Why can't I use a relative path if I'm already in a directoy

I don’t understand why, if I am already in the ‘home’ directory, I can’t just type dq/prize_winners. Why do I have to enter cd ahead of this? This entire mission was incredibly confusing, introduces too many things without explaining them, and contains questions that cannot be answered simply by having paid attention to the content.

Screen Link: Learn data science with Python and R projects

The reason we need to type cd before the directory name is because just typing the name of the directory doesn’t tell the system what you actually want to do to that directory; are you trying to move the directory? delete it? copy it? or (in our case) change directory? Think of cd as being the “verb” and dq/prize_winners as being the “noun.” We need both a verb and a noun for the command to make sense.


Hey, W‎illy.

Mike already answered your question.

Thanks for the feedback. It would be great if you give a few examples so that we can assess this.

Hi! So, this is from a later screen: Learn data science with Python and R projects. But it’s a perfect example of the weaknesses in basically ALL the command line lessons. We are introduced to the conceptual notation of the chmod command. After being told what all the symbols are, we are told the the ‘above command’ can be re-written. First, there is no above command. Second, the ‘rewritten’ command is confusing. it is stated as chmod [ugoa][+-=][rwx] files. From what I can see, this means that all users now do and don’t have permission to read, write, or execute files. That can’ be right.

My guess is that chmod [ugoa][+-=][rwx] files is just a general syntax, but given my lack of familiarity, I don’t want to assume that. If that is the case, STATE IT! I would also say that these lessons, since they are geared towards DS, should include as much DS context as possible as early and as often as possible. When building lessons of any kind, students should ALWAYS know why they are learning or doing what they are learning or doing. When I was a teacher, I used a general rule when planning: ‘All students will some activity in order to be able to some skill.’

I hope that helps!

For sure! This was a fluke. We do teach it in the following mission, we should have been more careful here. I’ll add it to my list to fix this.

Thank you for the feedback.

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I’m only part way through the first command line course, but I agree that explanation is lacking. Please understand that calling the previous example a fluke actually feels quite dismissive of a genuine and thoughtful critique. Another simple example is the way the ls command is introduced. One of the first examples shows how to display the contents of a directory outside your current directory, specifically ‘/dev’. On the next screen the exercise asks us to list the contents of a director in the current directory. In that case, the command only works without the ‘/’, but we never saw an example of that. This is a simple example, so I was able to figure it out, but it be very useful to understand when the slash is needed and when it is not – or at least to see an example of each.

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As another example, I find screen 7 of the Filesystem mission quite confusing. It introduces a bunch of concepts with little to no explanation. This includes the command " cd …/…" , which is used in the example but never really explained. Likewise, the the command ‘cd ~’ is introduced two different ways in two different places on the screen in a way that I personally found very confusing. It just feels really jumbled.

I hope these examples help! I appreciate the quality of dataquest’s content overall, but I agree with others in that this course could use some tlc.

I didn’t mean it that way. I misused the term “fluke”. I meant to say it is indeed an error on our end.
@Willyjgolden My apologies.

It is possible you’re confusing ~ and -?

Thank you for all this feedback.