|No such thing as a small change|
Reading RFC: Review of "Seekers of Perl Wisdom" description? is pretty disheartening. BrowserUK comments early on:
This place has historically been more tolerant of beginners and their questions . . .But sadly, I believe that that sense of academia has given way to elitism. It's an aspect that I am sure has always been here in some form, as BrowserUK's mention of Don't go all PerlMonks on me shows, but in the past there was a much better balance between the two (as that post also shows). The problem is illustrated by ww in 964030 when he writes:
If you want to master an avocation, you study the masters... at their sufferance; if you want to succeed at a game, you learn the rules; and if you want to post a question here that's not a reflection of your laziness, read the PerlMonks FAQ.
All of this led to some reminiscing, and I eventually found myself comparing two of my posts: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!! from 2007 and "They've got a cave troll!" from 2011. And I couldn't help but notice the change in tone here at PerlMonks. The sense of humor and the sense of caring about others has faded. And there is no perrin with a link to a great post like that one from Slashdot or someone else posting something similar. And sadly, we see a taste of the future in the first thread when chromatic refers to a long conversation with a troll as "an experiment [that] was well worth my time."
I miss the days when Ovid was an active participant; when blazar was still with us. Or even more recent times, when ELISHEVA was active. Instead, today, I feel that a shadow is being cast over the levity and the helpfulness. Monks in the trenches treat guidelines as rules and regularly use them to browbeat new members. It's more common; we're becoming used to it. Even JavaFan seems more abrasive, not because he is, but because there are fewer Monks that balance him out. And on the leadership front, prominent Monks spent several months overlooking/ignoring/rationalizing away the behavior of a troll, inflicting considerable harm to PerlMonks as a whole. Maybe even irreparable harm?? I would not have thought that possible, but now I am not so sure.
Things weren't always perfect "back in the day", but at least the off-putting behavior was balanced with the spirit of helping others and a more laid back feel to the site. And back then the essence of what PerlMonks was supposed to be still flowed through the halls of the monastery. Today the infamous paco thread feels more like a reminder of better days; of something lost.
BrowserUK also had this to say:
If this place is to move to a stance where you are the arbiter of what is an interesting or legitimate question -- where RTFM or LetMeGoogleThatForYou is the norm -- then this place becomes just like all those other places, and ceases to serve any purpose.Perhaps I'm just weary from life and work, but it feels like we have begun to head down that path.
Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks