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making reference, please

by perlcapt (Pilgrim)
on Oct 19, 2004 at 00:11 UTC ( #400351=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Please, when making reference to algorithms, papers, pundits, and the like, make URL reference that those of us that neither academics, nor pundits ourselves can follow to understand. (The alternative, of course, would be for you to give full footnotes explaining your citation.) We are pretty good at making references to other nodes (easy to do) and to the monks among us. It is a fair bit of effort to add these other references, particularly if we have to do a little research, but if we truely want to share our wisdom, we must give some stepping stones for seekers of wisdon to cross the stream of ignorance. -ben


There has been criticism that I have not used any refeneces myself. First and perhaps the most obvious is to a URL. The next obvious omission is to examples of where I would expect to see references:

  • 400121 Makes references to Standard ML and Haskell (Scheme is pretty well known)
  • oops. I can't find the nodes that I thought were academic (rather than practical) and without reference to their citations.

I'd be glad to remove this node if anyone finds it offensive. -ben

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: making reference, please
by gaal (Parson) on Oct 19, 2004 at 06:28 UTC
    No, you are perfectly correct. People should make references. The easiest way to make a reference in Perl is to use a backslash, like this:


    However, sometimes there are plenty of resources you want to refer to, but you don't know who authored them! That is the time for an anonymous array constructor.

    [ Whenever, Shakespeare, Oroogu ]
    (Note how efficient Perl is: you only have one reference, even though it points at three different things.)

    If what you're talking about is so seriously demented that you suspect the person who made it was not quite sober, you may use a hash reference, which also permits some explanation about what's so insane about it.

    { Beatnik => Interestingly bound to English Homespring => Promotes (bad) poetry ZT => Two dimensional }

    (Sorry, couldn't resist! :)

Re: making reference, please
by Happy-the-monk (Abbot) on Oct 19, 2004 at 11:00 UTC

    perlcapt, whenever you feel you don't understand a reference some monk is making,
    best you ask that monk in the Chatterbox to clarify.

    The monk will then usually come back to his node and update it and/or message (/msg ...) you about the clarification.
    Allow a couple of hours or even days for that to happen (time zones, work schedules/pressure, holidays...).

    If you really need a faster answer, still do message the author, also wait a little, and if you think you've waited a bit, write a comment on his node.
    Now you might get answers from other monks too.

    Cheers, Sören

      Good advice, thanks I was reacting more to my personal frustration at trying to keep up. (I.e., more my feelings than the situation.) I appreciate the comments. And, BTW, the humor of refences to lists and hashes ;-) Glad to be here, but often feel overwhelmed by some of the content.
Re: making reference, please
by ihb (Deacon) on Oct 19, 2004 at 21:29 UTC

    ++ for highlighting an important issue. Providing useful information is never wrong and we often forget to reference beyond perldoc and Perl Monks. If monks feel they have the time and energy this is certainly a good thing to practice - not only for academic but for practical nodes as well.

    Your node has resulted in at least two concrete thing for me. I shall try to make it a habit to end responses with a list of the (most) relevant perldocs related to the OP and my post, just as I do when documenting modules in the SEE ALSO section. If someone has a question about references, I'll include links to perldoc material about references. Also, I've put perltoc in my signature so people know where to look for the relevant Perl documentation themselves.


    See perltoc if you don't know which perldoc to read!
    Read argumentation in its context!

Re: making reference, please
by stvn (Monsignor) on Oct 19, 2004 at 15:55 UTC

    I feel I should respond since I seem to be the monk you are taking about (at least I am the author of 400121 which you site in your list of examples).

    To start with, I take issue that Standard ML and Haskell are not well known.

    Haskell has been discussed many times recently in the monastary thanks to FoxTrotUniform, his node RFC: A Perlesque Introduction to Haskell, Part One (DRAFT) would be an excellent place to start if you were interested. Also a quick Super Search for 'Haskell" produced a long list of nodes you might find interesting.

    As for Standard ML, it is surely not discussed as much as Haskell is here, but it is not unknown in the perl community. You might be interested in Dominus's article on Strong Typing and Perl which has some interesting information on Standard ML around about slide 14.

    And of course, there is always Google. I get 1,400,000 results for Haskell and 3,490,000 for Standard ML.

    As for the heart of your complaint...

    While I understand it might be frustrating to hear reference to something and not see it backed up by URLs or papers, you must understand that it is not always so simple to "just provide a URL".

    I am not an academic, and I have a full time job, as well as a wife and 3 kids (2 year old twins among them) and precious little spare time. I have spent the past 7 or so years teaching myself computer science (I majored in Art in college) and have read A LOT of books/sites/papers in that quest for knowledge. And to be honest I just dont have time to keep track of URLs for everything I read in case I need to site it.

    I did my best to actually answer your questions in 400138 with a more detailed explaination of what I was talking about. And a simple google search of some of the terms I mention ("Tail Recursion" and "Tail Call Optimization" would be a good place to start) would provide you even more info if you were interested.

    In the end, I agree with Happy-the-monk's advice, and just ask the particular monk next time for more clarification. If you don't get a response, then there is always google, but keep in mind that we all have other things to do as well.

Re: making reference, please
by SpanishInquisition (Pilgrim) on Oct 19, 2004 at 17:31 UTC
    As a sidenote, while functional programming may "feel" academic, that may only be so that it only feels so because it is both (1) insanely cool and (2) not used enough in industry. Open discussion of FP techniques, whether in Haskell, OCaml, Lisp, or even Perl (or Ruby) is a Good Thing, as it lets more people see the wonder that lurks there -- and away from "everything is OO" mantra that is starting to make programming exceedingly boring.

    There may be a lot of academics intersted in this sort of thing, but it's not just academic ... and it's definitely practical. In fact, it (functional programming and hybrid-functional programming) is incredibly powerful for development.

    But yes, references are always good. I can Google for some stuff but it's always nice to read shiny examples others have written, especially when it's not your programming language of choice and you want to be exposed to it.

      I wouldnt be surprised to discover that the widest used functional programming language in industry is Perl. If you want perl to be fast then functional programming is the way to go. If you want perl to have prety interfaces and dont care about speed then use OO. If you just want to have fun then mix and match as you like. :-)


        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
        -- Gandhi


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