This is a post that has been rumbling around in my mind for quite some time now in various forms. But a few recent posts and threads have made me believe that now is the time that I should write it.
I'm a regular contributor here. Have been for a few years now. In that time I've learned a lot and hung out a lot in CB with some of the more influential of the members here. I've seen how they react to provocation and I've seen how they act in general. In fact I've been in a position to see them in ways that probably most don't, as I've been one of the more active members of pmdev for most of that time. And on a programming level I can be an extremely hasty and pushy guy. I pester the gods about my patches. I've gotten upset and said things i thought better of afterwards. Being a pmdever with ambitions and intentions can be very frustrating because you don't have the rights to carry out your plans alone. The code must be reviewed by the gods before they can be applied. And the gods have lives of their own, and live all over the world so its unusual for them to be on anything like the same time schedule as the humble pmdever who posted the patches.
Anyway, the point is that in fact the gods do an awful lot of behind the scenes work here. They play a vital role in the community that is Perlmonks and I think its important that they get some recognition. I also think its important that people understand some of the stuff that they do, and don't do.
Take my case: Were I one of the gods I probably would have made /me a god already. Just so that I didn't have to deal with the patches I produce (I can be quite prolific at times) and the pestering that comes along with them. But the gods haven't done this. Why? Well perhaps its because they don't trust me. I don't think so, but maybe. I think the real reason is that they feel the responsibility of the role very heavily. They just don't grant people those kind of rights easily. And once they do, they have high standards about how you use those rights. Being a god means you can delve through peoples private messages, mess with their user settings, nuke nodes or worse arbitrarily change them without much or any record of the changes. Etc. They take these rights very seriously indeed. They don't abuse the data they have access to, they don't borg people just for fun (well OK, maybe once or twice they did it to me, but possibly I deserved it ;-). In short they don't abuse their powers despite quite serious provocation.
The next time you wonder about the probity of the gods take it from me: a more honest and groovy bunch you wont find elsewhere. They don't do anything that they do hastily (much to my own personal frustration at times) and they don't abuse their powers. No god is ever going to alter a node you wrote to put words in your mouth. No god is going to compromise your anonymity to anybody without a warrant. No god is going to allow your private data to just willy nilly wander off into the ether. There was some work done recently by pmdev that involved potential data protection issues. The gods were extremely active in ensuring that all personal data was scrubbed, deleted or otherwise munged into anonymity before any non gods got their hands on it.
What the gods are likely to do however is a bunch of tedious and thankless chores that are required to keep this place running smoothly. The fact that the site is the success it is is testimony to their efforts and devotion. Respect them for it, and don't rush to assumptions about the worst. I promise you that they don't use their (extensive) powers without good basis.
From an occasionally very pushy and bolshy monk I would like to say a deep thanks to our faithful gods. tye, petruchio, theorbtwo, vroom and the other less active gods deserve your thanks. They sure as hell have mine.
Oh yeah, if you have any thanks left after all that you should throw it by way of our janitors, SiteDocClan, and pmdevers and the whole host of busy monks who also contribute a lot of effort and time to keeping the place running, maintained, and a pleasure to hang out in. There's actually a lot more of them than it seems.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.