|No such thing as a small change|
first off, please see this node or one like it.
Perl Monks is well known throughout the Internet as a educational, recreational respository for all things Perl. The average user, who previously had no knowledge of Perl can quickly find information about the Perl lifestyle here.
But PerlMonks is not just the starting point for learning Perl. Here we have a brain trust of authors, XPs, and JAPHs. Here we are allowed to speak our minds on topics concerning the Perl community. It is the home of Perl users from all walks of life. I enjoy the ability to ask questions, pose solutions, and joke around with people from England, the Netherlands, Canada, Lebanon, and so on. And what makes it strong is not the work of just one person (no offense, vroom) but the work of all of us that sign in, vote and post regularly.
I see no threat to this way of life. Perl Monks is strong, and I doubt users will be looking for greener pastures anytime soon. However, the quality of this existence can always be increased.
A scenario: Anonymous Monk signs in and makes a post. Sometimes, AM is just a troll, or is very, very confused. But sometimes, like in the post mentioned above, sometimes AM really wants to get something to work. Perhaps AM shows interest in learning Perl. Now of course, the average monk will give advice and help out AM. Along with this advice should be an invitation and a URL. Give them an explicit request to join the ranks.
Anonymous Monk will also submit information that is beneficial to the society. Ask him/her to join as well.
The world of today is changing greatly. Most of the First World nations are adopting a second currency, and it's not the Euro. It's information. We judge a person's worth by the amount of information they produce (as opposed to book knowledge... I believe we value the application of knowledge, not the hording of it) and respect those with the most creative thoughts. This is revolutionary. Class structures from long ago were based on your birth, or the amount of land your family possessed. Even today, you are often judged by your financial standings. This is changing. People from all backgrounds, all cultures, all tax brackets are able to sit down at the same table and share information regardless of nationality, creed, and race. You are judged solely on your practical knowledge, and you are not discriminated if you lack knowledge that others possess. Instead of pushing out those that possess less, they are in fact accepted and praised for their desire to learn. And in educating those without the same knowledge as yourself, you in turn help yourself and the community.
There is an innate desire to learn. The best way to educate is to keep fires stoked. Make them want to come back and learn more. Don't let them stop at downloading something just for fun. Get them to think outside that template. Even if they decide that they have had enough to drink from our pot, they will have contributed to this society and to the pools of general knowledge.
I think I might have gone slightly off my own topic, but I feel strongly about this. My initial reason to sign up was to learn how to make my website fancier. But after reading up on Perl through this site, I've used Perl for many other tasks. Perl Monks has taught me things outside the realm of Perl itself. Monks like Tilly, jcwren, and ovid (among many others) have had incredibly wise words that reach beyond Perl. If I hadn't signed up and chose to remain Anonymous Monk, I'm sure I wouldn't have become enlightened to Perl, and the many social and cultural values this site also has to offer.
John J Reiser