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How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it

by Anonymous Monk
on Apr 30, 2011 at 16:32 UTC ( #902213=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hello dear monks,

Here's the diagram png,dia

Today I come to you with a proposal for a diagram for asking questions in the Perl community. I did this because there have been ongoing discussions on reddit and other places.

I put forth these diagrams with hope that someone puts them to good use.

There's also a reddit discussion about this problem right here.

The following three reddit posts ticket me off, I had the same problems many times and it was time for doing something, at least describing the problem in a diagram would help other people understand what's going on. So here are the posts: one , two , three

I request your comments and I'd like to know:

  1. do you like Perl ?
  2. do you like the Perl community ?
  3. did you ever had any problems with harsh answers or bans on IRC ?
  4. do you think that the Perl community needs some reorganization ?
  5. do you feel like irc.perl.org is controlled by a gang ?
  6. do you feel that #perl on Freenode is too strict ?
  7. do you feel like ops on #perl on Freenode or on some channels in irc.perl.org are being idiotic ?
  8. what would you change in the Perl community?

Yours, Anonymous monk

Comment on How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Apr 30, 2011 at 17:52 UTC

    Calling people out in public (rather than calling out bad behavior) might be counterproductive.

      Counterproductive ? So is trying to talk to them while they're on a channel and you ask a question.

      So why not let everyone know who these people are so you don't have to deal with them in the first place. That makes everyone happier. MST is the first one, and the others will soon followin in a nice list, of people you don't need/have to talk to while online. Which is very good for everyone(even for them).

        Counterproductive?

        That depends on your aim, I suppose.

        I try not to flip the bozo bit on people. I try to separate behavior from person. I've had very pleasant conversations with people who've exhibited awful behavior sometimes, and I've had unpleasant experiences with people who are normally very pleasant. It happens. We're human.

        With that said, there are a few people in the world I want nothing more to do with for the foreseeable future—but what point is there in naming and shaming them in public? Our disagreements are private (and, admittedly, may be one sided).

        I take it this way. Certainly I'd rather be called on the carpet for doing something wrong than for being someone wrong. Tell me I've behaved or spoken or written poorly and I won't like it, but I'll accept it far better than if you tell me I'm a horrible person. I don't think I'm alone in that.

        (Besides, if you want to see a more civil Perl community, I think you have to be more civil yourself. Replacing a sinister cabal with a sinister anti-cabal does no one else any good.)

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 30, 2011 at 18:03 UTC
    sorry but I forgot one question,

    9. do you feel like the irc.perl.org channels need to be decentralized/moved_to_freenode so that not everyone is in the control of mst&gang ?

      The answer seems obvious. Start #perl on freenode and encourage people to come visit. Announce that "mst&gang" are not welcome. Were you expecting somebody else to do this for you?

      - tye        

        There is already such an initiative. No I was not expecting anything like that.

        What I mean by moving irc.perl.org ==> Freenode is that there are projects which mst has nothing or little to do with that are under his control and they should not be, they should be on Freenode. Bottom line is IRC.PERL.ORG is MST's home IRC network, it's not an official network, it's basically bullsh*t, and that's why things need to be moved to Freenode.

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by InfiniteSilence (Curate) on Apr 30, 2011 at 19:47 UTC

    Answers:

    • do you like Perl ?Define like (if you mean use all the time, think is really neat, use it to try out new things, constantly look for the Perl version of pretty much everything, etc., then 'yes' is the answer).
    • do you like the Perl community ?I don't know how anyone can like a community. I mean, I'm an American, and there are other Americans who I don't like and I think are major A-holes. We're all Americans though, so I respect them.
    • did you ever had any problems with harsh answers or bans on IRC ?Who in the heck hasn't?
    • do you think that the Perl community needs some reorganization ?No. I think the Haskell community needs to be reorganized and the Java community and the Vb.Net community though.
    • do you feel like irc.perl.org is controlled by a gang ?I don't use IRC and wouldn't know. If it was though I would stop using it and then it would probably stop being an issue I would think.
    • do you feel that #perl on Freenode is too strict ?Beats me.
    • do you feel like ops on #perl on Freenode or on some channels in irc.perl.org are being idiotic ?Ditto to last response.
    • what would you change in the Perl community?I would ban whining.

    You might be wondering why I bothered to make this post. I did it to make a (small) point. I've tried to use IRC for Perl on several occasions, each time I didn't much like the interaction. So I 'loaded up the truck and-a-moved to PerlMonks'. To hell with IRC trolls, mean people, and anybody bad. I've had almost no problem getting my questions answered here over the years except those that I should have been researching on my own.

    In ancient Greece there were all kinds of different groups of thinkers and philosophers, like the cynics. The historical tradition of cynicism is well known and is apparently favored in certain intellectual circles. The Perl community is not alone in this. I remember reading posts in an Oracle forum which were basically mean spirited and elitist.

    Regarding the Lester post, I think the problem overall has to do with computing and social interaction itself. People did not evolve to talk to eachother via strange boxes sitting on their lap or on desktops. This is an entirely recent human invention and, as such, people appear to be devolving behaviorally in certain instances where they do not recognize that they are actually talking to real, living people on the other end of the wire. Think about it -- if we interacted via small robot dogs that would cower whenever we got angry our behavior would be different I think.

    Celebrate Intellectual Diversity

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by moritz (Cardinal) on Apr 30, 2011 at 21:26 UTC

    Each community needs some means of protecting itself after it has grown to a certain size.

    One of the protections of the Perl community is that certain people take up the role of the bastard and, among other things, yell at people who don't stick to the rules, and resort to bans if yelling wasn't successful.

    I'm grateful that mst plays that role, so that I (and others) don't have to.

    From your questions it sounds like you had some clashes with this role (you don't happen to own or have owned a 4-letter/digit nickname here on perlmonks?), and thus concluded that it's a bad role, and makes the Perl community less friendly.

    From your perspective that's certainly a reasonable conclusion, but you have to ask yourself how else the Perl community could defend itself against people who don't stick to the rules. Any suggestions?

      I'm grateful that mst plays that role, so that I (and others) don't have to.

      The debate over whether this role is the most appropriate way to protect the existing Perl community (or even if the existing Perl community needs such protection) could be interesting. Unfortunately, this thread is neither the best place nor the best approach to start such a discussion.

      No amount of not following the rules of a group warrants insults and degradation.

      xoxo,
      Andy

        I agree, and nowhere did I say that I approved with mst's methods. There needs to be somebody who calls out inappropriate behavior, and bans people who abuse services.

        Calling names isn't implicitly part of the role, and should be avoided. (And I have the impression that mst reduced his amount of swearing on IRC quite a bit, though there's still room for improvement).

      Although I agree with the overall point you make, I do struggle with the first line i.e. that need for protection correlates with size? I think actually that the smaller a community, with the individual being the smallest case, the more protection it needs from bigger groups or these days those claiming to represent the group by a faked mandate. In an ideal world there needs to be global protection for the individual instead of groups delegating the power to fight other groups over differences which are usually exaggerated by those in power - power needs trouble to survive at the expense of the community - because a community is in reality a collection of individuals whose community status tends to be imposed by those seeking power over others in the first place.

      One world, one people

        I do struggle with the first line i.e. that need for protection correlates with size

        That's what experience shows: in a community of only very few people, you can easily deal with all of them individually, and can often resolve conflicts before they escalate.

        Have you ever seen a three-people community plagued by a troll?

        I think actually that the smaller a community, with the individual being the smallest case, the more protection it needs from bigger groups or these days those claiming to represent the group by a faked mandate.

        The smaller a community is, the less attention it draws to it, so it doesn't need much protection either. Also I don't see the faked mandate as the main danger of communities, rather it's trolls sucking up their resources and poisoning the atmosphere.

        I think actually that the smaller a community, with the individual being the smallest case

        An individual being a community? That seems like a weird notion.

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by Anonymous Monk on May 01, 2011 at 03:00 UTC
    do you like Perl ?
    yes
    do you like the Perl community ?
    yes
    did you ever had any problems with harsh answers or bans on IRC ?
    no
    do you think that the Perl community needs some reorganization ?
    no
    do you feel like irc.perl.org is controlled by a gang ?
    no
    do you feel that #perl on Freenode is too strict ?
    no
    do you feel like ops on #perl on Freenode or on some channels in irc.perl.org are being idiotic ?
    no
    what would you change in the Perl community?
    I would make an explicit perlmonks rule to discourage flamebait such as this -- don't bring disagreements from other forums to perlmonks
      nice try mst
        FWIW, that aint me

        I am Re^4: What's bugging you?

        You want to start new channels and what not? Great! You want to spread infighting? Go elsewhere.

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by JavaFan (Canon) on May 01, 2011 at 12:21 UTC
    1. Yes.
    2. Some parts of it. Other parts I don't touch with a 10-feet pole.
    3. Never. And I've used perl IRC channels since 1997.
    4. That assumes the Perl community has a global organization. It hasn't. The "community" is just a phrase covering a multitude of different initiatives, run by different people, for different audiences, providing different services.
    5. No.
    6. No idea. Don't care either.
    7. No idea on the first group. No on the second.
    8. Again, this question assumes some global, top-down control. The only way to change things is to actually do something instead of whine.
    I get the feeling from your posts you don't like irc.perl.org. That's fine. Noone is forcing you to join. If you think you can it better, run your own server, apply your rules. That's how irc.perl.org started - before, the Perl-IRC center of gravity seemed to exist on large well-known network. Someone thought we'd do better on a private network. So it was set up. He turned out to be right, and things got better - hence the shift of focus. You don't like the party, or were requested to leave by the host? Too bad for you. Build your own party. And believe me, if it's any better, people will move.
Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by luis.roca (Deacon) on May 01, 2011 at 18:10 UTC

    I grew tired of this entire meme at least a week ago. Now, it's pissing me off to no apparent end. I wish I could say this has been beaten to death over the past few weeks but that would imply it has stopped.

    Life is short. Shorter for some than others. Life is hard. Harder for some than others. Time being the most valuable commodity each of us have, do you really want to expend yours passing torches and pitch forks (Or creating involved flow charts) over what ó hurt pride?

    I'm sorry for whatever hurt you to this degree that has expended so much of your time and energy. You have a strong opinion on how people should be treated. My suggestion, treat others in that manner yourself and walk away from people (or lists or irc channels or Tuesday quilting groups) who you feel don't.

    Good luck,
    Luis


    "...the adversities born of well-placed thoughts should be considered mercies rather than misfortunes." ó Don Quixote

      Hear, hear.

      I attended a leadership coaching class a couple of weeks ago, and the coach made a very astute observation that really brings things into perspective:

      "You have as much time as there is..."

      The underbar to this was: "How do you want to spend it?"


      What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. - Christopher Hitchens
Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by raybies (Chaplain) on May 02, 2011 at 20:13 UTC
    The only Perl community I know is Perl Monks. I haven't needed anything else. I don't do IRC, due to an addiction to it back in the 90s... the CB is as close as I get to that.

    Like anything else, a community takes patience to build. It's very cooperative. If you're a user and not a giver, you're going to get a bad rep. If you do nothing but complain, people won't listen to you--because you offer nothing in return. And if you're not willing to work together with others and do your own part, again, the community won't be a community.

    A sense of humor doesn't hurt also...

        Goddarded! Godwinned! (jdporter++)

        I make a lot of money with Perl and it is in no small part because of work MST has done. Heís a little fast on the draw with the f-bomb. Heís also contributed huge amounts of very good work for, as you say, free. If you donít enjoy a particular personal interaction, be an adult and donít seek it. AFAIK there are no expletives in the documentation heís written for his generally excellent code.

        Iíd rather have ten MSTs telling me Iím AN F-TARDED IDIOT than a single anonymous etiquette cop telling me how nice it is that Iím friendly on IRC.

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by Jenda (Abbot) on May 03, 2011 at 08:38 UTC

    Why would you even ask on IRC? And even more importantly why would you answer on IRC?

    I mean as a means of getting help it's usable only for questions that take one or two sentences to ask and at most one sentence to answer. There it might ... if the right people happen to waste their time there and see the question fly by ... work, but anything that requires more info is ... bound to be frustrating for everyone involved. Someone types sentences as quick as he/she can ... without putting much thought into them, trying to explain, people randomly respond, comment or leave ...

    Writing an email or a forum post gives the poster the time and space to formulate their question, format their post and ... the perceived "permanency" of the post helps to force at least some to put some effort into what they make public. With IRC you just start typing.

    Discussing something with people you know (even if just online) is a different thing, but I know for sure I would not be able to stand the programming newbies (there is a difference between someone new to a particular language and someone new to programming in general) asking without know what is it they actually want as soon as it occurs to them that theres something that's not immediately clear. Without spending a few cycles of their own central processing unit on the problem first.

    Jenda
    Enoch was right!
    Enjoy the last years of Rome.

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by DrHyde (Prior) on May 04, 2011 at 10:22 UTC

    If you're going to criticise individuals (individuals who can't actually harm you), doncha think you should at least stand by what you're writing, instead of hiding behind anonymity like a coward? That would help you to demonstrate - as no doubt is the case, for I'm *sure* you don't have a personal axe to grind - that you are a disinterested observer trying to act for the benefit of all. Having the balls to stand by your words would also mean that you aren't tainted by the potential association with the idiot anonymous coward who is calling people a Nazi.

      I see no reason to do that. I said what I had to say, I said it as an anonymous monk because I can. I have balls, big ones, I won't show them, just yet.
Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by je44ery (Hermit) on May 04, 2011 at 15:52 UTC

    It looks like Xiong feels the same as you regarding IRC, and has already decided to do something about it. Check out his home node. He refers to freenode#perlpals.

Re: How to ask a question in the Perl community, and where to ask it
by marinersk (Chaplain) on Jun 04, 2011 at 18:56 UTC

    Some quick notes. Please forgive the terseness.

    Here's the diagram

    Cute. Possibly useful. I've heard of IRC and channels, don't use 'em. Suggestions to make it more universally useful:

    1. Organize this into a text list of resources, perhaps HTML with links;
    2. Organize by type of medium (Chat, E-Mail, Web-based, etc.);
    3. Remove judgements.

    NOTE: Not everyone has, or will have, the same problems with the same people as you. It is generally pointless to insert your personal feelings into a device deisgned to help people who are, by definition, not you.

    HUMOR: Unless, of course, you are actually arrogant enough to presume that everyone has your failings. In which case, you won't finish reading my post anyway :-). Point being, you have your failings, I have mine. Please don't presume mine are the same as yours. Just the facts. That's what makes a good resource.

    The following three reddit posts ticket me off

    I can't figure out what in those posts were a problem. This is probably due to my lack of familiarity with reddit, as this is the first I've heard of it.

    I request your comments and I'd like to know:

    Okay, here goes.

    do you like Perl ?

    Absolutely, yes. Fun, fast, flexible, wow! Portable to any environment with a Perl interpretter. Yum!

    do you like the Perl community ?

    Yes, generally, for as much of it as I have seen. Apparently I haven't really seen much of it.

    did you ever had any problems with harsh answers or bans on IRC ?

    No. (To be fair, this might be because I've never gone there.)

    do you think that the Perl community needs some reorganization ?

    No. Much of software engineering is still art, and art defies organization. The science part is, in my opinion, reasonably well-covered with places like Perlmonks and CPAN, and that plus a good search engine will get you a large part of the way towards moving past the science and back into the art, which does, as previously noted, defy organization.

    do you feel like irc.perl.org is controlled by a gang ?

    No. (See caveat above.)

    do you feel that #perl on Freenode is too strict ?

    No. (See caveat above.)

    do you feel like ops on #perl on Freenode or on some channels in irc.perl.org are being idiotic ?

    No. (See caveat above.)

    what would you change in the Perl community?

    Loaded question. A community is, by definition, comprised of people. I wish everyone looking for information was articulate, accurate, and honest. I wish everyone answering those inquiries was polite, patient, and skilled in the art of assistance. But the real world has all kinds of people, and the Perl community is no different. So we do the best we can and adjust to what we find. That's Life, and I'm not about to condone anyone imposing their draconian views on others. Smells too much like Tyranny and not enough like Liberty. If I don't like Community X, I am free to stop going there.

    Bottom line: Go where you get the help you need, or where you successfully provide what help you can. You are empowered to solve your own problems. If there is no community out there that fits your needs, perhaps you need to create a new community. Diversity yields many things; sometimes they're even useful.

    Sorry you're having such difficulty, but it is wise to change the things you can, accept the things you cannot, and to be able to tell the difference.

    Not all of us get there at the same pace.

    Whereever "there" is.

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