THIS IS WHAT THEY BELIEVE! TRUST ME, IVE RECEIVED PLENTY OF PM's FROM THEM!


    They think if they come with respect: "Hello sirs, thanks in advance sir, you are so knowledgeable sir!" That we will "give in" and give them the secret.

    Another chunk of the "older" set, are in school and dont want to do their own work. They wait until a day before a project is due, show up here with "URGENT!!!!!!!!! HLP MEEE!!"

    Then they lie to us about it NOT being school work because they know we will make them do the work.

    This is another reason for their hatred. They think in 1st world countries, everyones homework is ALREADY DONE!, we dont give them the answers because we are trying to oppress them further. WE dont want them to graduate and get a good job and come to America and marry "american womans".

    They ignore anything they dont want to hear. That is very disrespectful to us, but they think we are LYING to them so they will stay without power for 16 hours a day.

    That is the reason.

    Plain and simple.

    Go to the source and ask. PM these folks and ASK.

    They will say "Will you give me the trick to sine-wave inverter?"

    And not just one, but most that I have received PM's from say pretty much the same thing. And it translates to:

    "Mr, big-rich-american will you please stop oppressing us and tell us what your people have been keeping from us for so many years?"

    "Sorry friend, you cant build it with the parts available to you"

    "YOU ARE THE SAME AS THE REST!"

    Please dont kid yourselves in thinking is anything different than that.

    We give answers and schematics to the device they want, it is just NOT how they want it.

    Ever notice how they IGNORE someone in the thread that tells different, just to ask someone "by name" if they will help?

    It sucks that they waste their educations.. It sucks that they struggle to get to school, then once they get there, dont do the work, and come here the night before the due date. And that is a WORLD WIDE problem.

    Please, dont think you know what you read from these forums.. If you have not talked with these kids, you dont know truly what they are after, and why.

    Get them out of public forum, and "behind closed doors" in PM, and see how things change.

    Some will say in the forum: I need a fan to run on AC from DC battery!

    In private: If I can build cheap inverter, I can sell to many people here and make much money. Will you start business with me? Give me trick to inverter?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
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  8. debe

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2010
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    Bit of an eye opener retched!!!!!!
     
  9. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    Harsh, dude, harsh. I said it much nicer.

    I suspect a lot of them don't understand the world doesn't operate the same way as it does locally. Translation, the corruption they see is not the norm everywhere.

    To some extent that was what started the war in Iraq, Saddam thought the world operated just like home. I remember an interview with Barbara Walters where he talked about how the US president would surpress speech critical of the president. When she responded the president couldn't the look of contempt and disbelief on Saddam's face said it all. This was a man who though he understood the world, and didn't.

    Because he thought he was smarter than he was a war started. He tried understanding the United States and Britain like they were larger versions of Iraq, and lost everything.
     
  10. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    Wow... all I said that tuition through a forum can never be as continuous, coherent and complete as in a lecture, book or e-book. But hell is about to break loose again here.

    I will not participate in another political debate. I have my own issues with USA's political state but I don't ask everybody on this forum to acknowledge them. We saw how it turned out in the airport security thread.
     
  11. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    If I remember the first Gulf War, Saddam considered Kuwait in much the same way as General Grant considered Tennessee. He gambled that the United States wouldn't get involved over "just" oil.

    In other words, rather than thinking we were as corrupt as his government, he thought we were less corrupt. He was wrong.

    John
     
  12. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    One major problem with that statement. It is flat wrong. We had an alliance treaty with Kuwait, long before Saddam cast eye's on it. The same kind of treaty that got WWI started. Maybe we got it because of the oil, but an obligation is still an obligation. Perhaps our treaties with most of Europe and Japan are corrupt too?

    Saddam thought we lacked any will to fight. This was his interpretation of the USA from Vietnam. He should have looked an Panama and Granada instead.

    Your issues in this case are your own. The USA does a lot of unpleasant jobs (some I don't agree with, but a lot I do) that no one else will do. We have been attacked and lost many thousands in that attack, all targeting civilians. War was a natural consequence. By commenting on your issues you have participated in the debate. And no, the United States did not have it coming, nor did we deserve it somehow.

    However, we are getting off the main topic. One problem is everyone thinks theirs is the world standard. It isn't, and it shows on this forum in many cases. My belief is there is no such thing. During the 19th century common belief was traveling was a necessary form of education. I suspect this is still true. TV is not the same thing, but a lot of folks think it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  13. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

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    I do not see this as a problem on this site. As we most often need a schematic or code example in order to help. And the language of a schematics is international, and the same will much be valid for code. If the poster live in an area where some components are hard to get. We will still offer help and use the components the poster has available.
    Many students ask for help in this forum. And I have not any problem with this. But they have to put in some effort in order to get help. And a clumsy english is not a obstacle. But I think some of the poster have to high expectations about what we can do in this kind of forum. And also to high expectations about what they can do.
     
  14. jpanhalt

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  15. Wendy

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    I've been wrong before, will be again.

    So you think we should have Saddam have Kuwait, just like we let Hitler have Poland?

    Again, this is off topic. I foresee a closure very soon. I psychotic that way. Uhhh, psychic.
     
  16. jpanhalt

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    Nope. We needed the port first and the oil second. It's the hypocrisy of those who try to justify our invasion on moral ground that I object to.

    John
     
  17. Adjuster

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
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    While I would concede that that foreign perceptions of the US and its foreign and defence policies are relevant to my original enquiry, the recent war is in my opinion an inflammatory subject which should be treated with great caution.

    Bearing in mind the strife that continued discussion in this vein could arouse, I would like to appeal to contributors to get back on topic. If this is not possible, perhaps the moderators could consider closing this thread.
     
  18. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

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    I dont think it was harsh at all.

    The truth hurts in some cases.

    Do you ever wonder why most of the "problem" threads, where the OP is in school WILL NOT ask their teacher?

    Because often their teacher "Is part of the problem".

    The government owns the schools. Therefore the teachers work for the government.


    I am never harsh to any of these kids, I gently speak the truth and try to point them into a direction that will answer their question for real.

    Links to "first world" schools usually end these discussions. The OP finally learns that even in "American schools" they cant make cheap inverters with few parts that produce a true sine-wave.

    I understand that, at our prices, these folks would need a months wage or more to buy a few hundred watt inverter. But, IF THEY REALLY wanted one, they would buy it.

    They are on-line with a computer that they got because they wanted it, and households will chip-in to have a room they can congregate in during power outages.

    The reasons I got, repeatedly, were to sell them.

    They are a hot item.

    I dont know why they dont do what we used to do for "phase converters".

    Connect a DC motor to an alternator. Both of those can be pulled from the many hundreds-of-thousands of junk-yard cars around the world.

    It would likely be easier to do that. PWM the DC motor with come feedback from the alternator to keep it at 60hz.

    Anyway. I would love to have the plans to a cheaper, true sine-wave inverter.

    I would sell kits all around the world and offer the plans for free, and openly.

    I was not trying to be harsh.

    I was trying to help when contacted by many of the inverter-needers.

    A big give away, is how they have no interest in "why". No interest in "how". No interest in electronics, or knowledge. They JUST WANT THIS PRODUCT.

    Ask the ones that "will not buy, but want to build their own to learn" what other projects they have done, and the answer will be few to none.

    It is really a huge waste of resources here. Everyone wants to be nice to the kids who want a fan for their family, and the kids who want to learn...


    But the greedy, have that attitude.

    They are gimme, gimme, gimme. NOT teach me, teach me, teach me.

    It is all about profit. They know their neighbors will skip medical payments to but inverters. So if they can beat the competitions price, they will be rich.

    The problem, 90% of the time, is not a culture difference or gap between "us and them".

    It is a culture match. They are becoming greedy capitalists. ;)
     
  19. jpanhalt

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    I disagree that it takes a lengthy thread to determine the OP's level of understanding. In the instances that come to mind, that was obvious in the first few posts.

    I am not quite sure what it is you want to improve. In order to stay on topic, maybe you can expand on that plea.

    John
     
  20. Adjuster

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
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    Indeed, perhaps I saw an issue which does not really exist in the context of this forum. That said, I have definitely found it more difficult to be sure of the level of understanding of people who have been educated in certain parts of the world. Some individuals seem to have subtle difficulties with problem-solving, despite considerable factual knowledge. My suspicion is that this may reflect an undue concentration on rote learning in the regions concerned, but perhaps this is a prejudiced view.

    Thinking that other people might share my difficulty in this respect, I hoped to start a discussion on how this issue could be more quickly recognized. I am sorry if I have been mistaken.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
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