I said I was offended by the statement, and that it was a joke in poor taste.
I did not say "punch_card_don is terrible". I said "I think this joke is really crappy, and I question his judgement in making it; I think it makes us look really bad to promote this joke to every page, and I really think we should take it down and not defend it so we don't look worse."
Let me make it clear here as I have done elsewhere on this page: No one here is intrinsically bad.
Is this clear? punch_card_don is not a bad person. He made a call to tell a joke that is one that the Ethics Guidelines at most places I've worked at would say was a "come into my office, we need to talk" issue. Still not a bad person.
The people who have been passing out flames and epithets are not bad people. They are behaving in an immature and ill-mannered way, yes - but that is a "do", not an "is". They themselves are not intrinsically bad people. Not making the most grown-up call, but not a bad person.
I let myself show my anger, and I posted some sarcastic and angry words. But I'm not a bad person for doing that. I didn't live up to my own standards, and I apologize to anyone that felt I was unfair to them. I will try very hard not to repeat that, and I will appreciate a reminder if I do repeat it.
Knowing you're not a bad person, however, is not a license to say whatever you like to whoever you want without consequence to your reputation, which is the sum of what your current actions imply about your future ones to others. Your behavior and yourself are separate items, but your behavior and your reputation are tightly bound together. (This may already be self-evident to everyone; the fact that most of the statements that came down to "feminism is bad and you're bad and stupid" came from the Anonymous Monk shows that there's at least an basic realization of this by even those with the poorest impulse control.)
To boil allof this down: None of the actions here were specifically designed to cause harm. I think there have been some very poor judgements made as to whether particular actions were truly harmless and just fun, or not. There were certainly some choices to make deliberately unkind and unsympathetic choices. Whether or not any or all of these damage the reputation of individuals and/or Perlmonks is currently unknowable.
There have been uncaring, hostile, sneering, and incoherent actions, and indulging in those is bad behavior, and a community that wants to grow should be discouraging and disavowing that - but the people involved are in general are not bad people. (Some of the more crazypants stuff I'm not sure about. You should be cautious about letting that anger and meanness become too strong; not being able to resist exploding in anger and meanness can turn you into a bad person. We don't want that to happen to you. Seriously, we really don't.)
"So what can I do to help make Perl an in-demand language so I get the maximum return on my investment?"
Part of that is making sure that every person who even just wanders by feels like the community is tremendously glad to have them, and that we're interested in what they care about, and that we'll help if we can. If there's friction, we won't look away from it or reject it, but say, "There's an issue. We are creative. Let's create a solution that doesn't have to be win/lose."
In reply to Re^4: How many man-hours would you estimate you have invested in learning Perl?