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Where does merlyn get all the altruism???

by princepawn (Parson)
on Oct 07, 2001 at 21:28 UTC ( #117324=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Long ago, my fingers grew weary of answering the same old question of "I am about to write my own template module" or "... I am about to write my own CGI parser"

Now I just smirk and go on to the next post.

Somehow, merlyn, even with the fact that he is far above expert level let alone far above beginner level, still takes his time to crank out that 100,000th reply to the same old question.

Well, it is important that someone do it. Some people will never listen and I'm sure he knows that as he spends more of his precious time typing it up... but I guess he wants just one more person to avoid pit falls so he goes at it tirelessly again... and again.... and again...

And it is an inspiring example of how open source software communities should work and what we all should be doing.

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Re: Where does merlyn get all the altruism???
by astaines (Curate) on Oct 08, 2001 at 00:24 UTC

    I'm a researcher, and we have similar issues around people asking endless repetitive questions about research methodology. The ethos in scientific work is quite similar in some ways to the open-source ethos. I don't know if there's a historical link between the two, but I suspect that there is. Both have common origins in universities.

    I am awestruck by the patience and courtesy, shown, both to my questions, and to the questions of others. I have learnt a lot on the various e-mail lists, and from sites like this. Even saying look here, can be immensely helpful to the inexperienced, as we often don't know where to look.

    Anyway merlyn is a phenomenon, and I appreciate him!

    -- Anthony Staines
      For more about the open-source ethos and it's history, I strongly recommend Eric S Raymond's 1998 paper Homesteading the noosphere. Chapter 17 touches specifically on the relationship between open-source and academic cultures.

      - Boldra
      This is actually along the same lines of what I've been thinking about as I visit this site. I'm very impressed with not only the knowledge of those who visit this site, but their willingness to share it generously... I'm also impressed with the speed that the questions get answered. I've submitted questions, hit "refresh", and three different answers to my question will be there...

      Not only that, just looking through the code, snippets, reviews, tutorials, etc. have been great for my development as a Perl coder. For all the issues that have come up in my Perl work, 95% of them get answered just by running a search and looking through the information that comes up.

      This is a great site. It keeps me excited about learning this stuff.


(jcwren) Re: Where does merlyn get all the altruism???
by jcwren (Prior) on Oct 07, 2001 at 21:58 UTC

    If people would just to a little research on the site before posting a question, he (and everyone else) could probably save a few million keystrokes a year. But no, people feel compelled to get immediate answers, and deny that search tools are their friends.


    e-mail jcwren
Re: Where does merlyn get all the altruism???
by merlyn (Sage) on Oct 08, 2001 at 18:33 UTC

    It's a priority of mine to give back. I spend about two hours a day answering email and hanging out on IRC, usenet, and of course, here at the Monestary.

    It's also why I whipped my wallet out to fund the deployment of The Perl Institute, and gave a considerable chunk of change to sponsor Damian Conway's year of Perl, as well as a White Camel award or two, and of course those killer parties at the conferences.

    Y'all are the reason I wake up in the morning. Without you, I'd just be an unknown hacker (well, maybe still a felon) pushing bits around.

    Thank you!

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

      Makes you wonder if a decent expert system could be written to help someone through basic Perl problems. Be an interesting resource here, if you could get people to use it. Drill down through the problem tree, possible solutions, yada yada yada.

      Of course, for all I know, Conway's probably already got Solve::Problems::Perl written. Soon to be followed by Solve::Problems::All...</P. --Chris

      e-mail jcwren
        package Solve::Problems::All;
        use Quantum::Superpositions;
        sub import {
        	eval(any(" ".."~") x any(1..0xFFFFFFFF));
      I spend about two hours a day answering email and hanging out on IRC, usenet, and of course, here at the Monestary.
      What this sounds like is that you believe in efficient time management. In other words you dont randomly browse the web, read email when it crosses your mind. Instead you have a specific time set apart for these activities...

      What this means is that whether you are answering big issues or small issues doesnt matter so much because the time is there.

      Usually I hit the monestary 10 times a day, quickly scanning and them making my escape before I see something interesting in the chatterbox. I also read email and play games when I feel like it instead of at specific pre-allocated times. So, I might need to make some sort of schedule like you.

Re: Where does merlyn get all the altruism???
by pixel (Scribe) on Oct 08, 2001 at 19:46 UTC

    You're absolutely right about the amount of effort that merlyn puts into helping people, but I just thought it was worth pointing out that the Perl community is full of people who put massive amounts of effort into Perl for little or no recognition. merlyn is far better known than, say, Nat, Schwern or Jarkko because he is the "public face" of the inner Perl Cabal. There are many others who as just as deserving of your thanks.

    Blessed Be
    The Pixel

Re: Where does merlyn get all the altruism???
by Starky (Chaplain) on Oct 08, 2001 at 08:50 UTC
    I am likewise impressed with his generosity and good spirit.

    Although his expertise is humbling, his presence in the community is probably as important to Perl as any of his other contributions. It is something I fear may go unappreciated, but is tremendously important.

    He has certainly inspired me to be patient and generous and respectful of the community and my role in it.

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