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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • ...and then there's polls.

    I'd like it if someone would post, verbatum, what it was we voted on that day. I remember it being worded very, very, very weakly. Something along the lines of "Do you think we should investigate developing a Perl certification?" ie. something you really couldn't vote against. It certainly wasn't a strong message for certification and I don't like seeing it spun that way.
    • During and after OSCON, I asked Damian and others about the details of the vote, to check my recollections, and they agreed with me that the first question was "How many are against the development of a certification program", and the second, "How many are for the development of a certification program". (Damian asked the questions.) And given the context of the preceding discussion, it would have been clear that we were talking about the Perl community developing the program.

      All the panelists (along with

      --

      Dr. Tim Maher
      CEO, Consultix
      Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
      • Well, I was one of the folks who raised hands to the "for" question, but my diary notes that the question was:

        "How many of you are for continued discussion, and possible development, of a certification program by the Perl community?"

        and I also remarked that it's hardly possible to vote against such a wording. Again, my comprehension ability for spoken English may be at fault, but I remember several people who expressed similar sentiments about the wording.

        • Hi Autrijus, thanks for your contribution. I remember you were sitting in the front row, in the aisle seat, and taking lots of notes.

          As I indicated, I was unsure of the exact wording myself, which is why I asked others about their recollections. Anyway, I didn't remember it* quite the way your notes have it, but I'm willing to accept your version (although it's just occurred to me that Nat video-taped the whole session, so we could potentially find out for sure from an examination of that record).

          Anyway

          --

          Dr. Tim Maher
          CEO, Consultix
          Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
          • So we can still conclude that most people are either still open to the idea of certification, or already in favor of it.

            No, we can't.

            First, I refute your assumption that the ~200 people in the room were a representative sample. The attendance at OSCon represents a small fraction of the community. Some would say an insignificant and completely unrepresentative fraction of the Perl community. And 200 attendees for one talk represents a minority of the attendees at OSCon. It means that there were 20

            • I'm shocked that you would defame me in a public forum, but just to show what a reasonable guy I am, I will nonetheless address the issues you've raised.

              1) You have no better insight into the demographics of the 200 people who attended the TPC Panel Discussion than I do. So my guess is as good as yours, and we may both still be wrong.

              2) I've always taken care to seek additional input regarding my impressions of what happened at the conference from others who were present, and I've always done my best t

              --

              Dr. Tim Maher
              CEO, Consultix
              Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
              • I'm shocked that you would defame me in a public forum [...]

                No, I am calling you accountable for the misleading statements you have made repeatedly about the "vote" certification panel at OSCon. Apparently, you agree that your representations may have been less than forthright:

                [I]f indeed I've mischaracterized the results of the vote, as seems likely given the recent clarification of the questions, I'm truly sorry.

                On the issue of the panelists:

                [W]e were a group of 5, and 2 were pro, and the o

                • Ziggy,

                  You keep alluding to a presumed preponderance of negative comments on this board as evidence that Certification isn't as palatable to JAPHs as the OSCON vote suggests, but you need to take a closer look at the data.

                  By my reckoning, only 14 of the many millions of software professionals within easy reach of a keyboard have seen fit to weigh in on this topic.

                  And of these, only Ziggy, foy, and merlyn have come down in opposition to certification. Jacques, RobertX, yumpy, gabor, and chromatic seem

                  --

                  Dr. Tim Maher
                  CEO, Consultix
                  Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
                  • I am a lot closer to No than I am to Yes or Maybe. If I had to pick one, it would be No. I just dislike coming to firm conclusions; I prefer to leave the door open unless there is a reason to close it, and I personally have no reason to close it. But if you must count my vote, it should be a No.

                    Some other thoughts I've had as I've read through more comments:

                    • I think Sun is right-on to say they do not certify that the certification actually means anything. It's true. You cannot say with any real cer
                    • Pudge,

                      Thanks for clarifying you position as NO; it doesn't change the overal picture too much though, leaving the results as

                      FOR: 5, AGAINST: 4, and UNDECIDED: 5.

                      In contrast, the OSCON Vote shows a much greater proportion of individuals being in the composite "undecided/for" certification category (according to the latest interpretation of the results), versus those against -- 100:7.

                      Although this vote was not drawn from a scientifically derived sample of the population of Perlers, its still the best ev

                      --

                      Dr. Tim Maher
                      CEO, Consultix
                      Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
                    • I'm *not* trying to have it both ways, only one way: 200/X is a much bigger proportion than 14/X is, so we should give greater consideration to the OSCON votes than those of this forum.

                      Statistics don't work that way. If you are trying to find out what X thinks as a whole, then you must do it properly. The most common method is random sampling. The simple fact is that the conference's 200/X is not more valid than the 14/X here. Both are equally invalid as a measure of X. The fact that 200 > 14 isn'
                    • In an imperfect world, sometimes you have to make do with the hand reality deals you. Although I admire your respect for the concept of statistical significance, it's meant to be a guideline for accepting or rejecting hypotheses, not an iron-clad rule that prevents sensible consideration of imperfectly collected data.

                      I maintain that if you've got two non-random samples from the same population, and you're interested in coming up with a provisional best guess about the characteristics of that population, y

                      --

                      Dr. Tim Maher
                      CEO, Consultix
                      Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
                    • Although I admire your respect for the concept of statistical significance, it's meant to be a guideline for accepting or rejecting hypotheses, not an iron-clad rule that prevents sensible consideration of imperfectly collected data.

                      No. In fact, the 200 people ARE NOT MORE VALID than the 14, as a represenative sample of X. They are not. They cannot be.

                      I maintain that if you've got two non-random samples from the same population, and you're interested in coming up with a provisional best guess about t
                    • The people who went to the conference were more predisposed to certification than is the rest of the population X.

                      Maybe -- maybe not. I don't mind you speculating, but it would seem to me most prudent to assume that they were only "more interested", not "more for" or "more against", than the target population. After all, the only thing we know for sure about them, apart from the results of their votes, is that they showed up.

                      Your math is completely and utterly flawed.

                      You're quite right about that; I

                      --

                      Dr. Tim Maher
                      CEO, Consultix
                      Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
                    • Maybe -- maybe not. I don't mind you speculating

                      I was not speculating, merely giving an example. Because you don't know what their predisposition is, you cannot say they are "more" representative just because their number is larger.

                      Imagine a circle that represents the population X. It is divided into sections, like a pizza, that represent the different views of the population. For all you know, the 200 are all from one or two of the many sections, and the 14 are evenly distributed. If that were the c
                    • Sure, random sampling is preferred to "haphazard" sampling, or certainly none at all. But life doesn't always give you those choices. Since we started this sub-thread, I've been looking for a way to illustrate my thoughts on this subject, and I think I've got one. Let me know what you think!

                      Imagine that you and your colleagues have to visit a tropical island next week. It's populated by two kinds of deadly snakes, red ones and blue ones.

                      Each of you is allowed to take only one bottle of snake-bite antid

                      --

                      Dr. Tim Maher
                      CEO, Consultix
                      Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
                    • What should you do, if your intent is to live -- as opposed to defending your actions in a Statistical journal?

                      So you are saying, even if you don't have real data, sometimes you are required to guess anyway. Fine. But we are not required to guess in this case, so it is fruitless to guess, and either way, it is still incorrect to say one sample is more representative than the other.
                    • I essentially agree with you, but where I differ is in thinking we might never get better evidence of what the JAPHly population thinks about anything, than the hints we've already got about their views on Perl Certification. And the incomplete, tentative observations we've collected so far indicate that they're interested in exploring Certification further, and possibly "making it so". I think we should give serious consideration to how to proceed from here on the basis of this new information.

                      By the way, how could we approach the problem of surveying the population of Perl programmers? For starters, how would be decide whom to include or exclude? It's not as if we have a "JAPH registry" we can consult. This is a non-trivial problem -- and my guess is we'd eventually end up punting by designating the TPC attendees as our sample anyway.

                      Perhaps we could attach some survey questions to the OSCON/TPC registration form this year . . .

                      --

                      Dr. Tim Maher
                      CEO, Consultix
                      Perl and UNIX Training [teachmeperl.com]
                    • I essentially agree with you, but where I differ is in thinking we might never get better evidence of what the JAPHly population thinks about anything, than the hints we've already got about their views on Perl Certification.

                      I don't think I ever implied a proper survey is impossible. It just hasn't been done. We don't know what they think.

                      By the way, how could we approach the problem of surveying the population of Perl programmers? For starters, how would be decide whom to include or exclude? It's not