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Shlomi Fish (918)

Shlomi Fish
  shlomif@iglu.org.il
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I'm a hacker of Perl, C, Shell, and occasionally other languages. Perl is my favourite language by far. I'm a member of the Israeli Perl Mongers, and contribute to and advocate open-source technologies. Technorati Profile [technorati.com]

Journal of Shlomi Fish (918)

Saturday July 26, 2008
02:45 AM

The Demise of O'Reilly-Net?

[ #37016 ]

I recall a time, not long ago, when the O'Reilly-Net sites: OnLAMP.com, Perl.com, LinuxDevCenter.com, etc. used to carry weekly or close-to-weekly in-depth articles about various IT-related subjects, that tended to be high-quality and provided a lot of good information. But lately, it seems there were only a few blog posts on OnLAMP.com about open-source in Windows and other such relatively low-interest or low-quality topics (and practically nothing on Perl.com or LinuxDevCenter) and no new articles. The latest article on OnLAMP.com is from 20-May this year (over two months ago) and there were huge gaps between the latest articles there.

Now, I recently sent a suggestion for an article, with an outline, to the Perl.com editor (chromatic) and to the OnLAMP.com editor (James Turner), and received no reply. I sent it again, and again received no reply. I sent the second message on 9-July. Now, even if they didn't like the outline, then the right thing to do would be to promptly reply saying that they're not interested in it and that I should seek other venues of publication. I'm pretty sure that at least chromatic is alive and has some spare time, because I've seen him active on use.perl.org and on @perl.org mailing lists.

I submitted some articles to O'ReillyNet in the past and encountered a few delays in response, which I suppose is expected, but such a long delay is no longer acceptable. My guess is that I'm not the only one who sent such suggestions to O'Reilly-Net and received no response.

If the O'Reilly-Net sites would like to keep their edge, they should make sure they don't turn into another one of the dime-a-dozen blog sites, and instead start offering high-quality articles and essays again. But this will require a better responsiveness on the part of the editors. Would chromatic and/or Mr. Turner care to comment about that?

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  • Would chromatic and/or Mr. Turner care to comment about that?

    On a random website I just happened to read during non-work hours, on behalf of someone who apparently hasn't read Perl.com today? No, thank you.

    • Hi! Thanks for your reply.

      Hmmm.... interesting: It seems that this Perl.com feed, which I was using to keep track of what's new in Perl.com [oreillynet.com] hasn't been updated in a while, despite several new additions to the site. Please fix it (I'll also email the webmaster.)

      As for reading Perl.com - I expect such sites as Perl.com to announce their new features in their web feeds, and have no time or patience to visit half-a-gazillion sites everday to see what's new. That's what RSS/Atom are for. Obviously, the Perl

      • I wrote it here as a last resort. And I don't think it's any "random website", but that's a matter of taste.

        I have no time or patience to visit half-a-gazillion sites every day in the remote possibility that I might stumble across feedback from people who know how to send a message to the webmaster at perl dot com. Complaining in public is hardly a last resort when you didn't even try to ask anyone in private.

        I'm sure you feel perfectly justified in your own mind about the efficacy of complaining in publ

        • Complaining in public is hardly a last resort when you didn't even try to ask anyone in private.

          No kidding. I, too, got "called out" this week on a public list, for no clear reason. It carries the same rude stink of sending an email to a coworker that says, "Have you finished that thing we talked about yet?" and carbon copying the CEO.

          --
          rjbs
        • Hey, if I had received replies to the two emails I sent (over a month ago), I would not have posted it here. But I didn't. I figured out an email to the webmaster would similarly be lost in confusion, if not even more so.

          I admit I don't know your job constraints, but if you've listened to the Perlcast interview with Tom Limoncelli about his "Time Management for Sys Admins" book [perlcast.com] (published by O'Reilly, who is your employer and the parent company of the O'ReillyNet sites), or read the transcription which I

          • I apologise that I had to make this complaint public, but it seemed to me that I did not have any otherwise choice. I don't know why you didn't promptly reply to my emails with the article suggestions, but it was irresponsible on your part. You reap what you saw.

            Shlomi, this attitude is why you get banned from so many Perl communities. You don't read or listen (or perhaps you don't comprehend), and you come across as a stubborn, arrogant twit who loves to lecture people about how very simple the world wo

            • Hi chromatic!

              Thanks for your comment. See below for my response.

              Shlomi, this attitude is why you get banned from so many Perl communities

              You are right that I tend to get banned a lot. However, I'm not sure about the exact reasons why I am, or if they are what you describe. Can you please elaborate and exemplify these problems?

              You don't read or listen (or perhaps you don't comprehend), and you come across as a stubborn, arrogant twit who loves to lecture people about how very simple the world would

              • You are right in the sense that I may like to tell people how to improve.

                Since you asked about how you can improve, I'll point out that what you describe is called "unsolicited advice," and it's rude. Here's a fabulous few paragraphs from Judith Martin on the topic (also at http://xoa.petdance.com/Unsolicited_advice [petdance.com])

                It is rude to call people's attention to their shortcomings, no matter how much you have their welfare at heart. It is rude to assume that anyone other than minors in your custody is less c

                --

                --
                xoa

      • The feed is fine. The extra items that show up on the front page of Perl.com are weblog entries that are merely syndicated on Perl.com. They are not Perl.com articles – the last of those was, in fact, in May.

        (FWIW, I think this is perfectly fine. Those weblogs get syndicated to a lot of O’Reilly Net sites, most of which I have subscribed; I wouldn’t want lots of posts to show up in four or five different feeds.)

        • The feed is fine.

          We're in the process of revising our feeds, and at some point in the near future, the Perl feed will include everything tagged as "perl". That requires some infrastructure changes, which won't happen overnight, which is why they haven't happened overnight.

          • Ack! I hope there’ll also be “just the articles, m’am” feeds for all the sites?

            I really like the current setup, which has per-site feeds for articles and one feed for each and every weblog entry posted anywhere on them. Or at least that’s how it was until O’Reilly News showed up, which has its own separate feed that I didn’t notice forever. I also dislike FeedBurner, but that’s my own bias.

            (Maybe there should be a “stuff we’re doing on O’Reil

            • It's unlikely we'll keep a distinction between articles and weblogs; our syndication feeds will reflect that. One big problem with the previous system was the static, editor-created list of topics -- it wasn't easy to publish new topics.

              I like the idea of a "What's happening" type of feed, but it'll be a low priority until we can complete the migration to the new system.