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Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?

by benizi (Hermit)
on Aug 08, 2003 at 22:10 UTC ( #282326=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This morning, I was having a Windows XP problem, and the first thought that popped into my mind was, "Oh, I'll just post it to Perl Monks," followed quickly by, "That'd be really off-topic."

So, my question to you dear monks is:

When you have questions about topics other than Perl, where do you go for answers?

As I see it, the best features of PM are:

  • Easy access to newcomers, while still providing extraordinarily good advice for non-newbies
  • An extremely active user base (fast responses, and breadth of knowledge)
  • Good site layout (more-interesting/generally-useful stuff gets front-paged. more obscure stuff gets Super Searched)

Are there any user-supported sites like PM for, say, Linux hardware issues? or databases? or even non-programming topics, like legal advice?

  • Comment on Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?

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Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by mpd (Monk) on Aug 09, 2003 at 00:15 UTC

    First I check Google. If there's no luck there, mailing list or usenet archives are usually the next step. I find the level of technical skill to be higher in mail and news for the type of info I see. Beyond that, I suppose there is IRC.

    As for finding a place with a community that is as active, knowledgeable, and centralized as PM, heh, good luck. The monastery seems to be a rare breed.

    Java Monks is one site I have found that is attempting to emulate the monastery, but seems to be having mixed results.

Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by Kanji (Parson) on Aug 09, 2003 at 04:15 UTC
Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Aug 09, 2003 at 12:44 UTC
    By all means, the manual pages rank first. And this includes any Perl problem. Second is any documentation coming with the product, be them files or dead trees. Third would be Usenet, mailinglists, search-engines and books; it'll depend on the problem which ones to try. And ranked somewhere in between is interaction with real people, be it in real life, a MUD or on IRC. As a last resort, I'd actually formulate a question and post it on usenet, a mailinglist or a webboard (a webboard would always be last). But that seldomly happens.


Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by rir (Vicar) on Aug 09, 2003 at 00:50 UTC
    This is not an answer to the letter of your question. I sympathize with you. I rarely need to know things about Microsoft OSes and when I do have no clue where to go for help. In the future I will probably, if the nature of the problem seems to suit, try the Chatterbox here.

    The Debian mailing lists are useful if your linux is Debian.

    There is a knowedgable old guard still following some of the comp.* groups. If you can learn programs like trn or tin newsgroups aren't bad, I haven't found a GUI newsreader that lets me go through a voluminous group as easily as trn.

Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by logan (Curate) on Aug 11, 2003 at 19:39 UTC
    I posted a similar question a while back: OT: Is there a While I appreciate the answers I got, the results were unsatisfactory. There isn't a, but there should be. There should also be a, but there isn't. Let's start with the problems involved in cloning the Monastary.
    • Size. There are far more unix users than perl coders, and vastly more Windows users. One thing that's kept perlmonks friendly is that it's small. There's a real small-town feel to the place that helps keep things civil. A site with a wider scope would lose that. Consider how hard it is to follow a single thread on Slashdot. With 1000+ comments, it's a daunting task. Expect more Anonymous Idiots.
    • Time. I don't know how much time Vroom puts into administration on a daily basis, but you can be sure that it's significant. Now expand that task tenfold.
    • Money. More users = more bandwidth, more storage space, more memory, more servers = more money. Again, I don't know what it costs vroom out of pocket to keep us running, but you can be sure he shelled out a lot that first year.
    • Growth/Evolution. Perlmonks didn't spring fully-formed from vroom's rib. It grew over time, evolving its own quirks and culture. I can't think of a better example than Stumbit. While you can guide the growth of a web community, you can't control everything. We have a happy accident here, and if vroom knows exactly how he did it, he should write a book and hit the lecture circuit.
    • Lawyers. Call me paranoid, but the vultures and the weasles are circling. Windows is a trademark of Microsoft, and they're deeply protective of it. They sued Lindows claiming that they even own the non-word "indows". Anyone making extensive use of the Windows trademark would be well advised to get a lawyer sooner rather than later. Now, Sun, SGI, and Red Hat are far less litigious than the Borg, but the point remains.
    All that said, it's a good idea. There should be a Unixmonks, a Windowsmonks, and a Macmonks. The thing to remember is that the best web communities (and I'm totally biased here) are based around a singular vision. Plastic and Perlmonks are both run by one guy. Slashdot was only two guys in the beginning. Unless someone wants to take on the daunting task of building * by their lonesome, I just don't see it happening. That said, if someone does throw their hat over the wall and start, say,, I'm in. I'll even kick in $20 or a used hard drive or something.

    So, we're all decent coders, and some of us are first-rate administrators. Clearly, we also have free time. Is this something people want to pursue? Seems to me that if 100 monks each kicked in $100 and 10 hours a week, we could have a server up and running in a month or two, AND have a stake to cover bandwidth for the first year or so. Whaddaya think, my brothers? You wanna put on a show?

    "What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."

      I would be willing to put in some non-financial help with a "*nixmonks", but I think we need more than two people to even get such a task off the ground.
      rozallin j. thompson
      The Webmistress who doesn't hesitate to use strict;
        I think we need more than two people to even get such a task off the ground

        Granted, especially as I have a job and can't devote myself full-time. However, 5 people with complimentary skills should be enough. Let's make a list:

        • Software: Free. We use Linux, Mysql, Apache, and either Slashcode or Everything. I couldn't pick between them anymore than I could compare and contrast Linux and BSD, but I'm sure there's a flamewar about it raging somewhere.
        • Hardware: Luckily, I live in Silicon Valley, where hardware is cheap. Call it a 2.0 ghz Pentium with 2 gigs of RAM and 100 gigs of storage. I dunno...$600? And being as the actual purchase of hardware would come at the end of the dev cycle, it can be delayed for a long time.
        • Access: The box itself would have to be colocated somewhere. I did a little research a while back, and this can be expensive. In Silicon Valley, $200 a month is about average. It would be cheaper to store it someplace else, but that could mean a long drive to do maintainance.
        • Skills: We need a admin who knows enough about security to run a site that's going to be a target for hackers, but can be on-call 24/7 if something goes wrong. That's a tall order for a site that doesn't generate any money. We need a few developers, preferably with some experience with the engine we're using. Also, someone should have an eye for design and usability. Again, they need to have the time to dedicate to the project.
        I'm thinking 3-5 people, dependent on the amount of time they can dedicate. I'll even get the ball rolling by offering up my personal linux box as a group dev machine (Roz, you'll freak over my mp3 collection). Anybody else?

        "What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."

        I might be willing to host such a beast at, but I would need to see some bandwidth usage stats from a site like PerlMonks. Any ideas? Because, if it was going to use more than couple hundred gigs a month, I'd need some contributions to pay for that. Also I would only want to host it if it was focused on helping *nix professionals and serious hobbyists, and not just "I downloaded linux and how do I install IE".

        PerlMonks has gone through that rather successfully, I think. There seems to be more real questions and less "hold my hand" requests. Or maybe they just bother me less, I'm not entirely certain.

        I could also deal with whatever sysadmin/security issues come up, regardless of the hosting. Network security is fun.

        Snazzy tagline here
Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl? (Java, Cisco, Perl, etc.)
by ybiC (Prior) on Aug 11, 2003 at 12:32 UTC
Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by Courage (Parson) on Aug 09, 2003 at 15:53 UTC
    Very similar to perlmonks is, but it is not very crowded, and not very useful because of this.

    Also, because of fact that many people want a service similar to PM for non-perl questions, from time to time people ask to create "offtopic section" or something similar here, but this never accepted.

    Courage, the Cowardly Dog

      The fact that the JavaJunkies-site is "running on Perl" speaks for itself! ;-)


      "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler." - Conway's Law

Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by artist (Parson) on Aug 09, 2003 at 04:05 UTC
    If we list our needs, we collectively can make good list of 'community' links which are 'close' to perlmonks.

    Culture we have developed here is very important for a community. We can join other communities and exchange the cultural aspects to have the best of both the worlds.


Re: Sites similar to Perl Monks, but not about Perl?
by husker (Chaplain) on Aug 12, 2003 at 20:24 UTC
    I use the Ars Openforum area at Ars Technica. Plenty of help available there. It's mainly aimed at PC enthusiasts, but there are topic areas for all types.

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