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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • And I'll no doubt say it again, but we have done ourselves no favours over the years.

    I've met and worked with competent perl programmers over the years who have heard of comp.os.lang.perl.misc, if only because it was mentioned in the camel and llama. But they don't actually participate because they've seen what happens to newbies who ask questions.

    These are people that we want in the community and we have successfully alienated them.

    So, what to do? Let's be ambassadors for our community. Listen to peo
    • It's not as if this issue hasn't come up on clpm before. If I recall correctly, a common response talks about burnout. Some people feel responsible for responding to each newbie's question before they get a questionable, or wrong, or brittle answer from another newbie and leave thinking they just received the One True Answer (after all -- hey, it works!).

      This is coupled with a large number of newbies who ask similar questions time after time, many of which are answered in some way or another in the FAQ, and the newbies who have problems "partitioning their problem space"(?) -- for example, asking an HTML, JavaScript, or CGI question on clpm. A good answer, some feel, would be to direct them to a resource which knows about HTML, JavaScript, or the CGI, since the answer to their problem is often independent of the programming language they are using; however, many people don't take kindly to such redirection.

      Another thing some people worry about is that people will look up a question in Google Groups or another Usenet archive and see a wrong answer which was not subsequently refuted by someone with a better answer, or which points to consider before implementing the other answer, and they think they've found the answer, so some people on clpm feel pressured to respond to questions which have been answered sub-optimally, in their opinion.

      How do you propose to solve the problem? (Serious question.) There are only so many good Perl programmers, and so many newbie questions. And, as I said, a fair number of newbies have one or more of the following faults which some people find stressful after a couple of months: (a) don't read FAQs or other documentation; (b) can't partition their problem space and ask what some consider non-Perl questions; (c) do not react kindly to suggestions to re-ask their question in a more suitable forum. There are probably a couple I've forgotten. Where are you going to find people who are (a) competent enough to answer Perl questions and (b) patient enough to deal with newbies in the way you appear to be suggesting? Where are these ambassadors of goodwill, as it were, supposed to come from?

      I've met and worked with competent perl programmers over the years who have heard of comp.os.lang.perl.misc, if only because it was mentioned in the camel and llama. But they don't actually participate because they've seen what happens to newbies who ask questions.

      These are people that we want in the community and we have successfully alienated them.

      So, what to do? Let's be ambassadors for our community. Listen to people. Learn. Teach.

      Feel free to go ahead and set the good example on comp.lang.perl.misc by learning, teaching, and listening to people. Perhaps your presence will lighten up the tone a little -- and I do not mean that sarcastically. I do mean that there's only so much you can ask people to do if you don't contribute yourself; wishing that clpm were a friendlier place won't make it so.

      --

      -- 
      Esli epei eto cumprenan, shris soa Sfaha.
      Aettot ibrec epesecoth, spakhea scrifeteis.