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Re: The Case for Learning Perl

by talexb (Canon)
on Jun 11, 2002 at 20:49 UTC ( #173654=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to The Case for Learning Perl

Well said, but ..

I believe the community here wants to retain some civility between members and visitors. Civility requires adherence to a glob of rules that are really just common sense and politesse as applied to electronic communications.

While it may bruise visitors' egos when their "Hurry, I need an answer to this" gets downvoted, it's nothing less than should be expected. Picture this:

    The coffee shop is half full of people, some talking in groups, some reading magazines or papers. Some are drinking coffee, some have tea, others have bottles of fruit juice. A few have plates in front of them. Every few minutes people get up from the table they're at and join a different table or leave altogether.

    The walls are packed with neatly indexed papers, textbooks, PODs and articles. A staff member is on duty for questions, in case a visitor wants to search for information on a particular topic. The name badge says 'Super'.

    There are just a few small pictures on the walls; apart from that the interior decoration is sparse but functional. New arrivals (regulars or first time visitors) get a few waves from the people already inside the coffee shop. The atmosphere is serene. The serving people behind the counter are quick and efficient, with name tags that say 'MySQL', 'Apache', "Linux' and 'Perl'.

    A first time visitor comes in, picks a table with some people at it, grabs a chair, pushes their way in and sits down. They plunk down a ratty text, knocking a plate to the floor, and demand help with their problem. Conversation slows. A staff member comes out from behind the counter to clean up the broken crockery.

    The visitor leaves the listing on the first table, and storms over to another table and slaps down another copy of the listing. More astonished faces, and the coffee shop gets quieter.

    Slowly, the ghostly number above the newcomer's head turns from a light coloured zero to a red coloured number. Many hands point to the literature available on the shelves that line the coffee shop. Frustrated, the visitor storms out.

    The conversation returns, perhaps a little louder than before, with a few moments of laughter. A few people flip through the ratty listing left behind and leave notes for the stranger, in case they return.

    Outside, the world hurries on ..

All that to say, if you have any common courtesy, or if you've been on the Internet for a while, you should know that when visiting a new community, be polite. This means

  • No shouting
  • Don't make any demands for immediate service
  • Speak clearly and distinctly
  • Come prepared

Not really much different from common sense, eh?

--t. alex

"Nyahhh (munch, munch) What's up, Doc?" --Bugs Bunny

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Re: Re: The Case for Learning Perl
by newrisedesigns (Curate) on Jun 11, 2002 at 21:39 UTC

    You make a good point, but I feel that those that want to learn ask for help in a rather positive way. I can give you a list of nodes where an Anonymous Monk committed a serious faux pas however, registered users can also shatter plates and ignore the books on the shelves. We have had some users that did nothing but cause trouble.

    Civility is one of the key elements learned/acquired during one's stay at the Monestary. Those that have been here a while may still not have learned it. Many Anonymous Monks have been more than humble in their manner in which they ask questions.

    I don't want everyone and their mom to join if they have no desire to learn. If a script kiddie or a frustrated compsci student wants some help and that's that, fine. But if someone shows some initiative to learn, and seems like the type to stick around, then I think we should extend him or her an invitation to join.

    John J Reiser

      First, Perl is not an easy language. Perl was not the first language i learned, nor the second, or third, or even the fourth. Some people are simply not ready for Perl, and i for one would never put someone on a motorcycle before they first learned how to ride a bicycle very well.

      You raise some very good points, and i do appreciate reading such arguments to remind me of why i am here, but not everyone that comes asking for help should be using this language right now. It's dangerous without proper wisdom, and sometimes you have to say "don't touch that - you will get burned" in a rather scolding tone.

      As for those with initiative to learn, they will stick around without anyone having to extend them an invitation because they will see the benefit of staying. I am not saying that we should not extend invitations, i am simply saying that those who really want to learn realize that it is up to themselves to put forth the effort, not us.

      Good root post, by the way.


      (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)
        More good points. I drew on my own experience, with 15 years of programming in C, to provide the necessary support in learning Perl in the first place. If necessary, I could dig through the code and find out how it works (I always wanted to write my own regexp engine).

        Your comparison with riding a motorcycle is particularly apt. I got my first bike in 1978 after having ridden a bicycle for a number of years. I had no idea about how to use a clutch, so took the bike out to a back road where I drove up and down (very carefully!) till I got the feel for it.

        After a while I was quite competent at downshifting, braking with brake and engine, checking my mirrors and flicking the turn signal, but to begin with I had to single-task my way through the unfamiliar territory of a motorcycle. Perl can be like that.

        I can't imagine trying to learn Perl as a first programming language though. Way too much information and complexity at once, especially if one is trying to do something as complex as CGI programming.

        My opinion still stands. I hope and expect to see civility from everyone (not just Anonymous Monks) when they visit this site, just as any of us would expect visitors to their home to behave properly and not break furniture, make fun of our choices of music or drink all the beer.

        --t. alex

        "Nyahhh (munch, munch) What's up, Doc?" --Bugs Bunny

        Thanks :)

        I do feel that even though most people would have difficulty learning Perl right from the start, I think that any person with a rudimentary knowledge of programming wouldn't have too much trouble picking up Perl.

        Before I met Perl last summer, I had very little experience. I mucked around with BASIC on a Commodore 64, and did some C programming in seventh grade on an ol' 16Mhz machine running DOS. There was a lapse of six years where I did no programming whatsoever.

        My girlfriend has tried Perl, and she hasn't had much luck. It is hard. She has little to no experience in programming, but she knows much about the Web and CGI. When I first started to help her, I taught her to use the Command Prompt. Bad move on my part. Most people (Windows Users) nowadays are very cautious around a Prompt and think it's useless. Microsoft has pushed public opinion away from the text-based interface that most users that started computing in an environment like Windows fear the prompt. She wants to continue learning, so I think she and I will go over the basics of

        I think, however, that we should extend an invitation that seem truly interested. I never asked my girlfriend if she wanted to learn Perl, she asked me. Anonymous Monks should be invited to learn with the rest of the Monestary, and we should point them in the direction of information that suits their interests. In time, their interests may grow into more than just CGI, Tk, or AOL robots. I know mine did. :)

        John J Reiser

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