Ping Me, Please!
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
1w ago
There is a big difference between distributed and collocated teams: the communication in distributed teams is asynchronous, which essentially means that when you ask something, a response doesn’t arrive immediately. Moreover, it may never arrive. This can be very uncomfortable for those who are used to the office work setup, where most communications are synchronous: any question is answered immediately, one way or another. In open-source repositories, everything is asynchronous. Here is a simple rule that may help you decrease the level of frustration in GitHub projects: ping them every time ..read more
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Defend Me Against ChatGPT
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
3M ago
I do enjoy ChatGPT a lot. The blog post you’re reading now was written by me and then given to ChatGPT to fix its grammar and polish the writing style. Until recently, since 2014, when I wrote my first blog post, I used the service of a few proofreaders, who charged me $20-40 per hour to rewrite all of my 350+ texts. Now, I pay a few dollars a month to OpenAI. However, while the value of this generative AI is obvious, I also experience serious harm from ChatGPT, especially when reading papers written by my students with its help. Terminator (1984) by James Cameron Should students be allowed to ..read more
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Review a Research Paper: Constructive Critique in Five Steps
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
4M ago
I’m helping organize the ICCQ conference this year for the fourth time, with the in-cooperation support of the IEEE Computer Society. Based on this short-term experience, I can assert that reviewing research papers is a skill that even some reputable and experienced academicians either don’t possess or are too lazy to apply. We often encounter sketchy, subjective, and disputable reviews that don’t assist authors but only frustrate and discourage them. In this short blog post, as an absolute amateur in the subject matter, I will try to summarize how to review an academic research paper (thus mo ..read more
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Results and Discussion: Facts and Interpretation
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
4M ago
Almost every empirical research paper contains two essential sections: Results and Discussion. The former presents the facts collected through the research method, while the latter interprets them to answer the research questions. When interpreting the data, you must address the most obvious concerns that readers may have. For example, in the Results section, you might state: “85% of respondents refused to participate in our survey” (this is a fact). Then, in the Discussion section, you might say: “We believe that programmers are innately lazy and irresponsible” (this is an interpretation). Yo ..read more
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Be Indirect in Your Research Questionnaire to Gain More Honesty
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
5M ago
Let’s say you are conducting research to discover programmers’ opinions about their work environments: whether they appreciate their office spaces or not. Preparing a survey with a few questions is essential. Their responses will reveal their thoughts and feelings. After working with several student groups, I’ve noticed a common mistake in questionnaire design—they are too obvious with their questions, simply asking, “How do you feel about this?” There’s a more effective approach. Coffee and Cigarettes (2004) by Jim Jarmusch Typically, to understand people’s thoughts and feelings, we might ask ..read more
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Avoid Soft Line Breaks Inside a Paragraph
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
5M ago
An email, a document, a research paper, a presentation, and even a JavaDoc code block consist of paragraphs, which are “self-contained units of discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea.” Visually, paragraphs are supposed to be separated by a vertical space that is a bit larger than a vertical spacing between lines. To achieve this, for example, in HTML, we wrap paragraphs in the <p> tag, while in LaTeX, we use \par or just an empty line between them. However, some people insert what are called “soft line breaks” inside paragraphs—this is a bad practice that I suggest ..read more
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The Method Section: A Recipe for Research
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
6M ago
Every empirical research paper must have a section titled “Method” (or “Methodology,” or “Study Design”). In this section, you describe what was done to obtain the data presented in the following “Results” section. You explain the recipe, which may be replicated later by another researcher, leading to the same (or very similar) results. Underground (1995) by Emir Kusturica The Method section is the essence of the research. Think of it as a recipe: you tell the reader what ingredients you used, how you mixed them, and—most importantly—why. You start the section with a paragraph where you state ..read more
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Related Work: A Critical Taxonomy of Prior Art
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
7M ago
In almost any research paper, it is mandatory to have a section titled “Related Work” (or “Related Works”), where you refer to the results previously obtained by other authors or yourself. By including this section in your paper, you are not only paying respect to those who laid the foundation for your results, but also motivating and guiding your readers. Most of them may not be aware of existing studies or the importance of the problem you are solving. You must put these guys into context. Mean Streets (1973) by Martin Scorsese As far as I understand it, a well-crafted “Related Work” section ..read more
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Five Ingredients of Tech Career
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
7M ago
A friend of mine recently asked me what five things he should do in order to grow his technical career in a big company. He is not interested in being a big manager, or a CEO. Rather, he wants to be a software expert, an architect, an owner of a technology, and eventually a “Fellow.” I’m not sure I was qualified to give such advice, but I did anyway. This is what I told him. Maybe this will also work for you. 8½ (1963) by Federico FelliniBoredom Stay focused on one problem for many years. I literally mean a “problem”—something that bothers people now but will stop bothering them when you solve ..read more
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Bibcop: Style Checker for BibTeX
Yegor Bugayenko
by Yegor Bugayenko
8M ago
Almost every document you may write in LaTeX format will have a list of references at the end. Most likely, you will use BibTeX or BibLaTeX to print this list of references in a nicely formatted way. It is also highly probable that your .bib file will contain many typographic, stylistic, and logical mistakes. I’m fairly certain that you won’t find the time to identify and correct them. As a result, the “References” section in your paper may appear sloppy. I suggest using the bibcop package, which identifies mistakes in the .bib file and auto-fixes some of them. Here is a practical example. Let ..read more
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