I'm mostly here a) for the content and the wealth of knowledge the people who use this site have and b) to try and help others using Perl when their problem is in an area I feel comfortable to help with. I've been using Perl Monks since 2005.
The Perl Monks site does look a bit "old fashioned" but that does not put me off using it and I don't believe anyone is holding it up as an example of why Perl is good. I am a programmer and not a graphic artist and in general aesthetics don't interest me much.
A few things which do put me off this site (although not enough to stop coming here and none of them are meant as criticism) in no particular order (and there may be solutions I don't know about for some of them) are
- This thread demonstrates something which makes Perl Monks a little annoying to use and that is when the comment level indentation gets too deep you end up with only a few words per line
- When someone posts without code tags it often destroys the page layout and I end up scrolling right for miles just to find the login box. A minor glitch but still a little annoying.
- I see a severe error in the Chatterbox once or twice a week and a similar number of times when I click on a node it takes ages before just displaying http://www.perlmonks.org/? with no content.
- The default Chatterbox is difficult to use, slow and you can only see a few words you type at a time. I know there are other chatterbox clients and even an irc channel but I'd be more likely to take part in the chatterbox if the default one on the site was more usable.
- Nodes aren't always that easy to read or follow due to the way they are laid out. I find the nodes on stackoverflow easier on the eye and easier to read and follow.
- The site is often slow (not always) but often enough that I click on a node link wait 10 seconds or so and when the page has not displayed I move on to do something else and come back to it later.
- UPDATE I also find ordering newest nodes by date annoying and wish they could be grouped by parent node as it would take me far less time to scan the nodes I am interested in.
None of this is meant as criticism, it is just my observations. I would not object if someone had the time, ability and inclination to "jazz" it up a bit but that would make little difference to me and I doubt the way Perl Monks looks puts people off Perl or Perl Monks. If changes were made I suspect most people who have stayed around here any length of time would be most worried about losing functionality.
However, I know the speed of the site does put people off as I know some people who've said to me they can't believe I still hang out here as it is so slow. If rejigging the site to make it look nicer/different slowed it down further that may be the final nail in the coffin for me.
The big sell for this site is the content and the knowledge of the people who hang out here. If the content was a little easier on the eye and easier to read/follow without slowing it down that would be an improvement I'd greatly appreciate. I appreciate the efforts of all those people who have worked and continue to work on Perl Monks as this is still a great site but a few small lessons learnt from other successful newer sites like this could make it a whole lot nicer to visit in my opinion.
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