Okay, first off… My Programming Logic and Design class! It’s pretty fun. I enjoy learning about the concepts of programming. I’ve learned a few things that will help me in future writing. (What little I do.) The painful part of the class are the assignments… Especially when they want you to draw a flowchart. There’s just no easy way to do it in Word, and it’s really slow and time consuming when you have to draw each shape separately and draw each arrow separately.
Luckily, this assignment, there were no flowcharts assigned! We just had to do pseudocode, which I’m a whiz at! I can be done with pseudocode in about 20 minutes. But I’m not here to brag! I wanted to say that I found something… Interesting. Each assignment has two parts. A discussion board assignment where we write a pseudocode and post it and have people critique it and look it over for bugs and get suggestions and all that jazz. The other assignment part is to submit stuff to the instructor and she grades it. Anyway, the discussion board suddenly took a turn to weirdness…
There are about seven people who post in the discussion board, including me. There’s one fellow who always posts first, and then I follow in his footsteps, and then everyone posts in a throng after us. The first guy really knows his stuff and sometimes it’s nice for him to break the ground first so I have somewhat of an idea what program they want us to write. Most of the time, they ask us to choose one of about four problems to work out.
So he posted his, I posted mine… Then I waited for the others so I could make my required comments on them, which I was able to do today. I noticed a couple of people didn’t have comments, yet, so I visited them! I opened their posted file and… Hmm… Something looked… Awfully familiar about this code. Different document format, and some slight modifications, but it looks VERY familiar. I scrolled down to the more complex parts of the code and it all fell into place! It was MY code. I had even put in a few unnecessary carriage returns/line feeds to help me read some parts better… And they were there. I had a nice error warning message that they had modified just enough to change it, but it was still clearly mine. The variables were the same and there was even a small bug in a couple of module calls that I never corrected that they copied, too. I debated leaving a comment that simply said “The code looks perfectly flawless!” with a little winky emote, but I left a slightly more serious one instead.
Okay, so one comment down, another one to go. I browse some more posts and come to another one with a low amount of comments, so I open their file and start reading the code… Uh oh. This code looks familiar, too. I scroll down to the module calls and yep! My bug was there. I scrolled down to the error notification code and yep! Slightly changed, but still my basic idea.
(Okay, see, it basically says “Warning! (number) does not exist! Please check TRANSACTION FILE RECORDS. Advancing record.” The first person took out the “(number) does not exist” part and the “advancing record” part and left my capital “check TRANSACTION FILE RECORDS” part. Clearly mine. The second person cut out the last two sentences and left “Warning! (number) does not exist!” Now, there’s an extra bit of code that allows it to print the proper number, and that’s the same. Clearly mine.)
I scrolled down to the complex code of the program and yep! My unneccesary carriage returns/line feeds were there to separate some IF THEN statements. Blah! Someone ELSE copied my code, too! This time, I just ignored them and moved it. Then I read someone elses post and it was pretty much a 1:1 copy of the guy who always posts first! Right down to the little bug he had on one of his sanity checks. Incredible. I go to read someone ELSES code and they copied the first guy, too!
Four of Seven people copied previous posts… Over half. Amazing.