I think a basic question in these discussions is, who is a member of the community, and how can we be useful to each other.
in reply to Virtues of Community
So, Who is a member of the community? I propose that anybody who is a serious Perl programmer, or has a desire to become a serious Perl programmer, should be considered a full member of the community. That is to say, the person who strolls in, doesn't want to learn Perl, but wants us to help them get a script working... this person is not a member of the community. Their role should really be as an employer of a member of the community, else they don't really have anything to give back.
And that definition of the community embraces both the "expert friendly" sort of Perl, and the Baby Perl. It also makes it a little easier to decide if you should tell the person the wrong way they are asking about, or the right way; of course, if the person is or intends to be a serious Perl programmer, they need both answers! If I don't know both why it sucks and what it looks like, I won't be able to spot it when it creeps in.
And something maybe Larry Wall doesn't know about the native people of parts of Washington State, (potlatch wasn't practiced much in most of the NW, it is northern coastal thing) it is more of a cash economy than the other systems in the region. This is because, when you are given a gift, you then have a very real obligation to give back based on that. So, a lot comes down to exchange rates. It's really not what it looks like at first glance. Certainly it isn't a gift economy. The term "potlatching" is often used to describe fake gifts that are only given in expectation of the return gift. I think it is a bad precedent to say that the producer of a thing should decide who buys it and how many they buy. Far cry from "gift economy." Are humans even capable of producing working examples of ideas like "gift economy?" I suspect it is like socialism... many things, but all of them something other than what it is claiming to be. The only difference I can see between NW "gift" economies and bartering is that in bartering there isn't a decepection about the purpose of the transaction.
Snazzy tagline here