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Monastery To Do (or) To Add List

by bladx (Chaplain)
on Aug 16, 2001 at 06:43 UTC ( #105260=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hi everyone!

Background
I have noticed recently that many past Perl Monks Discussion Topics have been about many items to add to the already (at least according to urban legends,) gargantuan list of things to do on the Official Perl Monks To Do or To Add List. The problem I see about this is, how does the general public know what items are currently being worked on, on the Official List?


Thesis
My Proposal is basically this: Why isn’t there a public to do (or to add,) list of items currently being programmed for the Monastery? Read on, if you would like to see my reasoning to see why this should happen, and reasons why this shouldn’t happen, as well as the ever present apathetic humor (which happens sometimes when I write.)


Pro Thesis
  1. If there was a public list such as this, it would help the other monks in the Monastery figure out what was currently happening, which would somewhat help the problem of trying to come up with new helpful ideas that could be tried to improve the living conditions here at the Monastery. There is a powerful argument against this reason in the antithesis paragraph, if you choose to continue reading this discussion topic.

  2. Another good point is, it would let the general monk knowledge about what is being configured or added in the Monastery be more than myth, or urban legends about what *might* be actually happening, and would let them know exactly what to expect to be added next. That reason goes down to the underlying issue of accountability, are we supposed to take for granted that Vroom and anyone else working on the Monastery is actually doing all of what they are commissioned to do? My answer is no. Although Vroom has created the Monastery, the people like you or I that visit and help each other learn more about the mastery of Perl, are the ones who have really built what we now know as the Perl Monks Monastery. Without we, the people, Vroom might be hosting only a couple of people, which isn’t entirely exciting as having many good users worldwide. Before you login to Perl Monks next time, make sure to remember this key idea, because when you are logging in, you are helping to strengthen Perl Monks, due to it not only being a website online, but an entire online community. It is true that we are under a dictatorship of sorts, but we still have our rights as users, make sure to exercise them once in a while, when the time is correct, because timing is everything. When used incorrectly, this type of idea could lead to an incorrect idea of corruption, and the idea of overthrowing existing power, which is NOT what I am suggesting, or even attempting to suggest. Well, I shall get back to the main point now.

  3. Apart from having a simple official “to do” or “to add” or even “currently adding” list, I suggest that it should be something where it would have the current items listed in a such of way where users could vote on the importance of what item should be added/fixed next, and that would mean it would be up to the users to decide this. By having this control, it might indeed satisfy the hunger of different users for what they want added, so that it can happen sooner rather than a long time later. Although, this might be an option that would be only readily available to a certain status or rank of users in the Monastery, so that just an every day Joe couldn’t constantly vote up a certain item that is definently not needed at the moment, if ever. I don’t believe that this type of extra voting item would be hard to concoct, on the contrary, it would not take very long to construct, and once constructed, it would be there to have new suggestions added by mature monks to help brainstorm what could be done better or what could be added/built into the Monastery. When you have a growing population in a monastery, you know what has to happen, and that is you have to allow a greater growth, of ideas and knowledge; since knowledge is power, this would greatly increase the knowledge of users in this Monastery. Going back to who would be allowed to add ideas and vote on these different ideas of items to add or edit, I would like to mention that anyone should be allowed to see this board, just that not everyone should be allowed to add or vote on ideas. Possibly anyone could add ideas to be considered, like there are for other sections in the Monastery.


Anti Thesis
  1. Although this may be a reasonable idea, some may argue that those who want to add new ideas to what could be added to the Monastery should just use super search and check to see if anyone has posted what they are about to suggest, and then post it in the Perl Monks Discussion section. It does arise a potential problem with this idea.

  2. If a page like this were created, would it even be used by enough people to be viable as a new page in the Monastery or section? As it is already, I have noticed a posting decrease in the amount of posts in the Perl Monks Discussion section. True, there are still many posts, even daily, but are there enough that there would still be many good posts in the Perl Monks Discussion section and still have enough people to add ideas to this new potential page?

  3. Another problem can surface as well: Does Vroom and other behind the scenes workers here in the Monastery really want other people to know what exactly is being worked on in the present? Or is it kept a secret on purpose? Perhaps this type of information should not be shown to the general public, lest their secrets of “hard work” sound more like the qualities of a Perl programmer. It is hard to say.


Conclusion
After weighing both sides of the idea, one can assume that even though this is a viable idea, is it really worth taking the time to create a page such as this? I would say yes, for a few reasons:
  1. It doesn’t take long to create a small voting system for items to add or edit in the Monastery.
  2. It would increase public awareness in the Monastery showing what is currently being built, or refined.


Final Comment
Many monks out there may have many different, yet still reasonable, opinions on this topic, or idea. Please write your feedback or ideas on this topic as it relates directly to the refining and betterment of the Monastery society. Thank you for reading this article, and hopefully many worthy ideas will possibly spawn from this idea.

Andy Summers

Comment on Monastery To Do (or) To Add List
Re: Monastery To Do (or) To Add List
by mpolo (Chaplain) on Aug 16, 2001 at 12:41 UTC
    To add to the "pro" arguments, this would allow the "easy things that vroom would do anyway if he just had a minute" to be gathered into a single place, so that when that mythical minute comes, he knows what to do. At least for me, it's kind of frustrating to suggest a little fix, get it voted up, and then have it (seemingly) forgotten.

    As to implementation, maybe level 6+ monks could have an extra button in their "Consider" nodelet, only for PMD nodes, that says "to do". This would automatically create the necessary crosslink to the todo list. Or make it another cross for the janitors to bear...

    Just my 0.02 € .

      Even having minimal experience with the Everything engine, I can tell you that, for the most part, none of the changes suggested in past discussions (the ones I saw) are things that take merely a minute to do. On JavaJunkies, just setting up the various link and code parsing aspects of the site has required crazyinsomniac to create several different parsing functions for nodes, fields, text, etc. Creating new sections of the site similar to the SOPW takes oakbox hours.

      We haven't had experience in implementing the voting or moderation system yet, but I'm sure it takes time. An extra button may take longer then you think to add. The pieces behind the scene are not always quick in development.

      Knowing what's being worked on and developed within the site would be useful. Taking time away from working and developing it to tell the users what's being done seems wasteful. vroom would let us know about any significant changes. Patience. Wait to see the changes. Watching your change crawl a todo list won't make it come any sooner.

      Love is random; fear is inevitable. -- Orson Scott Card
      PerlMonks is good for Perl, but JavaJunkies is good for Java
(kudra: automated discussion listings) Re: Monastery To Do (or) To Add List
by kudra (Vicar) on Aug 16, 2001 at 13:41 UTC
    I am a firm believer in the use of search, but reading this does make me think it would be nice to have other means of examining discussions. In particular, it would be nice to see how the monastery perceives an idea, and what vroom's intentions are regarding it. However, I don't think that it needs to be as complex as what you described. Rather, it could be little more than a listing of topics along the lines of Q&A or the tutorials page.

    Unfortunately these two sections require maintenance. I would rather see a mostly automated solution for discussions. For example, discussions could be automatically added to the page after they are a week old. I say a week because that gives time for posts to be moved out of discussion if they don't belong there, to be retitled, and for people to respond, while at the same time leaving little danger that the idea will be reposted in that time. I do think the page would need to be editable, either by the site documentation clan, editors, or maybe just turnstep :). Maintenance would involve things like moving repeated discussions to be listed with the older instance.

    I see the listings consisting as a few components: title, popularity and status. To go in to more detail:

    • Title of the article
      This would simply be the title the author gives, which would be a link to the post. People editing the page could rename it if needed, and move a title to be listed with another title if they addressed the same thing.
    • Popularity
      Popularity is one of the potential ways to order the page (and in my opinion more useful than by date or alphabetically) and so extra care should be taken in automatically generating a rating. However, this is probably the most difficult part to automate correctly. Rather than introduce a new system for this, I would suggest using the existing mechanism--voting. The problem with this proposal is that some people vote on discussions based upon how articulate the person was (I know I recently read someone urging for this kind of voting, but I can't seem to find it to link to it), whereas others vote upon whether they'd like the idea implemented (see the discussion section), and this idea relies upon the second voting pattern. Specifically, I would suggest just giving each idea a word ranking based upon how its reputation relates to norm (with the exact relationship to be worked out by looking at the reputations and responses to existing discussions).
    • Status
      I'm concerned about the idea of this becoming a todo list for vroom. I do think it is nice for the users to see how the site is developing, but I also think that it is up to vroom to decide how he spends his time. I would like to see this serve as maybe a reminder of possible ideas for him, rather than a list of things he needs to do. The status field would be for the rest of us, who would like at least minor indications of how the site is developing. A simple comment from vroom along the lines of 'good idea, I should do this sometime' or 'nope, not going to happen' would take up very little of his time and would give a small idea of future plans.
(thabenksta) Re: Monastery To Do (or) To Add List
by thabenksta (Pilgrim) on Aug 16, 2001 at 19:46 UTC

    I have been thinking about this also, because recently I posted a discussion about Perl Monk Mentors, which I thought was a pretty good idea. I have no clue as to whether this will even be considered as an addition to the monastery. I have also read numerous discussion of excellent ideas that I never heard about again.

    So I do agree with bladx that we should be keeping track of new additions and changes to the site, but I also agree with kudra that it should be as automated as possible. Sometimes it's better to know that nothing is happening than not knowing at all.

    -thabenksta
    my $name = 'Ben Kittrell'; $name=~s/^(.+)\s(.).+$/\L$1$2/g; my $nick = 'tha' . $name . 'sta';
    Give Me a Dollar!
Re: Monastery To Do (or) To Add List
by jlongino (Parson) on Aug 16, 2001 at 19:57 UTC
    Doesn't the Make your Petition node already address the implementation request phase?

    It would be nice to see a State of the Monastery section in which an approved/under consideration list (maintained by maintenance monks) was publicly available. This could reflect suggestions from Make your Petition with appropriate acknowledgements. It might also reduce some of the cyclical reposts.

    If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

      At least the last time I posted to Make your Petition, it automagically landed in Perl Monks Discussion and looked quite silly, as it was never intended as a writeup in the strict sense. The node got both voted up and Considered. Go figure.
Re (tilly) 1: Monastery To Do (or) To Add List
by tilly (Archbishop) on Aug 16, 2001 at 21:24 UTC
    My understanding is that vroom is busy. He is maintaining the site and adding various things behind the scenes to smooth things out overall (for instance he has made it possible to address various things with editors, he has done some things about bots, etc). However I don't think he has time for massive development. And donations are not coming in fast enough to pay for him to be a full time employee.

    Given that I think it is more than slightly unfair for people to sit around tapping their toes asking when everything is going to be done already. Nor do I want to see features added which encourage this attitude. Are you paying the bills? No? Then you are a guest, please act that way. Even though I have donated some, I am likewise a guest. Unlike with open source software, the cost of running this site is centralized, not distributed.

    So what can we do to improve that?

    The obvious answer is that everyone can donate money so vroom can work full-time on the site. The offering plate is ready. Go to it! Hasn't really worked yet, but if you ask early and often...

    Another idea is to distribute development. I don't know how other people feel, but I am strongly against having a large group of people added with any sort of administrative privileges. Or even local logins. OTOH I think it would be useful if, like happened with Slashdot and slashcode, it was easy to set up your own PerlMonks-like site. To some extent this is possible, the Everything code-base is available. But PerlMonks has diverged from that base. How much? I don't know. I am a user here, not a developer. Nor have I had time to study E2. But I know it diverged a while ago.

    However were I to ask for any significant development, the development that I would like to see is this. I would like to see PerlMonks resynchronized as much as is feasible with E2, and then see a release of enough of the PerlMonks base and whatever else may be required so that anyone who wants to can download it, set up a working private version of PerlMonks, add a useful feature, export that feature, and others can copy it. I don't know how hard it is. I would guess not easy because much of the site is stored as data in a database...

    I would be willing to pledge some money for that...though not much time. In fact when I see vroom tonight I will ask how doable that is...

      While I understand that vroom is busy, I don't think that anyone is "tapping their toes". I just want to know what's happening. It doesn't matter if takes awhile, just as long as I know it's going to happen sooner or later.

      Another idea is to distribute development.

      This has been mentioned in Discussions before, and it's exactly the kind of thing that would be nice to know if it's going to happen. I think it's a great idea and I would love to help out with the site.

      -thabenksta
      my $name = 'Ben Kittrell'; $name=~s/^(.+)\s(.).+$/\L$1$2/g; my $nick = 'tha' . $name . 'sta';
      Give Me a Dollar!
      Distributed development is doable. Yes, having a large development team can be a problem. Keep it simple. Only have a few. One primary (vroom, obviously), and a few others that know Everything well enough to help out with the site without destroying it or causing unecessary down time.

      Resynchronizing with Everything would probably be impossible with the ammount of changes it took to develop the current PerlMonks environment. I recall hearing that vroom hacked it quite a bit. The nodelets and such things all depend on various parsers and functions, and each section and individual node has moderation and voting glued to it. I'm sure there are many other pieces behind the scenes in Everything I haven't even glimpsed yet.

      The offering plate is not a solution. It would be wonderful to hire vroom full time to run the site, but unless a better payment system is put in place, he will never be afforded. Perhaps if users are able to put themselves down for a monthly credit-card contribution (or however-long) they would be more "generous" with their money. Something like this would enable a monk to give the gift that keeps on giving, without having to remember to keep giving. However, even this is likely not to work. Many people, however sad this may be, feel that just being in a community is enough of a contribution. Giving money would be "excessive." If there's another solution around, I'd sure love to hear it. I'm sure vroom would, also.

      Love is random; fear is inevitable. -- Orson Scott Card
      PerlMonks is good for Perl, but JavaJunkies is good for Java

      It seems clear to me that at least some distribution of development is required. But I think you've got the cart before the horse. Even if resynchronizing with E2 is practical, I would imagine that it would require enough work that I'd be quite surprised if vroom alone could manage to finish such a task even in the next couple of years (since he is busy and can't do this type of work full time). We need distribution of development effort long before we'll get synchronization between E2 and PM.

      I'd much rather go forward with the original plan for several people to be added to the developers group such that they have read-only access to the full, live source code of PM so that they can help vroom develop. This was even requested by an E2 developer who wanted to do some merging. So I think it is the clear first step towards being able to take more steps as directed by vroom.

              - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
    tip tip
    by da (Friar) on Aug 18, 2001 at 02:54 UTC
      Maybe we should have a semi-mandatory 'tip tip'.

      I mean, what's a tip jar for, but people who have tips? Such as great suggestions for Our Fearless Leader and other developers? I suggest a $5 donation per idea (adjusted for personal circumstance).. And if you've voted a ++ and you think an idea is worth implementing, drop a fiver into the offering plate.

      That is sufficient for a few beers while those in charge mull things over.

      This would be a purely symbolic gesture of respect, being aware of the fact that we appreciate the work, and are willing to help out in any way possible.

      Update:I realize that many of us are in school or otherwise poor; the idea is a symbolic gesture, not the money involved. I just took a look at perlmonk's paypal stats; in the last 6 months, there have only been contributions by 50 or so monks. How about if we get that number closer to the number of active community members?

      Update2:Since I've been asked- you can find out from payPal what a payee's 'community rating' is; that corresponds to the number of people who have given money to the payee.

      ___ -DA > perl -MPOSIX -e'$ENV{TZ}="US/Eastern";print ctime(1000000000)' Sat Sep 8 21:46:40 2001

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