|Do you know where your variables are?|
Just a couple of thoughts on my adventures from first coming to PerlMonks to actually becoming a Monk.
When I first found the monastery, I was jaded. I had so many places on the net that tried to form a community to be, in a word, garbage. I had lurked on many, tried to actively contribute on a few, but didnít really find any that moved me.
After reading my first few posts on the monastery, I immediately joined. This one felt different. Was it, only time would tell.
At first I just lurked. I saw many who came without thought and were corrected. I also saw many who came with thought, but without the experience as the mighty, and those I saw lead towards, to put it in monkish term, enlightenment. If I may risk sounding sappy, there was almost a nurturing, though of a stern and disciplinarian nature, going on.
However, I still felt a bit frightened. My own code was not up to the giants of Perl that inhabited the monastery. Many replies were links to what had gone before, which lead to a perusing of back nodes to get a feeling of what was going on, so that I did not bring up in ignorance a point already brought forth, chewed, and digested.
So I continued to lurk, made a comment that my own System Administrator experience could answer (which I trusted more then my Perl skills). Soon after, I was made a novice, and allowed to vote.
This opened up a whole new aspect of PM to me. I would comb through posts for information that I didnít know, that enlightened me, or dispelled bad practices I had. My initial exposure to Perl was through a horrible book, which had me mostly ignorant of modules, with some cargo-cult ways of doing things I copied from the text. Heck, -w and strict werenít even my friends at that point. I had taught myself more from the perldocs, but based on my poor foundation (which I did not realize was poor), my practices had a distinctive bent.
Which leads me back to voting. I was enamoured by this way to make my voice heard. It gave me the motivation to go through node after node, gleaning bits of insight to make me a better Perl hacker. These I ++ed. Often I would spend a long time going through a node trying to grasp the subtle and elegant way that people would do things. Often this improved me, sometimes it was beyond my reach, but the accompanying text would give me a vector of attack so that I could read about it at my leisure.
When there wasnít enough new material to slake my thirst, I would use random node, and peopleís home nodes, to find other nodes that might enrich my Perl experience. Those that I thought enriching received a ++, even if I was not around when originally written.
Slowly I gained a bit more confidence in my Perl skills. The programs I were writing were becoming more elegant. And they ran under Ėw and use strict, something I can not say of my earlier works.
I posted, but usually ancillary information. With the comparatively immense Perl skills of some, by the time I posted there were usually several answers more complete and elegant then what I could do. But as it came up, where I had experience, I attempted to add. I was reluctant to add code, though I would add ideas.
As time has passed, I have realized that my Perl coding skills are not as advanced as some, but holding them back deprives other monks of perhaps simpler solutions. Solutions that they can use to hoist themselves up a rung of Perl knowledge, just as I enhanced my Perl. So Iím not as shy about my code. It takes all of us, the saints and the initiates. The first time I saw a Schwartzian Transform I was so overwhelmed it wouldn't make it anywhere near my code, so lesser solutions helped. Now, it makes sense. But I needed those intermediary steps, and I hope that as the monastery continues to improve me, that I will remember when I started, and try and help others help themselves up.
Today I made monk. I am very proud of that fact. I did not do it on my own, but rather through all of the posts and community that is PM. So what I want to say is this: