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A little while ago, I started a very small discussion about the Code Catacombs. I was attempting to make a point about organisation, but either expressed it badly, or nobody cared :) So I'm going to stick my neck out now (rather than waiting 'till next year as promised) and expand it all the way.

The more I look at *all* of the bits of code in the Monastery, the more frustrated my innner librarian becomes. This place is second only to CPAN as a resource for perlies, but it's such hard work finding what you need! Sorting the bits you need from the mass of code fragments lying around here takes a *lot* of Super Searching and reading.

I'm sure even experienced monks have difficulty deciding whether something is a small enough for a Snippet, cool enough for a CUFP, crafty enough for Craft or should just be plonked in the Code Catacombs. Even Where Do I Post X? is slightly confused on this - there is no mention of CUFP other than in a 2-year old reply suggesting it should be added (and for some reason, error with CGI program: Can't locate object method "connect" via package "DBI" is appearing as a child node - looks like a misplaced SOPW) - and it seems to me that the difference between Craft and the other two is simply based on the history of <code> tags.

The problem is that these are 'primary' categories. If you're trying the 'drill-down' approach to searching the Monastery for code, you have 4 main categories (cluttering, if I may say so, the main menu) to start off from, none of which are really intuitive or descriptive.

What's more, sections have different display and categorisation methods. Craft and CUFP are simply listed like question nodes, with no indexing, Code is categorised (but seems to involve editors manually placing code into categories as and when), and have additional desciption fields, while Snippets (which also have descriptions) are simply listed by title, along with a however-many-year old message about "When it gets to be more than one page, we'll categorise them" :) There's a brave attempt by grinder to index these, but that's not much use unless the snippets can be categorised by more than just name and title.

Add to this the amount of duplication and updating, and one realises why the some of the same questions get asked over and over, rather than the petitioner being able to simply find something that fits their needs. Many initial pieces of code, for instance, have been turned into CPAN modules - what remains in the Monastery may be historically important, but potentially confusing to somebody that finds the resource here first, especially if there's been a namespace change etc. and the original author hasn't updated the node or replaced with a 'Moved to CPAN' message.

Soooo.....I'm proposing a shake-up. One section to rule them all, one section to find them. Code Catacombs is already the most 'organised' of the lot, with descriptions, categories etc., so I suggest that *all* code should go in there. Posters of CUFP's and Craft generally stick a small description at the top of the code anyway, so there'd be no extra work involved in posting other than self-categorisation, and any of the editors (that have been freed of the responsibility of maintaining four different code sections) can suggest / amend this.

If it were felt that the 'previous' categorisations were important, they could be added to the description as an extra field ("Is this a snippet, CUFP or craft?"), but I think those categories would soon become redundant. They could maybe be added as Code sub-categories for now as somewhere to place the existing sections. Hopefully, with enough volunteers (see below), this 'backlog' could get cleared.

I also think that some resource needs then to be devoted to the organisation of the Catacombs. I won't repeat my previous ramblings, but they still apply. (OK - maybe not the thing about rep., but there should be *some* 'quality control' somewhere - even if only as a recommendation). Having a DMOZ approach, with lots of editors classifying and (dare I say) rating (after input from the monastery in the form of rep...{g}) would be very handy indeed.

If this were done, the Monastery would become more useful, useable and used place. I know it's a major job, and so I'm hereby volunteering myself (to whom, btw? editors? pmdev? gods? I get very confused...) to help with this particular Aegean Stable, and would urge others to do the same. Maybe if enough volunteered, we could have the job done by Christmas - a nice present to the Perl community.

I think my $0.02 have been well-and-truly spent now :)

Cheers, Ben.

<Readmore> and slight edit per author - dvergin 2003-06-16


In reply to One Section to rule them all. by benn

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