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Professional Monks

by bilfurd (Hermit)
on Aug 17, 2002 at 23:34 UTC ( #190933=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

There are many valid questions asked by our fellow monks and visiting lay-persons that have more to do with being a Perl programmer than with Perl itself. Questions regarding ethics, work place situations, developing skills, finding work, putting up with lusers, and so forth are not Perl problems, but they are our problems. The members of our ever expanding monastaries look to eachother for answers that help them do their jobs, so it only follows that they would ask about those jobs.

With that in mind, wouldn't it be beneficial to create a new area of the monastary for these sorts of questions? I think that there are enough of us here that have been (kicked) around the block often enough to provide some insight into professional issues. Granted, there would have to be guidelines -- I really don't care if your mistress found out about you and your girlfriend's sister -- to keep some semblance of order...

If nothing else, it would cut down on the number of 'this is not a Perl question' responses.

Comment on Professional Monks
Re: Professional Monks
by djantzen (Priest) on Aug 18, 2002 at 00:08 UTC

    As it stands now, typically this sort of question goes into the Meditations's category. Now granted, the meditations are "supposed" to be about Perl itself, yet discussions such as (OT) Professional Employees: who owns your thoughts? or (OT) UCITA a Done Deal? Maybe Not. end up here, typically flagged as off-topic. I'm not sure I dislike this.

    If we were to create a new section, call it "Workplace" or something, I worry it would become a grab bag for anything that might occur in one's professional experience, except for those things expressly forbidden or perhaps just ignored according to some unspoken agreement among monks. Either way, if we create a new category, we have to create new norms to govern it as well.

    The reason why I don't mind this sort of thing going into Meditations is because it automatically applies certain constraints upon the content. That is to say, it means that the post, though off-topic, is at least about a workplace issue that somehow relates to Perl or to the realities of the Perl world (e.g., the Open Source community). I think I'd prefer to expand the description of Meditations to allow this sort of thing, rather than create a whole new discussion type.

    Update: grammar fix.

      As the author of more than one OT post, I have given this some thought and had some discussion with others about it. What it seems to come down to is that Perlmonks has grown into a community and a community must naturally have a broad definition of what it is (or at least a bit of tolerance). That's not to say that we should be encouraging "what's wrong with my Java program" type posts, but rather that we should admit that there is a desire by some to discuss things only peripherally related to Perl.

      Mind you, I typically don't post things that are, in my opinion, too far outside the realm of what we do -- I use my http://use.perl.org journal for that. Instead, from time to time I have thoughts that I think may be of interest to others here and I post them. I would actually not mind seeing more of that, but I have some doubts about the best way to pull it off. OT sections have been repeatedly proposed with varying ideas of how they should be restricted -- minimum monk level to post, time limit on them, no commercial solicitations, etc -- but until such time that enough monks truly decide they want something like that and the developers implement it, it simply won't happen.

      On the other hand, I'm not sure I want it to happen. What we have now seems to work fairly well, though I confess that may be easier for me to say than others.

      Cheers,
      Ovid

      Join the Perlmonks Setiathome Group or just click on the the link and check out our stats.

      If you make your focus too narrow then you will loose out on all sides.
      Expanding "Meditations" would probably be alright, but a category such as
      Professionalism or Professional Perl... perhaps Non-technical Perl would
      serve as good titles and would imply both restrictions on content yet allow for
      OT questions.
Re: Professional Monks
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Aug 18, 2002 at 00:48 UTC

    fever++

    bilfurd, "not a Perl question" is typically posted in SoPW in reply to technical question not related to Perl, whereas the posts you talk about are mostly (marked as such) offtopic threads in Meditations. A new "social" section would not cut down on the number of "not a Perl question" at all - but I can easily envision it increasing their amount.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Professional Monks
by digiryde (Pilgrim) on Aug 18, 2002 at 02:29 UTC

    I have long thought an online service was needed where developers can turn to for peer review on more than just code. In my own experiences, non-programming issues have more to do with a succesful career than programing issues. Situations at work and home can drastically impact performance and quality of work. More often than not, all any individual can turn to for these issues is the company's human resources. Kind of like growing your own hanging tree.

    We have seen many issues voiced here from people who were blind-sided by a lack of understanding of their options, or were just to pressured to be able to think clearly. Many of us do not have close friends or relatives who understand the peculiarities of IP law, IT politics and other such subjects.

    This is a Perl site. Do we limit it to include only programming Perl? Or do we allow that to include workplace issues for Perl developers, which just happen to be shared by most developers?

    To me, if this site is to be more useful to the Perl developers' community at large, then including the other topics is incredibly valuable. The number of times in my career I have made decisions based upon bad information or misunderstandings is scary. Most of us have. I assume there are some who have not (though I do not know them).

    By recording these "discussions", we give others a chance to learn from these misfortunes, and hopefully lead a better more productive career. Better performing Perl programmers is a good thing for all of us.

    In addition, this would be a valuable resource that would draw other developers to the Perl community. At first, they would not nescesarily be here for the Perl, but it would expose them to it. Would that not be a good thing?

    Digiryde
      In addition, this would be a valuable resource that would draw other developers to the Perl community. At first, they would not nescesarily be here for the Perl, but it would expose them to it. Would that not be a good thing?
      Eh, no. Just watch slashdot whenever someone happens to mention something about Perl. Many programmers who mainly use language X will balk when being exposed to language Y. Just look at the typical reaction of Perl programmers when languages like Java or Python are mentioned. You will get a lot of "rooting for my language/degrading other languages" discussions if your intention is to draw crowds from other languages to perlmonks.org.

      Not that I worry that it will happen a lot, but that's because I don't think you will get many non-Perl developers to a corner of perlmonks. I wouldn't go to Java or C++ websites to discuss general developer issues, though I might go to neutral grounds.

      Abigail

        I agree (mostly). I always run into Trolls. I think we have a good way of dealing with them here. I am not worried about getting a large influx of "other-language" developers here for the very reason you state. But, I know when I was crossing over to Perl, I would have loved a site like this.

        I did not start using Perl because Perl was cool. I started using Perl as a systems admin when I kept finding good tools written in Perl. Until then I thought Perl was a hobby language (1993) with not much value (as did most of the people I worked with). After someone (Ingo C.) showed us some of his tools in Perl, and how easy they were to create in Perl, we started converting.

        People who are great programmers learn new tools. It is part of the job in many ways. I think a section on this site concerning professionalism would be good exposure for Perl programmers to other language users as well as just good for Perl programmers.

        Yeah, the children will come. You are correct. Nodereaper will reap. But, I do not think many children will show up to a section on professionalism. They are not interested in it.

        Digiryde
Re: Professional Monks
by cybear (Monk) on Aug 19, 2002 at 11:48 UTC
    In ancient China the Sholin Monks would teach each other the art of Kung Fu
    in order to prepare each other for traveling through the dangerous
    countryside of China while spreading their Word and works.

    In modern times, this Monastary if for Perl Monks.

    I think it would be very appropriate to have a section where we can teach
    each other the art of the professional Perl programmer in order to prepare
    each other for traveling through the dangerous countryside of the sofware
    industry while spreading the Word and works of Perl.

    or to put it in a less dramatic light...
    Most of the members of this web form have similar traits, interests and goals.
    By helping others we all are improved. By helping others when they are in need
    we increase the likely hood that we will receive help when we need it.

      I think it would be very appropriate to have a section where we can teach each other the art of the professional Perl programmer in order to prepare each other for traveling through the dangerous countryside of the sofware industry while spreading the Word and works of Perl.

      Our wonderfull, irritating, flexible language is almost always associated with (CGI) script kiddies, JAPH's and is generally seen as a simple and childish langage used for simple and childish tasks. Note that simple in business speak means low or zero value.

      PM is a community and as such is probably the best place to discuss issues of the image or (professionalism) of perl. Between the clueless wannabee "scrip kiddies" and "techno fetishistic" perl gods we have mere mortals who use perl as part of business critical systems quietly and sucessfully.

      These people are the ones that make perl a commercially acceptable tool. Take Timbos DBI for instance it was created because it was needed for commercial projects where performance and reliability are business critical.

      Timbo is a lot more than just Mr DBI. he started TPC because it was good for perl and made perl a more commercially viable tool. I doubt anyone has ever actually made a living from doing TPC support. Most of the folks I met during my stint were doing it in free time or because thier employer allocated time to it.

      A professional (not geek or script kiddie) image is (IMHO) critical to perl and I am afraid that until professionalism is strongly asociated with perl it will always be the last resort.

      A professional section discussing issues relating to the use of perl in a professional environ would be a godsend to changing the perception of perl.

      Even more important would be a more professional image coming from those who represent perl. However I doubt that would ever happen.

      I know this is going to irritate the hell out of a number of perl folks but it is my personal opinion that quite often the perl community is its own worst enemy.

Re: Professional Monks
by tbone1 (Monsignor) on Aug 19, 2002 at 14:24 UTC
    fever++

    One thing I like about this site, having lurked for a while before joining, is that the Meditations allows for this sort of discussion which is related to being a programmer, regardless of language. I've read good advice and good debate there, and this was what finally pushed me over the edge to register. Unfortunately, now y'all are afflicted with my tub-thumping platitudes ...

    However, let us not forget that the main purpose of this site is for Perl monks to gather and discuss Perl. Yes, there is a need for a Meditations-like area, but it should not loom too large in the site's presence. I think that adding another, similar area would be starting on that slippery slope.

    --
    tbone1
    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Re: Professional Monks
by chaoticset (Chaplain) on Aug 21, 2002 at 17:32 UTC
    It almost sounds as if enough interest might exist in this for a whole new site to be founded, a non-denominational coding professionals community, if you will.

    Editors of said site (which I'll refer to here as "Professional Coders" because I make up boring names for things at the drop of a hat) would attempt to prevent said flame wars of language purists and zealots. It could be built on the Everything engine as well, and focus primarily on workplace issues for coders. There'd be no reason code could not show up, in some sort of "Code Review Only" area. Copious links to toolsets/tutorials/etc. for various languages would enhance anybody's useability for any language.

    The problems with this idea being (in order of importance) that I cannot (due to (inexperience|lack of time)) start it, that nobody else would do so at this point in time, and that it might not be a good idea anyway.

    -----------------------
    You are what you think.

      The comments presented here remind me of "The Pragmatic Programmer". TPP is a book about how to program better instead of a language reference.

      I learned a tremendous amount from that book, and I think a section dedicated to passing on knowledge from wiser, more experience programmers to acolytes would be an excellent resource.

      I would prefer to see it under the auspices of the Monastery. The Monastery has a community in place, wise elders and a reputation for intelligent debate. Perhaps "Philosophical Questions" would be the right name for such a section -- questions of workplace ethics, design principals, and tools (all with, of course, a strong Perl focus) could find their way there.

      This seems Pragmatic to me.

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