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masak (6289)

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Been programming Perl since 2001. Found Perl 6 somewhere around 2004, and fell in love. Now developing November (a Perl 6 wiki), Druid (a Perl 6 board game), pls (a Perl 6 project installer), GGE (a regex engine), and Yapsi (a Perl 6 implementation). Heavy user of and irregular committer to Rakudo.

Journal of masak (6289)

Sunday June 07, 2009
12:31 PM

How can we scale kindness?

[ #39090 ]

Peter Szinek and then _why each wrote a constructive blog entry about the recent Rails community porn-star/professionalism discussion. My purpose here is not to summarise or enter into that discussion; the interested reader may follow those links instead. I just wish to use those posts as a springboard for a similar point:

Every day, we contribute to shaping our community.

Obviously, some sort of inverse proportion (to the size of the community) is involved here too. I spend quite a lot of time thinking about this. Every day, I see the Perl 6 community scaling up, welcoming new people on #perl6. I see a lot of kindness and good manners. (My posts barefoot and How Perl 6 just sells itself cover this quite well.) I see — sometimes to my astonishment — typical flame-war opening remarks derail into interesting discussions of insight and mutual agreement.

People come into the channel asking questions. Regulars, myself included, try to answer them clearly and patiently. We even have a few newcomers who are obviously not on #perl6 for the Perl 6. Perhaps they simply like the atmosphere; I know I do.

I look at all of this, and I hope it will last.

What can we do to make sure it does, when a critical mass is reached and people start pouring in? I don't know. Paul Graham has some interesting ideas, which seem to boil down to "expect courtesy". Larry Wall recently intervened in an email discussion which threatened to develop trenches.

The Perl 6 community is not having the discussion that the Rail's community is having right now about offensiveness, manners, and a macho attitude... because we're not big enough to have that problem. I believe that the community as a whole is quite open to Perl 6 programmers of both sexes. I cannot say this with certainty, though, since my perspective is limited to that of a man's.

We're still small, and as we grow we have excellent opportunity to keep the community open, inclusive and accepting. How do we do that?

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    • Sorry, done what once?

      • I was relating to your closing question: "We're still small, and as we grow we have excellent opportunity to keep the community open, inclusive and accepting. How do we do that?"
        • Aha. I still only barely see how that answer goes with that question. What is it Larry has already done once? Intervened in an email discussion? Formed the (kind and accommodating) Perl community? Formed the (even kinder) Perl 6 community?

          Anyway, part of my point in the post was that it's not all up to individual leaders like Larry to make sure the community stays kind. It's up to all of us. It just so happens that Larry, besides being the captain of the Perl 6 ship, also happens to sometimes take the lead

          • You assume that I somehow argue with you. But I am not - I fully support your thesis. I only wanted to express my faith that it is possible to 'scale the community' and that the Perl 6 community will scale :)
  • Get involved in your local Perl Monger group. I've been to the local Ruby group, and it is much larger than our local PM group, but I got the sense that a lot of the Ruby users were less interested in the Ruby language itself than the current fad of Ruby being popular. Our PM group is a lot smaller, but the interest level among users seems to be a lot higher.

    Getting to know your fellow Perl users in person is a healthy thing. It prevents problems such as flame wars, list spamming, content lifting from th