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The Difference Between Knowledge and Understanding

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#1 Jeo

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:17 AM

Hey guys. I've got a new post over at Foam Dart Goodness which talks about the difference between knowledge and understanding and I want to get a discussion going to hear other peoples thoughts. Are there too many "modders" out there reliant on walk-throughs on forums and websites? Do people expect too much? Is there such a thing as too much spoon feeding or does it help to introduce new modders into the hobby?

What do you guys think?



My thoughts?

Rote-learning, or memorising facts with little or no understanding about them, is not in and of itself a bad thing, itís just not as useful as understanding what those facts mean in a practical sense. To get back on the topic of blasters, letís say you read a how-to on the internet on how to remove the air restrictors in a Nitefinder, and then performed the mod yourself. Assuming you were following a decent guide and you performed the modification well, you should probably succeed in your presumed goal of making your Nitefinder shoot further/faster/harder. Well done; full points all round. However, if you took the time to stop and think about what you were doing; why removing the AR achieves these results, how the catch/plunger mechanism works, etc, then these principals can later be applied to other blasters without the need for a step-by-step walk-through.

More than this however, this understanding of common blaster principles is what makes the difference between someone who can follow instructions, and someone who can mod blasters.

Ultimately what Iím trying to say here is that knowledge, and by this Iím referring to committing facts to memory, is better than doing nothing, but still pales in comparison to gaining a real understanding of said facts. By all means please follow walk-throughs where available, but always be looking for that deeper understanding. Again, donít just remember how to do something, try to understand how it works.
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#2 KaptainKrazy

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 10:23 AM

It would take a long time for a complete novice to learn the basics that can be applied to other modifications, without being "spoon feed" how to modify their first Nerf blasters. I think that it varies on how long a person should rely on guides; personally, I spent a year just following tutorials down to the t before I tried tinkering without guidance, because I felt confident I knew what I was doing.
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the only mod you can have is the range extetder mod.


#3 archangel24

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 10:37 AM

When reading over this, I started thinking over my history as a nerf modder. Remembering how I got my first blaster, coming across ice, coop, and angel on youtubeland, learning of nerfhaven. The first big mod i ever wanted to attempt was an angel breech but I was scared to try for lack of knowledge, and skill, with modding and using tools. Over the years I have learned so much about nerf and just mechanical stuff in general. I honestly would say that it varies from person to person on being able to learn how to modify nerf blasters. I only skimmed tutorials and watched videos but never while actually doing something. If I had questions I asked shrub. Fitzy on the other hand asks me before almost any modification or paintjob he attempts. Spoonfeeding people information on modding can help but it only goes so far. Just like training wheels, at some point you have to remove the guides and go on your own. Plus, there is extensive information on the internet, on blogs, forums, nerfhaven, and it's a matter of finding reliable information, as long as you learn how to do that, you will learn faster than being spoonfed ever last little detail of a modification.
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QUOTE(Talio @ Oct 14 2010, 10:37 PM) View Post

I would much perfer a game that's free of KY. I like it rough. Right, Vacc?

"She went all Ghetto Fab on you."

#4 azrael

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:15 AM

I think it definitely depends on the kind of person you are. Before I attempt any mod, I think about the pros and cons, and the physics behind it. I think that's important, and helps you understand why you're doing something. In that way, you can learn from write ups and apply core concepts to different blasters.

I love the physics documents that Doom wrote up, I was stoked to find that. There should be more of a scientific approach to things, at least in testing.

For me, the biggest advantage of write ups is less leg work. I can see what has been done, learn what materials to use and where I can buy them. I can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes.
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#5 DartSlinger

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 03:26 PM

Is there such a thing as too much spoon feeding or does it help to introduce new modders into the hobby?

No, I don't think that there are too many "spoon feeding" write-ups. Simple, effective modification walkthroughs are one of the main things that bring people into this hobby. What got me into this hobby was when I saw a YouTube video of how to make a Nerf NiteFinder shoot farther. It was just a simple air restrictor removal, but when that worked for my NiteFinder, I tried it on my Vulcan. That one simple "spoon feeding" video got me into the whole Nerf internet community. After doing several gradually more complex mods, I started trying out my own modifications. You see, beginners need simple, straightforward guides to show them what to do, because they don't have the confidence or knowledge to try it on their own. People who can just sit down and create a Lancer are almost nonexistent.

Building homemades was the same way for me. I built a PumpSNAP using Nerfomania's extremely detailed write-up, and that gave me the knowledge and confidence to build other things. Now I understand how every homemade works.


Rote-learning, or memorising facts with little or no understanding about them, is not in and of itself a bad thing, it's just not as useful as understanding what those facts mean in a practical sense. To get back on the topic of blasters, let's say you read a how-to on the internet on how to remove the air restrictors in a Nitefinder, and then performed the mod yourself. Assuming you were following a decent guide and you performed the modification well, you should probably succeed in your presumed goal of making your Nitefinder shoot further/faster/harder. Well done; full points all round. However, if you took the time to stop and think about what you were doing; why removing the AR achieves these results, how the catch/plunger mechanism works, etc, then these principals can later be applied to other blasters without the need for a step-by-step walk-through.

I think that you're missing that anyone who takes apart a NiteFinder (or really any blaster) will realize during the process how it works. I did when I first modified mine. They are very simple machines, you can't help noticing how they work. And when you take out the air restrictor, it is also obvious how it functions.

I think that once you have modified one type of blaster (such as a springer, or flywheel), you can pretty much modify any other blaster of that same type. One generally does not look up a mod guide for a Recon, for instance, after one has already modified a Raider. In my experience, detailed modification guides are helpful not only for teaching beginners the ropes, but also for teaching people even more complex, next-level mods such as complete overhauls. Once one has been modding for years, they still are very useful, because one often picks up ideas, tips, and better and faster methods that one would not have otherwise thought of.

Edited by DartSlinger, 19 June 2013 - 03:30 PM.

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#6 archangel24

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 04:54 PM

I think that you're missing that anyone who takes apart a NiteFinder (or really any blaster) will realize during the process how it works. I did when I first modified mine. They are very simple machines, you can't help noticing how they work. And when you take out the air restrictor, it is also obvious how it functions.


I'd respectfully disagree with that. I have multiple friends who have owned Nerf blasters and have modded them (i.e. penny Maverick mod, basic AR removal) but never thought into how they improved the function of the blaster in general. As sad as it is, there are many cases like this, it may pale in comparison to the amount of skilled and mediocre modders that have been able to pick up on functions quite well.

All in all it is still possible to get the rare case where someone simply follows a mod guide and doesn't think twice about what they are doing. Heck, I even managed to confuse Fitzy when showing him how to slap a coupler on a Firestrike (in regards to stablizing the barrel with the original muzzle piece, new spring rest, plunger padding, using epoxy and not superglue, catch spring replacement).
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QUOTE(Talio @ Oct 14 2010, 10:37 PM) View Post

I would much perfer a game that's free of KY. I like it rough. Right, Vacc?

"She went all Ghetto Fab on you."

#7 Zorns Lemma

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 05:23 PM

Moving this to Off-Topic because it's like Meta.Nerfhaven

Also that way Ice9 can close it with extreme prejudice when it inevitably turns for the worse
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"In short, the same knowledge that underlies the ability to produce correct judgement is also the knowledge that underlies the ability to recognize correct judgement. To lack the former is to be deficient in the latter."
Kruger and Dunning (1999)

#8 Langley

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:59 PM

My thoughts


These are all really insightful and interesting points......if we were talking about standardized tests, public education or the rising demand for college degrees. I don't see what any of this has to do with shooting people with foam darts. Whether someone truly comprehends a writeup or is just going through the motions is irrelevant. Some people are tinkerers and like that part of the hobby, some people just want their shit to work. On this site, we have a pretty low tolerance for people who can't follow simple directions, and we give credit to people who innovate. At a war, during a round, it doesn't really matter if I understand why my gun shoots straighter or farther than the other guy's.

I try to encourage people to write clear write-ups that could be understood by new people. I think the learning curve is a little steep, and it helps get people into the hobby if they can put something together that will get them through their first war. But people are generally expected to figure things out on their own once they've been around for a while, and I think that's generally understood. I don't think it really warrants a philosophical debate.
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You can poop in my toilet anytime champ.

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