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Re: PM: A Place To Learn

by {NULE} (Hermit)
on Apr 04, 2002 at 02:52 UTC ( #156545=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to PM: A Place To Learn

Hi Monks,

I'm normally the silent type, but I feel we are all friends here and I'd like to relate a bit my past eight months or so - including a trip through friar-dome and why exactly it is I'm so silent.

First off ++ to Kozz for reminding us gentle encouragment is often more useful than a scholarly scolding to a willing student.

Secondly ++ to merlyn who has been singled out many times for helping out a new monk even if it means answering the same question over and over again. Giving the same sagely advice, refering to same tried and true documents no matter how often the same easily searched for topic is broached. May we all show your same perseverance and patience.

Before I delve any deeper I'd like to mention that I have not looked at the mentioned node (nor will I) and I neither know nor care what precise comment sparked this discussion.

There are two reasons why I am not what you may call an overly active participant of this community. First is what I will call the personal baggage component. This is where personalities meet online to discuss a topic like Perl where we all have a common interest, but the discussion verges to topics where we differ. There is a certain home node under current contention that comes mind. We are here for our love (or hatred) of Perl but serious discussion at times must occur of god-awful things like politics and religion so that we may work out our differences and continue to be a vital community. I understand it, but do not feel comfortable in partaking of such discussions and hence the first cause of my relative silence - my shortcoming, not the community's.

The second is because of exactly what Kozz is talking about. Despite the fact that I am comfortable with (and proud of) my Perl ability and aware of my own shortcomings and am resolved to learn more and improve - I am scared to post anything I write here. It is not as though a single town bully exists here to pummel the non-elite for any breach of Perl perfection. It is that so many of us are so good that many of us are capable of finding fault in even the best code. And more specifically that at any given moment one monk or another is inclined to do precisely that.

Thankfully most of our wizardly brethren refrain - even when a topic has been discussed before, the same bad habits discouraged over and over again and the same good habits reinforced, and the mantra 'super search is your friend' has been uttered for the umpteenth time. But we must never forget that when you are an acolyte of the community the harsh words of one who is your senior (particularly with the reknown of some of our friends here) can be particularly damaging.

I think we must also consider our actions when voting. A new member must have a tough hide indeed to have a first post -- into oblivion and still come back for more. Even if it is wildly obvious to us in our wisdom we must remember that there was a first time we learned that lesson too.

So now I lapse into another period of my relative silence. I'll watch for the Tk and other posts I like answering. I'll keep hoping that my curses cb client will start working again one day soon, with or without my intervention. And I'll continue to be proud of being part of the best online community I have ever witnessed. May we keep it that way.
{NULE}
--
http://www.nule.org

P.S. ++ to Kozz also for adding to my vocabulary. I will use the phrase 'assholery' at absolutely the first opportunity I have for it.

Update: I wanted to address demerphq's response out of respect for the poster. It is clear that you and I approach programming (and life in general I'm willing to bet) a great deal differently. Had I been criticized harshly here as a new monk I would have turned tail and run away from the monastery faster than you can say "python". I am overly sensitive I suppose but I think of programming as an "art" more than a "sport" (it is both, of course) and as such it hurts to have my art criticized - even when the critic is kind and right (another shortcoming of mine).

We are probably going to have to agree to disagree on this topic. I try to understand the approach you take as an educator and I know that sometimes people need a beating to be enlightened. But any good teacher will tell you that not every student learns in the same way and I don't think a harsh approach will help everyone. I feel and I hope to convince others here that the lack of a tough hide shouldn't pose a barrier to entry into our ranks. After all when you've been here a while you get to know who is a prick - who is not and most importantly to take it all with a grain of salt. All I ask is that we keep this in mind, particularly when dealing with new members.


Comment on Re: PM: A Place To Learn
Re: Re: PM: A Place To Learn
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Apr 04, 2002 at 13:19 UTC
    . It is not as though a single town bully exists here to pummel the non-elite for any breach of Perl perfection. It is that so many of us are so good that many of us are capable of finding fault in even the best code. And more specifically that at any given moment one monk or another is inclined to do precisely that.

    First off, good point! {NULE}++

    I suppose in many ways I am the exact opposite of you. I often post, and I often reply, and I often spout off what I think is 'best practice' or whatever it is that I think is relevant. And sometimes I even do it in a harsh and judgemental way. And for this I have been abused and contradicted and criticised. And educated.

    For me the beauty of this place is that even when i'm right, (cause im _always_ right :-) someone smarter or more experienced is nice enough to come along and show that i'm wrong. Sometimes they do it by posting code, a benchmark or a documentation. Sometime they simply make a remark that points out the stupidity of what I said. But you know what, from those responses I learn. I learn what kind of remarks exact "witty" responses from the community, and usually they are the kind of things that had I thought about in more depth I would never have said.

    Thankfully most of our wizardly brethren refrain

    I disagree. There are times and places when the facts are simple, you said or did something dumb and you deserve to be told of it. This doesnt mean that you arent welcome in the Monastery, but rather should serve as an indication that a little bit of research, a little bit of analysis, a little bit of holistic thinking is needed before you say something stupid. Advice that applies to all walks of life and not just posting here.

    But we must never forget that when you are an acolyte of the community the harsh words of one who is your senior (particularly with the reknown of some of our friends here) can be particularly damaging.

    Damaging? Hmm. Not to be harsh but if you cant stand the heat stay out of the kitchen. Programming is an intellectual sport. If one of these old pros says you did something dumb (well, assuming the criticism is not malicious, and such comments dont usually last more than 5 seconds of consideration) then you have three choices, a) get even, prove em wrong or put up a damn good fight. b) get over it, and try to learn from the experience or lastly c) get lost, and never gain the fruits of knowledge that are in such abundance here.

    Now a last comment about the node in question. The solution was dumb. Im sorry but it was. Anybody with the slightest exposure to perl culture (and programming in general) should have been thinking "Theres got to be a better way to do this" and then done the basic research to find out what it was. But the poster in question didn't. And so merlyn quite rightfully took the piss out of him (in frankly not that harsh a way). Hopefully the poster has learned from this. I suspect a bunch of other people have.

    Yves / DeMerphq
    ---
    Writing a good benchmark isnt as easy as it might look.

Re: Re: PM: A Place To Learn
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Apr 05, 2002 at 10:55 UTC
    Thank you for the update. It has been a bit of an eye-opener especially as I've recently had similer discussions with colleagues at work.

    Had I been criticized harshly here as a new monk I would have turned tail and run away from the monastery faster than you can say "python".

    I think I'm going to have to try to be a touch more sensitive and maybe tone down the line where I consider something harsh. I certainly wouldnt want to be responsible for scaring someone away.

    as such it hurts to have my art criticized

    Very true. But knowing that your code could be dissed only makes positive feedback all the sweeter. Again however im going to keep this in mind. I normally consider myself to be of the "Programming is an Art" school, (a debate Im glad hasnt come up here even though it was almost invited in ;-) but I tend not to take the next step and think of code as a piece of art. But I suppose in enough ways it is, and that has a bearing on how I would criticize. For instance there are things I would say to my colleagues or programmer friends about their code that I would never think of saying about a picture they had drawn or a piece of music they had played.

    I feel and I hope to convince others here that the lack of a tough hide shouldn't pose a barrier to entry into our ranks.

    Yes this is true. And the next time I'm inclined to be harsh I'll think again, especially with a newcomer.

    Thanks alot,

    Yves / DeMerphq
    ---
    Writing a good benchmark isnt as easy as it might look.

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