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Community review

by Juerd (Abbot)
on Jun 07, 2002 at 05:43 UTC ( #172435=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Most reviews are written by a single person. But I was thinking that maybe it would be fun to do a review as a community. In other words: how many problems can we spot in a certain text, and how well are they compensated by the good stuff? If we take the tutorial by Robert Pepper as an example, the more experienced Perl hackers will probably find a lot of mistakes, but Perl beginners might want to point out the well written structure or the good explanation of some subject. Because most reviews are written by a single person, they often lack the necessary ambivalence.

Would reviewing something in a discussion thread be possible without intermonk fights? If so, how do you feel about this?

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Comment on Community review
Re: Community review
by webfiend (Vicar) on Jun 07, 2002 at 05:56 UTC

    Not a bad idea, but don't we already have that effect in the reviews area? Somebody posts a review, and other people comment on it? I even see duplicate reviews, where somebody else decides to review a book or module that's already been covered. The combination of comments and multiple reviews provide us with a good method of finding out what is good to who - and why. I suspect that explicit review by committee would end up with a lot of:

    "tye was dismayed by the quality of the references chapter. Juerd felt that the coverage of OO was very enlightening. webfiend asserted that the accompanying CD tasted tangy and made pretty lights in the microwave".

    We can get the same message across without the awkwardness of "he said/she said" stuff.

    Of course, it occurs to me that I've never written anything with other people, and it might not work like that at all. It's just a hunch.


    "All you need is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."-- Mark Twain
Re: Community review
by BUU (Prior) on Jun 07, 2002 at 06:04 UTC
    While its not a totally bad idea, there are two ways (i see) to implement this. One, the way we have now, someone writes a review, someone else critiques it, etc.

    Or a group of people sit down to write one...
Re: Community review
by jepri (Parson) on Jun 07, 2002 at 06:14 UTC
    Node replies are almost like those weird stories where everybody adds a paragraph, only looking at the paragraph above.

    Definately fun, and definately useful, but is it that constructive? A lot of people have thought how interesting a group coding project would be, with critiques by the big guys. Would this fit in with what what you were thinking of?

    ____________________
    Jeremy
    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

      Node replies are almost like those weird stories where everybody adds a paragraph, only looking at the paragraph above.
      ...
      Definately fun, and definately useful, but is it that constructive?

      I think so, take Essential CGI Security Practices as an example. Very little of the thread's value is in the original post. All the suggestions add value to the thread resulting in something much more informative than a single article. I believe this could apply to Juerd's suggestion as well.

Re: Community review
by dwiz (Pilgrim) on Jun 07, 2002 at 06:17 UTC

    I think your idea is a very good one as long as for anything that was negatively reviewed there was an alternative suggested for the interested programmer or newbie depending on the situation. If one is not available perhaps a community effort on providing one?

    I also think that reviews should not be limited to tutorials or texts but expanded to code reviews. If an freely available script was chosen and then heavily reviewed I think a lot could be learned and a lot of people would benefit. From there the script could then even be refactored increasing the learning process. I don't know about the practicality of all my additional suggestions but I think at the very least we should have a go at your idea.


    -dwiz
Re: Community review
by cjf (Parson) on Jun 07, 2002 at 10:24 UTC
    I was thinking that maybe it would be fun to do a review as a community. In other words: how many problems can we spot in a certain text

    Interesting idea. Another one would be instead of a certain text we review a piece of code. After all, how often does the average Perl hacker carefully examine the modules they're using? Many eyes make all bugs shallow, but I do wonder how many people are actually reading the source of commonly used modules and trying to find ways to improve them.

Re: Community review
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Jun 07, 2002 at 13:05 UTC
    Not at all easy, and I wonder whether it would be useful. Sure, if everyone has the same opinion it isn't too hard, but I would give such a review much weigth. But if people have different views, you'll end up with a review that's a compromise. A review by committee. And while many things could easily be done by a committee, I don't think they should make reviews.

    A practical example. Many people here tend to love O'Reilly books and would write praising reviews. I, on the other hand, have yet to find an O'Reilly book that I would rate as "good" (7 on a scale of 10 for the best books, but most wouldn't get more than a 5). I don't think I could write a review with someone who thinks a book is good, while I think it's bad. What should the review say, that it's an average book?

    I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's not going to be easy, and I have my doubts on the results.

    Abigail

      I, on the other hand, have yet to find an O'Reilly book that I would rate as "good"

      I've always liked dissenting opinions :).

      Just curious, what are your major complaints about O'Reilly books? Do you think there are many common problems between their books? If you've read it, what's your opinion of Programming Perl 3rd ed.? What technical books would you rate as "good" or better?

        Well, my major complaint is that in most (if not all) O'Reilly books, the author is considered to be God (to quote one author of an O'Reilly book). There's too much "this is how it is" and "this is how you solve this particular problem". There is hardly any explaination why things are the way they are.

        If O'Reilly books learn you something, it's just a bunch of tricks. It's hard to gain actual insight from O'Reilly books. Another problem with O'Reilly books is the index. The index of the first print of Programming Perl 3rd edition was missing something very essential, either "Regular Expression" or "Regex". (Don't have the book here, so I cannot check). You seldom see a reference in O'Reilly, and if you see one, it's mostly to one of their own books.

        Note that O'Reilly isn't the only publisher whose books are "lacking", it happens with other publishers too. I just mentioned O'Reilly because there are so many people dweeping with them. As if having an animal on your cover makes the content good.

        When it comes to technical books, I generally find Addison-Wesley of a higher quality (but that doesn't mean every A-W book is good!). One book I really like (and I've learn more Perl from it than all "Perl" books combined) is Stevens' "Advanced Programming in the UNIX environment".

        Then there's of course Knuth. If you want to know how an index such look like, look in the back of "The Art of Computer Programming". And don't forget to check out the reference section as well.

        Abigail

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