I have an experience to share as a new contributor to unix.stackexchange.com where I sensed some slight undercurrents of prejudice. It would be great to receive a response from the moderators mentioned here but any input, technical or otherwise, from others is welcome. I was not able to respond in situ with my thoughts so pardon me for creating a new question.
Observation 1: New contributors cannot comment on their own posts
A few days ago I posted an answer to a Vim question at unix.stackexchange.com and a moderator @muru edited it in kind, but inadvertently introduced errors into the code. It was a by-product of format conversion rather than negligence on his part but I wanted to inform him nonetheless. I did not know how to contact him so I attempted to submit a minor edit to @muru's lowest rated answer to question 278443 and append a memo on the "mangled code". @muru responded in a comment that was both apologetic and helpful. He added "you can always address editors to your post by commenting with @username". This is not true for new contributors. I cannot comment, but only edit, my posts.
Observation 2: A possibly valid edit by a new user is ignored
Incidentally I found a possible error in @muru's answer to question 278443 where he said that the command
dd bs=1 count=1000000 "will be horrendously slow". This involved processing only 1 million bytes which would not be slow. A test on my dual-core took 1.8 seconds.
$dd if=/dev/urandom of=~/tmp1 ibs=1 count=1000000 1000000+0 records in 1953+1 records out 1000000 bytes transferred in 1.844224 secs (542233 bytes/sec)
bs=1 for large amounts such as 1TB then, yes, it would be much slower in comparison to
bs=64M, which is probably what he had in mind. Though I believe my reasoning was sound my edit request was rejected.
Observation 3: Logical reasoning is not required by moderators, only statements
In my first draft of the edit to @muru's answer I realised that I had altered it too much and decided to post my own answer to question 278443. I said "a partial read by
ibs=1 would be unlikely". A moderator @Stephen Kitt commented that "it is impossible". That comment has since been deleted but how is it impossible? For raw data without a multiple of 8 bits i.e. 0< n mod 8 <8 and
ibs=1 where the block size is 1 byte or 8 bits how does
dd deal with a read of, say, 3 bits? I do not know, particularly with older media such as tape and older versions of
dd. My knowledge on
dd is limited here. If @Stephen Kitt had the time to explain or point to a relevant post on this topic then the path to education could continue. I have not yet found any further information to support his statement.
Observation 4: Plausible solutions by new users are disparaged
Question 278443 is "What's the POSIX way to read an exact number of bytes from a file?". I then added an option using the
read command, stating that there are limitations after testing a few successful examples. I received a comment recently from @Stephen Kitt saying "POSIX read is very limited, so in the context of this question, your read approach doesn’t work". "Limited" and "doesn't work" are mutually exclusive mathematical probabilities. In the context of the question,
read is a built-in command of POSIX that can be successfully used to read an exact number of bytes as long as certain conditions are met. There are limitations, as stated in my answer, but the OP did not require a failsafe or limitless option. Even so, if @Stephen Kitt can briefly explain these limitations then the wider community would benefit.
Observation 5: Self-deletion of a post by a new user is not possible
Seeing that my answer was likely not beneficial I then attempted to delete it by the obvious method of clicking on the "delete" button at the bottom of the post where it shows in this order: "share", "edit", "delete", "flag". However, I was not able to do so. The result is a client-side redirection to the top of the page.
Observation 6: Prejudice to moderators and long-standing users
I noted that @muru's post on the same question (278443) possessed similar, if not, less merit than my answer, yet received no critique from moderators. His post had a score of "-1" prior to my posted answer and "0" afterwards which indicates to me that it was probably upvoted by @Stephen Kitt.
As I have only spent a few days on the unix.stackexchange.com site it is too early to make conclusions. I don't believe the aforementioned moderators are making any begrudging or personal attacks but I am of the impression that there is a hierarchical culture here where new members are scrutinised without restraint and without provision of grounds by long standing members (moderators). I understand that moderators will need to politicise their responses but is this true? Is there a pecking order here or is this community on a level field of information sharing?
Additional comments (05-Nov-2020):
- Since I am unable to comment, I will add this appendix.
- Firstly I appreciate all the responses here which have been professional and courteous; I thank everyone for the education and apologise for the use of time over a trivial matter. Many of my statements were flawed and blinded and I accept responsibility for this. Please forgive my ignorance.
- In summary, here were my incorrect assertions: (a) @muru and @Stephen Kitt were moderators; (b) not being able to upvote, downvote, comment on or delete self-posts were designed features aimed to limit new users; (c) the in-built command
readon my Mac OS X was POSIX.
- @terdon, thank you for the thorough answer and the POSIX
readspecification. Now I see where I went wrong. In future I will pay greater heed to my test environment. The phrase "was probably upvoted by @Stephen Kitt" was not quite an assumption but a calculated guess. There was only one vote that day and it seemed to coincide with @Stephen Kitt's comment. But yes, it should not have been made.
- My apologies to @muru and @Stephen Kitt for some of the ignorant and subjective statements. There was no technical or ethical fault on your part.
- @terdon, yes, I was logged in when attempting to perform the delete and comments, as my login symbol was visible in the top right of the header. If new users are permitted to comment on and delete their own zero-rated posts, and I still cannot comment, delete, upvote, downvote etc. then the problem is likely with my system.
- I was unsuccessful in commenting on my answer to question 278443. The resultant URL was What's the POSIX way to read an exact number of bytes from a file? where the query is
- Similarly, attempting to delete the same post redirects to What's the POSIX way to read an exact number of bytes from a file? where the query is
- @Stephen Kitt, thank you for your feedback and knowledgeable answer. Though I cannot see the first-posts nor the late-answers queues because I "need at least 500 reputation", I can see how you found my answer. I did read the question, answers and even the links in the question. I admit that my answer had no added benefit. My purpose for navigating to that question was initially to contact @muru by editing his answer. Things became entangled when I created my own answer which was basically a duplicate of the other answers. When I couldn't delete that answer I attempted vainly to improve it. Yes, you were right, I was not using POSIX
- @Kusalananda, I incorrectly assumed @Stephen Kitt was a moderator because he found out very quickly that I edited my post. . For such a heavily used site I expected around 20 - 50 moderators. I think his comment was later deleted not because it contained false information but because it became irrelevant. But I still wanted it explained.
- Yes, @Michael Homer you are correct that it was not POSIX
- Thank you for your honesty and humour @user414777. As for your comment that @Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' "made incorrect claims, like that
catever choked on NUL bytes or inputs not terminated by newlines", he did say "some older implementations [of text processing tools]" but doesn't explicitly state which.