|Syntactic Confectionery Delight|
The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)by Masem (Monsignor)
|on Nov 07, 2001 at 20:14 UTC||Need Help??|
There was chatterbox chatter yesterday commenting on an idea about some summary of PM for those that are busy at various times. That comment got me thinking about a possible project (yeesh, yet another one) that could be useful.
Update If you are interested in this further, please see The PM Weekly Development Mailing List.
The idea is that through some techniques (see below), someone (probably me) could develop a PerlMonks Weekly Newsletter similar to what is done on p5p that simply points out and summarizes some of the more interesting nodes. This letter could be sent to a one-way distribution list, and can also be cataloged on the web. This way, for those that, say, go on vacation, or have a rather busy at work that they can't make time for PM (wha...!?!), they can still keep up to date on some of the key points that are probably worth their while without having to sort through more of the trivial points on the site. While no hard or fixed numbers would be used, at most I'd think maybe 15 to 20 summaries of nodes would be included, with appropriate linkage for easy reading.
That said, the mechanics of chosing which nodes are 'interesting' is the difficult part. Interesting nodes need not be Best Nodes, and typically, I find a large number of nodes that I find interesting lacking on even the daily Best Nodes list. So I don't even want to consider a Best Nodes placement as some indicator. I could judge which nodes are most interesting, but what I find most interesting, others mind find boring, and vice versa, so one person shouldn't have this job alone either.
So the main 'engine' of the PM Weekly is to have a large number, between 15 and 30, sufficiently dedicated readers of PM on a daily basis use a restricted interface to select nodes that they might find interesting; when it's time to compile the newsletter, one'd simply tally the votes and choose the ones with the most votes. Of course, editor's discretion can play a role ("Why is that homework question rated so high??") but assuming the choice of selectors is good, this shouldn't have to be used very often. Just in case, I'd also have a comment field that those selectors can fill out in case the entry might raise eyebrows. Selectors would have no fixed number of votes that they could place, but it would be expected for these people to use reasonable choices. Again, there's no fixed number of summaries that would have to make it to the newsletter, but no less than 10 and no more than 30 seems reasonable.
The newsletter could also contain items that aren't necessarily obvious, such as a new user list, the ascentions of Monks (at least, for ascentions past level 3 or so), and possibly using the PMstats to generate a list of upcoming bdays.
From this backend standpoint, as well as the delievry (mail, web) this sounds like a nice simple project that also allows me to get a bit more into some XML work as well as clean content delievry. It's probably a quick weekend project, but dangit, Civilization III is out... :-)
However, if I build this, and find that only 5 people use the newsletter, I'd be a mite upset. So I'm more tossing these ideas out to help refine them as well as to see if there's an interest. To avoid PM spamming, if you think you *are* interested in recieving this, but have no further comment on the ideas above, just msg me or email me with that. However, additional comments should be posted below.