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I noticed over the last week that many of the nodes posted to Perl Monks Discussions got considered for "move to Meditations". The resulting votes were rather evenly split. Some nodes may have gotten moved w/o consideration.

Many times I've objected to nodes discussing the web site being moved to Meditations and the usual motivation I hear for this is that many consider PMD to be only used for feature requests or discussions of features or the technical working of PM.

I'm well convinced that this should not be the case but also realize that quite a few don't agree with me. So I've put forth my position and listened to responses and noted how moderation has happened around this issue.

I've spent enough time watching and considering and I now think it is time to address the issue more directly and visibly.


I think it is a mistake to try to distinguish discussions of the technical functioning of the site from discussions of the social functioning of the site. I find this distinction to be less clear than my preferred line for PMD, "Is it (primarilly) about the site or not?".

The technical and the social aspects of the site are closely related and should be discussed together. The technical issues are often driven or should be driven by social issues and the social issues are often driven by technical issues. Certainly, any discussion of either one should take into consideration the other.

Also, the social aspects of the site fit more closely with the definition of PMD than the more catch-all Meditations.

How I sort nodes into sections is:

  1. Is it (primarilly) about the site? If so, it goes in PMD.
  2. Is it (mostly) asking a question? If so, it goes in SoPW (especially if it is a Perl question).
  3. Is it (mostly) an announcement or sharing an external link? If so, it goes in Perl News.
  4. Is it (mostly) sharing insights? If so, it goes in Meditations.
  5. Is it (mostly) sharing code? If so, it goes in one of the too-many code-sharing sections which don't include Craft which just doesn't work very well.
where that order is important because a "Perl question" about the site goes in PMD not SoPW.

To be explicit, let's look at recent postings in the two sections (Meditiations and PMD) and I'll point out the border cases.

First, there is this node which I think is a perfect example of how fuzzy the distinction I don't like can be. Am I talking about technical features of the site (the moderation system) or am I talking about social aspects of the site? I think I'm talking mostly about social aspects (how do people feel, what actions do people take), but I think few would think I'm posting this to the wrong section.

Next is Religion in the Monastery. which got moved to Meditations and helped to prompt this node. If you think only technical stuff belongs in PMD, then this one doesn't. I wanted it in PMD in no small part because it mentions "Monastery" in the title and discusses aspects of the site and I think it fits well there. Considering further, I could see it being in Meditations since it can be seen as being more about the larger Perl community and individual thoughts on the relation between coding and religion. But I find the first decision much simpler and so prefer to go for the starker division of "to a large extent, is about the Monastery" even though the more vague "feeling" of the node might better fit Meditations. But I no longer have a strong preference between the two.

Next I see Python Monks?. I'd put that in SoPW. It does mention the site (which most root nodes actually don't do), so I don't mind too much it being in PMD, which is perhaps why it didn't get moved from where I think it was originally posted.

[OT] Anyone Heard from Tilly next. I find it only somewhat related to the site. It is mostly asking a question but it certainly isn't a Perl question. It isn't really sharing an insight. So it doesn't fit perfectly in any section. So in the end I think it is asking (to a large extent) about the relationship between tilly and the site. Also, tilly (and now his absense) has nearly become a feature of the site anyway. ;) So I think PMD is a good place for it.

What technique does perlmonsk use to prevent double voting? is asking a Perl question but is about the site. So, if you think BUU was primarilly wanting to know about how to accomplish that task, then you'd probably want to see it in SoPW. If you think BUU was more interested in specifically how PM does it, then PMD would probably seem appropriate. I choose to solve this dilemma by not trying to guess BUU's intent (which can be very difficult) and use the general rule of "about the site" comes before "Perl question" when making these decisions. I do this because I think vague lines cause problems (so I have to make the choice one way or the other, not on a case-by-case basis) and because there are very few "Perl questions about the site" posted and so I'd rather not have site questions lost in SoPW.

Laziness, Lizards and Monks is about more than just PM. It is mostly sharing code. But it isn't Perl code, so I could see people not going to one of the code sharing sections in order to find it. I think the latter disqualification is more severe than the former so PMD makes sense to me.

Looking in Meditations, the first I see is On JAPHs Redux. It is a call for a new section of the site! I think that falls into PMD even if you think only discussions of technical features should be there. I noted it was considered and, when I checked, the voting was evenly split. I didn't get to see how the voting progressed after that. If that is a Meditation, then why have a PMD section at all? Is it a meditation because the discussion of whether or not to have a new section covered some "meditative" subjects? It somehow "feels" more "meditative" than "discussion-like"? (I'm just guessing, of course.) Such fuzzy, vague reasons just make deciding which section to put something into way too hard to agree upon. I rather this be moved back to PMD.

I'd also like to note that the important part of the title "Perl Monks Discussions" is "Perl Monks" (or "PerlMonks", to make it clear that it is meant to indicate the site) not "discussions". The section titles are a compromise between accuracy and asthetics.

To me, Monks attending YAPC::EU 2003 is more about several members than about the site. So Meditations seems fine (it being rather a catch-all section), and it is primarilly sharing non-code. (:

How do you conserve votes? is completely about the site and I think it belongs in PMD (and should be moved back). It also isn't sharing insights. It is asking a question but not about Perl. I think it is a great example of why such things should be in PMD.

And Perl Monks += TMTOWTDI is a perfect exception. It is a perfect example of a Meditation (sharing insights). Yet it is, to a large part, about the site. Besides the former match being so perfect, I find that the final 3 questions make it less about PM, so I think Meditations is best.


So, after all of that, I'd like to propose that whether or not PMD should include social or other non-technical site-related discussions be made clear.

I'd like to update

the paragraph at Perl Monks Discussion to say something like "This area is for discussions relating to this web site, including site features, operations, and social dynamics. [...]".

I'd like to update Where should I post X? to list the sections I've listed above first and in the order I listed them. I'd like to add "including social aspects of the site" to the PMD hints. I'd like to add to Perl News hints "Links to external announcements/articles that you find especially interesting/relevant (please use Super Search to avoid duplicate announcements)".

                - tye

In reply to Are "PM Discussions" only to be technical? by tye

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