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04-08-2006, 11:54 AM
Sorry if this is the wrong place for this.

I think the beginner-advanced paradigm hurts the OpenGL forum, because nobody wants to be a labeled a noob, and few of the seasoned OpenGL veterans actually want to be caught answering questions in the beginner's forum. Instead, I believe there should be more specific forums that are inherently targeted at the beginner, more or less, but are not labeled as such, thus at least hold out the possibility for interesting discussion.

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Developer:

Math:
questions and discussion related to the mathematics of 3D graphics.

Algorithms:
discussions concerning various algorithms used in 3D graphics.

Tools:
discussion of various graphics tools, such as those used for texture and model importing/exporting.

SDKs:
software development kits like GLUT and scene graph libraries like OpenSG that make use of OpenGL and facilitate window creation and the rendering of complex scenes.

OpenGL - Platform:
discussion of context creation, extension loading, and other platform-specific concerns.

OpenGL - General:
questions and discussions related to OpenGL proper, including use-cases, performance and best practices.

OpenGL - Beyond:
discussion of cutting-edge graphics techniques and applications using OpenGL.

OpenGL - Suggestion Box:
Ideas for the next version of OpenGL.

Bug Central:
Reporting of suspected driver bugs and implementation issues.


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Anyway, it seems to me that the current structure is not very conducive to hearty discussion, since every question or topic is necessarily either "easy" or "hard", with no middle ground and no real basis for determination. Imagine a physics forum over which Edward Witten presided: what would be "advanced" in that forum?

What do you guys think?

Regards,

Bill

Rodrix
04-08-2006, 02:17 PM
Hi!
I personally think that the Begginers and Advanced division is great.

For me it's was an ongoing experience to post a first post in the advanced forum, although I still post in both sections.

And I also consider some of the posts in the Advanced section to hard to understand, cause I am not neither into Shaders, nor Extensions, etc, (...yet!). So I think the division is very useful.

Maybe some people may not know were to post at first, but people are really nice in here (in my experience) and the worst that can happen is "The answer is [blah] but this is not an Advanced question." or "The answer is [bleh] but this is not a Begginers Question".

Anyways I think that by looking at some of the post of the advanced section you can just get a glance of what is advanced or not.

Well that's only a personal opinion.
I do check both Begginers and Advanced forums always, and try to answer any questions that I can in both.

ZbuffeR
04-09-2006, 05:42 AM
I do think the beginner/advanced division is useful as I will not answer the same way.
For a beginner I will try to propose solutions that are easier to do even if a bit less optimal, and I will use a simpler language, provide well known links etc.

Baron3D
04-09-2006, 12:53 PM
As a beginner it is very hard to know if the question is a beginner q or an advanced.
As a more advanced programmer and after more then 25 yeras programming I dont want to ask a beginners q.
So I go for new forum sections.

ZbuffeR
04-09-2006, 01:07 PM
@Baron3d: it is not about knowing if a *question* is beginner or advanced, it is about if the one posing the question is beginning OpenGL or not.

about other forum questions, please don't split Math and algos, nor tools and SDK ...

jide
04-09-2006, 01:28 PM
I was stuyding a bit this question. There might have many misunderstandings here.

When you begin with GL you absolutely know nothing about GL, so here there's no ambiguities: post in the beginner forum.
When you have been programming for 25 years but start in GL, it's the same ! you know nothing about GL so post in the beginner forum.

Now, more complicated one. I guess the beginner/advanced names might confuse people. I personally was confused. I posted a question about making realistic skies in the advanced forum, and the post moved to the beginner one. Actually I fully agree with the moderator, because there's nothing complicated with making a cube and add a layer for making clouds move. But when you don't know, you can't afford if it's a complicated issue or if it turns out so easily that your little brother could have done it as well as you. You just can guess.

So, I propose to let those forums like this, but maybe change or add information about what kind of question are intended to be posted in what kind of forum. I guess the beginner forum should stay like as I said above, but maybe add "when you know nothing or almost nothing about a 'thing' in GL". And for the advanced one, maybe add "when you already have a ground understanding or best about what you tell".

04-09-2006, 02:21 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the interesting comments!

I guess the way I see it is that it's more about the way a question is asked than of the content. Take Jide's sky-box question, for example. One could ask, "What's the best way to make a sky?" This is a "beginner's" question, because the question itself suggests a lack of sophistication, regardless of the underlying understanding of OpenGL; and hints more at the persons age or experience and his or her possible inability to understand advanced concepts. A mature programmer/whatever can grasp advanced principals in Graphics and OpenGL much more easily than someone fresh out of high school or even college, with little or no experience. The difference to my mind is the level of sophistication in general, not the subject matter. That's why people, high school students or PhDs, should not be pigeon-holed into beginner or advanced forums. These vague and disparaging tiers do not adequately encapsulate sophistication, only a stark yet somewhat ambiguous degree of API awareness.

Finally, I believe that it's the graphics concepts, not the API, that causes newcomer's the most grief. OpenGL is famously easy to learn. The much more complicated understanding of GPU architectures, performance analysis, mathematics and algorithms, however, offer the most rewarding challenges, yet are often the most painful initial hurtles for any graphics programmer, veteran hacker or not. This is why it seemed to me appropriate to place more emphasis on these important areas as separate entities rather than lumping them together into one very broad and menacing subject header. Really it's was just an attempt to make them seem more accessible, without necessarily making them seem trivial or uninteresting.

Regards,

Bill

Rodrix
04-09-2006, 05:45 PM
Bill I completely agree with you on:
"The difference to my mind is the level of sophistication in general, not the subject matter."

I guess that if the division of Begginers and Advanced causes people to answer differently then it's not useful.

What about renaming the Begginers forum into "Getting Started". It sounds much better, and doesn't make you feel bad. And then splitting the "Advanced" forum into "General" and "Beyond"?

I like the idea of the "Beyond" forum. I usually take a look at the Advanced forum to check all the most up to date and 'beyond' techniques to get a grasp of what can be done if you are really into it, and to get a direction of what should I learn some day. The "Beyond" forum sounds great for this purpose.

However I think that keeping a "Getting Started" section is essential to group questions for people that are absolutelly new to OpenGL.