|We don't bite newbies here... much|
I won't comment on the O'Reilly stuff because I don't see how it is relevant.
So we should help people move to writing PHP instead. For this I propose we add a new section, entitled "PHP", where we can ask the questions on how to change a piece of perl into PHP and talk about building the future this way. Maybe this can be the start of a phpmonks community?
PHP is popular because their community (as far as it exists) doesn't encourage or reward learning as much as the Perl community does. This may sound weird, but there are many programmers (or want-to-be-programmers) out there, that seek help, but are put off when they get pointers to documentation that doesn't directly answer their question, and only their question.
In fact, PHP is specifically catered for beginning programmers. When I tried to discuss lexical variables, the PHP developers more or less responded that it would too hard, too complex, too surprising, for their users. That says quite a lot about both PHP and its users, I think.
The Monastery on the other hand, does encourage learning and does reward it. There are many testimonials that state that Perl Monks helped people's Perl capabilities grow. If something like this site would work for PHP, then XP would be the only reason why. Anyone who's actually really smart doesn't write much about PHP without references to other languages, because they are curious about the rest of the world, and will discover that PHP sucks. But there are many people who do write PHP articles. My impression is that the eternal f(l)ame is the primary motivator, and we have that in the form of XP.
Even though XP could make a similar site work for PHP, I think that that could be construed as XP whoring. Also, every problem with Everything will be explained as a Perl issue, and the entire thing would be re-made in PHP. Probably with internals that are just as crappy (PHP doesn't really support clean and modular code), but with an exterior that's pretty and appealing. PHP would again present itself as something shiny and neat, and it would again be the Perl people who made it possible initially. That wouldn't really make me happy.
I do not believe that a new site could create a different kind of community for PHP, as it's eventually the programming language (its lack of learning curve, and a builtin function for everything, including calculating the easterdate) that makes people initially try PHP, and keep the many ignorant programmers at that language.
The major benefit of this site, to me, has been that it greatly increased my Perl knowledge and wisdom. This was possible because Perl supports programming using real programming techniques. With an imperative-only language like PHP, I don't think anyone would really benefit from such a site, except for XP whores.