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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I sit close to the Help Desk at work - I'm amazed by their patient attitude ("is it plugged in... is it switched on... can you see a little green light...") with the people who phone in. It takes a special sort of skill to do this kind of hand-holding well.
    Beginners lists run by people who desire to do this sort of work are an excellent idea and can only enhance the standing of the community and language.
  • I agree. The problem is, and it seems to be extra problematic in Perl land, is that good teacher and expert are very different beasts.

    One reason I'm put off helping beginners is that I'm only a medium-good programmer myself, and will likely get slapped for something.

    The real world does not have a problem with allowing our children to be taught chemistry by people who are anything but excellent chemists. I think we need to create a culture where perl can be taught by people who are not excellent perl pro
  • I actually enjoy helping out new people, and I especially enjoy sharing my enthusiasm about Perl, and have a lot of fun on the Beginners list. I am certainly not an expert, but answering questions helps me learn also -- because there are always questions I don't know the answer to right off and need to do some research to find the answer. The biggest reward is to have someone write back and say "Hey, it worked! Thanks!"
  • This is one of my hot buttons, and I can't even speak about it without getting too upset most of the time. Bring it up at YAPC, and I'll buy you beers till I stop ranting.

    Please, please start answering questions and ignore the flames out there. If I see one of the usual gang harass ya, I'll come to your defense as long as you're nice about it. (*putting jon on my newsreader's hot list*)

    *resisting urge to rant...failing*

    I had held out hope for perlmonks to be a flame-free kind of place that welcomed
  • The situation that irks me in particular is when someone posts a bit of code, asks a question and the responder takes the time to stroke his ego by criticizing the poster's coding style, practice his golf a bit, and to force their idioms on the supplicant.

    Yes, you get more of that on PerlMonks [] than is necessary. But that isn't all that you get, either.

    The poster is told "NO, THAT'S WRONG", his code is savaged, his ego ripped to shreds , and the responder gets his superiority complex fed for a few

  • There are probably also misunderstandings where the questioner just stalks away. But I think even those are relatively rare and have more to do with the emotional state of the questioner, terseness of the answer, and the difficulty of text-only communication than any beligerant attitudes.

    Wonderfully put. I can't imagine that most respondants keep in mind that the person asking the question is 1. under some level of stress 2. is already frustrated and 3. is in over his head (or he wouldn't be asking).


  • Some of the stereotypical attitudes of perl experts towards perl beginners may have to do with its origins. Perl was once described as the language to use "if its too difficult to do in the shell, and not worth coding in C." That of course, assumes that the programmer knows both the bourne shell and C, and has used the both enough to understand what the limits of the shell are and what is tedious to code in C.

    And then came the web. Then a lot of people who didn't come from some sort of computer background

  • Re:Good luck (Score:2, Insightful)

    I disagree, both with your reasoning and your solutions.

    I will focus mainly on what we are seeing on Usenet; I am far more
    familiar with Usenet that with Perlmonks or the various mailinglists.

    First, to set the record clear, people are usually *not* flamed for
    being a Perl newbie. Nor is the "flaming" that goes on specific for
    the Perl communitie. Mostly, people are flamed for their attitude.

    Communities are formed because of give and receive. Not by assuming any
    request will be granted promptly, wit

  • "This article seems to imply that the problem isn't the language itself, and it isn't the novices trying to use the language. The problem, the article claims rests mostly in the perl community. I'm not sure if I believe the problem is so entirely one sided. Some could reasonably claim that perl is less than ideal first language, and sometimes people make it hard to help them."

    I agree with the idea that a large part of the problem *IS* the Perl community. When I find my old cranky BOFH groups and lists more warm and friendly, it may be a good indication that people have tipped the scales of bitchiness far beyond even my expectations.

    For a time there was not a single list that didn't have a flamefest of some sort and no tolerance for those who weren't in the know. In spite of Abigail's thoughts on c.l.p.m. it's a horrible place to go anymore as the flames seem to far outnumber the helpful whenever I scan the group. I would never recommend Usenet to newbies now anymore than I ever did before. I hid behind the guise of a male moniker for 7 or so years because it saved me a lot of unwanted treehouse behaviour. Not much has changed over the years it's just that there are more people from every walk of life on the net and getting everyone to play nice is terribly unlikely if not altogether impossible.

    For what it's worth, in the last year and a half, things have gotten considerably more cordial in places where there used to be far too much bile. There is better documentation and dissemenation of information that was once believed implicit or just not written down. This isn't rocket science afterall. though some people are quicker to pick it up than others.

    So, yes, it is the Perl community as if you take away the computer what's left? The person .

    "Unfortunately, I think that the perl beginners list is doomed to fail. I think that the beginners and beginners-cgi split is the first evidence of it. (the next step is when people start arguing about what is appropriate for which list.) Newsgroups were created specifically to address the problems that mailing lists don't scale well, and this is a mailing list trying to fix problems with a newsgroup."

    I disagree as I've seen a lot of stuff come and go around these parts and the beginner list has a lot of promise I've not seen before. The CGI split is probably a good thing since it is a natural focus and it allows people to reduce a bit of the volume in their inbox if they don't want to deal with CGI questions.

    Specifically it's trying to deal with the pain in the ass bastards who for as long as I can remember have spent way too much time beating the living shit out of people who ask stupid questions and so far it has succeeded fabulously at this. I see no reason why it cannot continue in a friendly helpful manner. 99% of the challenge of learning is knowing what to ask and a stupid question is that of someone who hasn't gotten to the that point.

    Perl people have made my most surly SA friends look humble and cheerful at times and fostered a sense of "No Good Deed Shall Go Unpunished". Only in the Perl community could I serve cold Guinness in the can only to have someone complain that the free beer fairy didn't bring something better. That sums it up pretty well...bitching about the free beer.

    It's rather classic then that prognostications of doom ensue now that there is some promise in the beginners list where there is a shred of hope that maybe, just maybe, newbies will get a sheltered place to ask dumb questions and learn how to ask the right question before heading out into the shark infested waters.

    The people involved with the list seem pretty committed to making the list work and continue to be friendly and helpful so I have some confidence that this shall succeed. If P5P can be courteous after 4 years of a PMS-ing self-wanking bitchfest, anything is possible.


    "Perl -- Free as in free beer but dammit, why didn't you bring Coors instead of Guinness in the can?"

  • ...learn how to ask the right question...

    That is always the key to learning. Wise people will never flame someone who has shown due diligence in seeking, first, the question to be asked. If the begining perl mailing list does nothing but point people to the appropriate perldoc page, or FAQ entry. Then it will be a success. If it also starts people thinking about the best practices in the perl sphere, then it will be a smash hit.
  • The CGI split is probably a good thing since it is a natural focus and it allows people to reduce a bit of the volume in their inbox if they don't want to deal with CGI questions.

    It'll be nice if it works out, but I'm not hopeful. One of the biggest causes of flames on c.l.p.misc seems to be people who can't distinguish between Perl questions and CGI questions, and then take offense when people tell them they should ask their questions in another group. How are the mailing lists going to avoid that

  • I remember a few years back Ronald Kimball performed an experiment on comp.lang.perl.misc. He posted under a pseudonym, pretended to be a novice and asked a simple question that went something like this: "How do you delete a file in perl. I found the delete function, but it doesn't seem to do what I want it to do."

    Ronald got only helpful comments and no flames. I assume that it was the mention of an attempt at effort that caused the good-hearted people to help, and the wolf pack to stay at bay.

    If anyone
  • Well, you must have different SA friends than I have. The SA groups I frequent certainly have less "newbie flaming" than clpm, but that's mostly because there are barriers preventing them to post in those groups in the first place. Would they manage to stumble in, and post clpm style messages, it would be clpm that would like a nicey-nicey group.

    It's always interesting to see that the people who say "we should be all nice to people not spending any effort" tend not to be the people who have posted thousan

  • If the begining perl mailing list does nothing but point people to the appropriate perldoc page, or FAQ entry. Then it will be a success.

    Really? So, what's seen as "flaming" on comp.lang.perl.misc is seen as a "success" on the beginners list?

    -- Abigail

  • I haven't been on clpm in quite some time. I think the definition of flaming depends more on the context and tone of the question AND the response, than the precise words used. In a family, or small group, with close ties, a person can get away with rougher speech, teasing, etc. than they can in a wider context. I can tell my brother to RTFM, and he can tell me to go to hell, and neither of us is offended. If, as I have seen on some other mailinglists and newsgroups, (non-perl), the SAME person posts the SA
  • They are not avoiding the problem -- there are several moderators who are policing such things behind the scenes (as moderators should).

    If people take offense when given answers or suggestions to ask the right people, why should the person answering the post be blamed? We can't try to avoid controversy to the point of being 'politically correct'!

  • It works on the MacPerl lists. When people ask a CGI question on, someone more-or-less politely asks them to ask it on