|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
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.
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.