Empirical basis for separating concept introduction and elaboration

@iHiD do we have data on, say, how often Concepts’ about.md and introduction.md are visited/served?

I ask because

  • I have long feared my about.mds will not be read,
  • I have seen weak signs that some about.mds indeed aren’t read,
  • The requirement that introduction.md be strongly minimal is contrary to my intuition about what seems wise, and
  • To me personally, the few introduction.mds that I have encountered were either unnecessary or nearly useless.

Only just now it occurred to me that my worries might be alleviated and/or validated by consulting a database.

@MatthijsBlom I am also pretty sure that about.md versions of the concepts are not read very often. This is a known issue to the Exercism team and was discussed before in some GitHub issues and community calls. It was just not a priority to fix this so far.

I feel there is a bit of a henn and egg problem with the about.md files. Because nobody looked at them, we stopped writing them and only copied introduction.md instead. In the current state if we would heavily promote those pages, students would be disappointed that its mostly no new content (at least for the tracks I am involved in).

I think at some point in the future introduction vs about need to get some rethinking.

As for what to put in introduction.md: I often find that a really hard question to answer. I feel that if one really only writes the bare minimum to solve the exercise, the point of actually understanding the concept in question can get lost. On the other hand, you don’t want that someone has to read pages and pages of text before starting with the exercise.

I tried to write a good introduction / instruction page for a basic concept exercise in C++. And this is hard. On one hand it could be a small snippet with basic explanatiion. On the other side, googling C++ concepts is not a fun experience for new learners, so I would want to give them a little more.

I really liked the Elixir track for the explanations and also for the really well written hex-docs that are so easy to navigate. I recently tried the Rust track and this should be the lower boundary for minimalism. The information given for the concepts is very limited and I had problems getting good docs that would answer my questions.

Anyone trying to learn both Go and Rust during Mechanical March will have noticed that the amount of detail in the concept docs is inversely related to the steepness of the language’s learning curve. With apologies to the volunteers who created it, I haven’t found the Rust learning track very useful so far, and I’ll read the book before I try again: it’s not a gentle introduction like some other tracks. Whether it should be, is another question - Rust isn’t aimed at novices.