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Perl Monks with learning disabilities

by perlfan (Curate)
on Nov 28, 2007 at 00:08 UTC ( #653423=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Dear Monks,

It has come to my attention through frequent private communications with perlsyntax that he has a learning disability. I think this is evident once one takes in some of his posts at once.

I am not asking for you to treat him differently, but I felt like before some of the normal snarkiness got out of hand, I would make everyone aware that he is not a troll or unwilling to learn.

I don't know much else about him, but I do believe that both is disability and his desire to learn Perl are real. Please try to treat him respectfully. I do not know if there is any precedent here on how to respectfully handle this sort of thing, but any pointers in the comments below would be appreciated.

I did get his permission to post this. I've also explained a few things to him regarding this place, and he should understand very well that this is a place to learn and help others learn. That said, I am not his keeper - I just wanted him to have a fair shot.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers, Pf

Comment on Perl Monks with learning disabilities
Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:36 UTC
    What does that mean?
Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by jettero (Monsignor) on Nov 28, 2007 at 11:57 UTC

    I don't know anything about this user you linked to, but I can tell you that being able to communicate properly makes a huge difference when dealing with people. I discovered that mostly through this site. The constant ++/--, while painful, is also educational.

    I have a couple disabilities. They've made academic life somewhat difficult, but I've managed. The real problem was not being very literate. Sure, I could read, but my writing (which is basically all the Internet is for a few more years yet) wasn't really readable by others.

    If you scroll through my early posts, you'll see someone that's mostly unable to communicate in a meaningful way. I had to kindof leave this site because of it. Then I learned how to spell (not as well as I'd like, but a lot better) and how to form sentences that others can read and understand.

    Anyway, my point is (and I have no idea about that user or why he deserves a fair shake), if he's unable to communicate ... he needs to learn how to do so. People won't give him a break unless they know him. Trust me.

    -Paul

      If you scroll through my early posts, you'll see someone that's mostly unable to communicate in a meaningful way.
      I've just skimmed through some of your (very early) posts and I don't find them unreadable. They're slighly l33t (thanx/don'tcha) or poorly worded (hat's a poor bastard to do when they accidently blow an hour of their life on a post). But hey, this is "digital puberty" :)

      Some people never make it through that phase. You did :D


      holli, /regexed monk/

        Thanks.

        I suppose it's unobvious, but the main problem with my early posts is that nobody could tell what I was asking and it made me frustrated to say the least. That resulted in angry outbursts and then waves of downvotes.

        I still write in a pretty scatterbrained style, but I can rein it in enough to get my point across. And that's something.

        -Paul

Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by xdg (Monsignor) on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:28 UTC

    I'm very glad to hear you got permission before posting.

    A suggestion -- since not everyone will read (or remember) this post -- would be a short note to that effect in his/her signature block.

    -xdg

    Code written by xdg and posted on PerlMonks is public domain. It is provided as is with no warranties, express or implied, of any kind. Posted code may not have been tested. Use of posted code is at your own risk.

Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by TOD (Friar) on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:53 UTC
    since, thanks to the praiseworthy altruistic efforts of perlfan, we all know about the unfortunate disability of one of the members in this community, i should suggest we offer all of us who find themselves in a similar situation of individual handicaps the opportunity of wearing something like a yellow badge, possibly in form of a star. we could by this means, and of course by forcing them to always wear the badge publicly visible keep this elect community clear from all those unwelcome, insane elements, such as the disabled, dismembered, or maybe even the disbrained. i propose perlfan to be the first person to test that in reality.
    --------------------------------
    masses are the opiate for religion.
      While I can see where you are coming from, your choice of comparisons is rather emotive in this multicultural community.
      I was not offended by your comments, because I too could see the dangers in flagging up disabilities but others may well be.

      ++ perlfan Nice thought although very difficult to implement.
      There is a difference between my choosing to wear a reflective vest (to prevent being accidently shot) and someone else deciding I should wear a reflective target (to make shooting me easier).

      Then again, you're probably being far subtler than I can discern, and are arguing that the vest can at the same time be the target.
        Gosh, I don't wear a reflective vest when riding my motorcycle. I didn't realise quite how much of a risk I was running!

        Cheers,

        JohnGG

        There is no subtlety, just history. It's a Jew + Nazi reference (Godwin by implication).

Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by apl (Monsignor) on Nov 28, 2007 at 15:53 UTC
    I struck out my attempt at a joke in the data structures thread, and sent a private apology to perlsyntax. Obviously I will keep your post in mind in the future.
Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by sundialsvc4 (Monsignor) on Nov 28, 2007 at 20:26 UTC

    It is well worth remembering that this is a very public place, and that we are not really “talking” to one another ... we are writing. There is a difference.

    So... what can easily happen, with no malicious intent but simply in careless haste, is both public humiliation and harsh written words.

    Add to that ... what? How about the fear of looking stupid, or even ignorant. You've finally screwed-up your courage, “exposed yourself” so to speak, and ... whammo!

    It can hurt like a punch in the gut... or in a place a few inches below your gut. It can be utterly devastating. You might know that it happened; or, you may never know. But the damage is done. So, gentlebeings, whoever you are and whatever you are saying (and mind you, I have no thing and no person particularly in mind here...) think hard before you “say” it, and choose your words and phrasing with care.

Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by tuxz0r (Pilgrim) on Nov 28, 2007 at 22:06 UTC
    It's good know something personal about a community member, as it helps bring us closer together. And, glad that you brought it up with perlsyntax's permission, so I'll definitely keep it in mind. However, ...

    I have some general comments about "snarkiness" and such that may have occurred already (and most likely will continue). Yes, forums are very public places and some people will use the anonymity of the forum to say things they normally wouldn't say in a face-to-face discussion (though, some might, I'm sure). However, there should be a modicum of etiquette when posting, which would entail "thinking" about what you are going to say and how it might affect the person on the other end, whom you've probably never met before. Because we have the voting system and moderators, any inappropriate comment directed at someone with a disability can probably be taken care of. And, the non-snarky members can always chime in with a word of support or encouragement to boot.

    As far as the comments about wearing a "star" or some such, I'm definitely not for putting targets on people with disabilities who post in a public forum. In an online community, everyone should be coming from the same level. (regardless the fun XP levels here). I don't think calling them out would be beneficial for them or for us. Even if it is optional.

    ---
    echo S 1 [ Y V U | perl -ane 'print reverse map { $_ = chr(ord($_)-1) } @F;'
    Warning: Any code posted by tuxz0r is untested, unless otherwise stated, and is used at your own risk.

      As far as the comments about wearing a "star" or some such, I'm definitely not for putting targets on people with disabilities who post in a public forum. In an online community, everyone should be coming from the same level. (regardless the fun XP levels here). I don't think calling them out would be beneficial for them or for us. Even if it is optional.

      Pardon, but how is having this announced (with consent, or otherwise) not a "calling out"? The sentiment of support for perlsyntax is appreciated, but it's a bit difficult to reconcile "glad you brought it up" and "I don't think calling them out would be beneficial" in the same post.

      I don't think it should have been brought up at all, since the Monks shouldn't need to be treating someone specially to be decent.

        My statement was...
        It's good know something personal about a community member, as it helps bring us closer together. And, glad that you brought it up with perlsyntax's permission, so I'll definitely keep it in mind. However, ...
        To reiterate, I "appreciated" the bit of information about perlsyntax brought up by perlfan. I didn't say I agree with the post. I agree with the sentiment of the post, expressing concern. I also am glad he brought it up with his permission, instead of without.

        However, this in no way contradicts my statement in disagreement with "tagging" those with disabilities. I agree, bringing it up in a post in the first place is just like "wearing a star" and it probably will just draw more attention to perlsyntax's posts in the future, whether for good or bad. I don't think there's a big contradiction in my expression of appreciation for the concern (it was brought up, I might as well take it into consideration) and my disagreement about drawing attention to community members with disabilities.

        ---
        echo S 1 [ Y V U | perl -ane 'print reverse map { $_ = chr(ord($_)-1) } @F;'
        Warning: Any code posted by tuxz0r is untested, unless otherwise stated, and is used at your own risk.

Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by DrHyde (Prior) on Nov 29, 2007 at 11:41 UTC
    All I see from his posts is someone who appears to be illiterate and who asks boring questions. Neither of those is a "learning disability".
      How on earth can you draw that conclusion from the posts?
      Do you personally know perlsyntax?
      I for one will be upvoting some of his posts to try and redress the balance.

        It's fairly obvious to me *from his posts* that he lacks the level of literacy that I consider acceptable for an adult (I tend to assume that people here are adults because, well, almost all of us are), and the errors don't look like those that would be made by someone speaking typing English as a foreign language. No, I don't know him personally. That's why I said "from his posts". If I knew him personally and I still had that impression then I obviously wouldn't have added that qualifier.

        And redress what balance? It's very rare that I downvote people for their poor use of English or for posting things that don't interest me. But feel free to vote as you wish. If you want to upvote a particular user's posts regardless of their content I won't stand in your way. I wouldn't stand in your way even if I could.

Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by oyse (Monk) on Dec 01, 2007 at 21:11 UTC

    Hmmm... interesting discussion. Not quite sure if bringing this up was a good idea or not.

    On one hand my first impression when I saw the data structures thread was that it was a joke or someone trolling. In other words not something that it was any point using any time answering. Now that you have pointed out that the question is genuine, I might answer another question from the user in the future.

    On the other hand bringing this up might label the said user in a negative way. Will I for instance from now on think less of the post written by the user even if the content is actually good?

    I have tried to find a suggestion to how this could be solved better, but the only thing I can think of is to suggest that the user tries to make it clear that the question is genuine in a way that does not label him/her as something other than a newbie. For instance by writing at the start of the post: "I know that this question may seem strange, but I am completely new to this, so I am unsure of where to start."

    Of course there is still no way of knowing if the poster is a troll or not, but on the other hand there is no way of knowing if this is all just a strange elaborate joke from perlfan :)

    Anyway ++ perlfan.

Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by thezip (Vicar) on Dec 02, 2007 at 00:32 UTC

    perlfan,

    I'm having a difficult time understanding why you felt it necessary to bring perlsyntax's issue to the forefront. I think that if perlsyntax had a problem with his treatment here, then *he* would have brought it up himself. He's a big boy and has had to deal with his disability his whole life.

    OTOH, you, need to MYOB. My hope is that perlsyntax will be able to deflect the attention you have brought to his disability.

    I find it interesting that perlsyntax has not answered/rebutted any of the previous comments. I will stand corrected if he rebuts mine. That's fine... that's his prerogative, not yours.


    Your wish is my commandline.
      i don't see why you got a prob with this unzip.I do have a slow learning disability.And i want to learn about programming becuase i never take it when i was in school. Well i am hear to learn.

        Good luck to you, then. We're here to help.


        Your wish is my commandline.
Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by ttower (Initiate) on Dec 02, 2007 at 22:41 UTC
    I would like it known that I have an artificial hand. Sometimes it has a will of its own and will even steal out at night and party till late. Please make allowances then for its tardy and sometimes careless spelling and grammar.
Re: Perl Monks with learning disabilities
by aufflick (Deacon) on Dec 04, 2007 at 02:57 UTC
    I don't want to analyse the pros and cons of this post and responses, but I think it's a sign of good community that we can talk about issues to do with our community and the way we should/do treat community members.

    perlsyntax let me congratulate you for your courage in letting perlfan bring this up and thanks to perlfan for taking the time. I hope that you find perlmonks a safe environment that you can improve your programming skills as well as community skills (as many perlmonks have over the years).

    To those who commented along the lines of "perlsyntax needs to learn for himself" - you are totally right, and presumably that's why he's here - but maybe we can also learn about how to improve our teaching/explaining/understanding skills at the same time.

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