Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Requests I Ignore

About six months ago I wrote a post titled, "Readers' Forum Page".

Part of my explanation for the creation of the page was as follows:

"Every day, readers post (or attempt to post) lots of "comments" on the various posts on this blog. In many cases, these are not comments at all - they're questions, requests for assistance, and the like.
All comments are moderated - I get to give them the "O.K." before they actually appear. That's just fine for genuine comments. Unless they're spam or contain inappropriate content, I invariably "approve" them right away.
However, in the case of questions and requests I prefer to delay approval and post a response simultaneously. Regrettably, this has meant that, increasingly, there is often a delay in getting this out there.
Sometimes, the requests are, quite frankly, unreasonable.I won't go into the details here, but let's just say that there's a difference between a blog and a free consulting service.
I also try to be very careful when it's clear that the request comes form a student. I certainly don't want to get into a situation where I'm "getting between" that student and their instructor/supervisor.
In short, I like to try and be helpful, but I can't keep up with the demand. I do have a job!"
(I've added the italics on this occasion.)

Unfortunately, nothing has changed. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Most of the 'comments' that I receive are really 'requests' (if not demands). Many of them don't get answered, such as this one that I received this morning:
"Dear Prof. Dave Giles,
I'm writing to you because I need of a help in this argument, with Matlab:
Simultaneous equations model.
I attach the files of my homework.
Best regard
(name suppressed to protect the guilty)"
I'm most appreciative of the constructive comments that I do receive on this blog. I'll continue to try and respond to reasonable requests. 

However, there's an opportunity cost here - responding to requests means less time for new posts!

© 2015, David E. Giles


  1. My all time "favorite" email: "I'm trying to finish my dissertation but I'm getting the wrong results. I've attached my program, the dataset, and a copy of my dissertation. Please tell me how to change my program to get the right result."

  2. I don't know how someone can ask a third party to provide anything beyond reasonable criticism and still parade their scores and grades as though they earned it.

    With that being said, it is unsurprising. Proper work is costly and asking for your help is cheap, however unlikely is a thorough reply.