If one thing stands out from recent discussions on The Perl Renaissance (the whole set of modern/enlightened/marketing blog posts) it's that we don't properly recognise that we are so unskilled at promotion that we don't know what we don't know about the subject.
We throw around words like "Modern" and "Enlightened" and "Directory of Marketing" because they are the best we can do, because we don't know how to name things well.
We discuss the competition for mindshare as if our users are an Economist's mythical "Rational Consumer" and only care about release schedules, and we grasp at ideas like paying people to take a role, with no grounding for knowing if that type of role is what is needed.
I'm just as bad, but I at least try to remember how little I know about most thing. My websites are either ultra-minimalist, intentionally devoid of style, or aim for the simpler is better look (which is about the best I can do when I don't have a real designer to draw source material from).
Perhaps I'm fortunate to have spent some time working for one of the world's best design companies (or more specifically, the Australian "Amnesia Solutions" office before they were bought and aggregated into the larger entity). At the time I didn't even have enough knowledge about design to recognise that they were good, I've only come to realise that years later.
But, I can say that I've spent enough time working side by side with "real designers" and promotion people that I've gained at least the knowledge of how truly bad I am at design and promotion.
This isn't a problem that we (the mirror ball crew) can solve ourself, and the sooner we acknowledge that the better. I certain have nothing much to say on the subject, other than to say how little I know about the subject.
Like other giant Open Problems, often the solution is not to try to solve the problem at all. Especially when you can't throw money at the problem.
Often the solution is to acknowledge you have a problem, build a suitable collaborative space for solving the problem, be inviting to outsiders or fringe members of the community that have the knowledge you need, and then do the best you can within the collaborative space to partly solve the problem until you can recruit even better people.
And at each step, you (as the community leader with no domain knowledge) deal with the tools to make sure that the output of every hour of work from the People Who Know is captured, reused and recycled.
That the work for the community is held by the community, so when your rare and valued knowledge giants run out of the time to help you and move on, you can safely stand on their shoulders.
So I propose the following. If your blog is not stunningly beautiful, you don't get a say in how we solve our PR issues. If you don't have a blog, or engage in other forms of promotional work, you don't get a say.
You don't contribute to the solution in any useful way, so you don't count.
What you can do though, is run infrastructure. Even if the web people left for PHP, Perl still holds on to it's core community of sysadmins.
The existence of the DOZENS of websites, mirror networks, databases, automated testing infrastructure, analysis sites, forums and search engines is testament to our ability to build and run infrastructure better than most of our competitors.
So lets stop this bumbling conversation and do what we do best. Lets build and run the infrastructure so that the real people able to solve the problem. So people like Phillip Smith (and others with competant design skills) can have the support they need to solve these issues with as little process overheads as possible. of effort.
I'm happy to step up and put my server where my mouth is.
As a starting point, I'll be creating a new sub-repository off of http://svn.ali.as/ specifically for the collective storage of design materials, should you be generous enough to donate any.
My little repository management tool is simple enough that it should serve as a useful basis for design-type people to run it themselves (even if it's ugly, but I'm willing to work on that and it is templatable...).
If anyone has design material they would like to contribute, just say the word and I'll set up an account for you. I'm happy to take any contributions you wish to give.
File formats for commercial tools are welcome. The design world is still largely run on commercial tools and we need to be willing to deal with and accept that.
When someone comes along with something better than my infrastructure (I'm fully aware svn is not entirely ideal for large amounts of binary data) I'll happily stand aside and let that better thing be the place to store material.
Update: As my first contribution to making Perl better looking, the Padre team has chosen the Blue Morpho Butterfly as it's logo, and I've added the initial 16 x 16 pixel application icon for it.