[H-GEN] It's OK

Greg Black gjb at gbch.net
Mon May 13 08:37:39 EDT 2002

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Paul Cornford wrote:

| After much searching I found the error. Somehow I had inadvertently 
| changed some of my mail settings.
| [...]
| What a 
| pity though that the error messages are not all that informative. :-(

I'm not having a go at you over this, but it's such a nice
example that I want to use it to make a point.  In the original
message describing the problem, the information (or, to use
another term, the error message) was not that informative, and
we can see that it was actually wrong:  despite what you said,
you had changed something (which was of course obvious to the
onlookers) and that was the source of your problems.  It's more
difficult than people generally realise to produce diagnostics
that are really helpful in solving the problem.

We all need to keep that in mind, both when trying to solve
seemingly intractable problems that trip us up and when dealing
with the error messages and other help that programmers provide
in their attempts to help us solve those problems.


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