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A PerlMonks mentoring list

by dragonchild (Archbishop)
on Oct 14, 2003 at 14:09 UTC ( #299112=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Update: It appears that the consensus of those I was hoping would be part of this list is that the list is a "Bad Idea"(tm). I therefore withdraw the idea. Downvote this node, if you like, but please note that I now would not support this idea. It, like so many other ideas, looked good on paper. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Now, I know that this topic was discussed a few years back, but I also know nothing came of it. So, I'd like to propose the following system:

  1. (Where "monk" appears below, that means any member of PM of level 2 or higher.)
  2. For a monk to become a mentor, that monk must be nominated by one monk and seconded by another.
  3. The nomination will be for a specific field of expertise. Some example fields of expertise (with an example monk I would nominate in that category):
  4. That monk is now available to be voted on. Once that monk receives five other votes, then that monk is offered the opportunity to become a mentor.
  5. That monk must then accept. (This is because some monks may not want their name advertised as an expert in some field.)
  6. This list would be maintained in PM. The page would be accessible from the following places:
    • The links section
    • Q & A
    • SOPW
  7. The list of categories would be relatively static. Anyone can propose a change to the categories and the change would occur by popular acclamation.
  8. The voting could either be something built within PM or by /msg to a group of volunteers. I, of course, volunteer for this duty. (I'm not going to talk without being willing to walk.)
  9. At any time, a monk can choose to remove themselves from any mentoring list.
  10. At any time, a monk can be recalled. The recall process is identical to the process of making a monk into a mentor.

I would propose the initial list of categories to be:

  • Basic Perl (This is the list of really really patient people who don't mind repeating themselves.)
  • CGI / Web development
  • Secure programming
  • DBI / Data storage
  • Unix administration
  • Windows development
  • Windows administration
  • Other OSes (Mac, VMS, etc)
  • Basic Regular Expressions
  • Advanced Regular Expressions
  • Tk / Other GUI programs
  • Module experts (For example, mpeppler would be the Sybase::* expert.)
  • Algorithms in Perl
  • OO programming
  • Functional programming / other styles

------
We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

The idea is a little like C++ templates, except not quite so brain-meltingly complicated. -- TheDamian, Exegesis 6

... strings and arrays will suffice. As they are easily available as native data types in any sane language, ... - blokhead, speaking on evolutionary algorithms

Please remember that I'm crufty and crochety. All opinions are purely mine and all code is untested, unless otherwise specified.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by tilly (Archbishop) on Oct 14, 2003 at 14:42 UTC
    The amount of energy that I have to devote to perlmonks is highly variable, and therefore I wouldn't want my name listed as an official resource for an entire subject area. Also I suspect that mentoring works best when the mentor and mentee have an established relationship rather than switching with every subject area. (Mentoring in my eyes is distinct from teaching...)

    Others may have similar concerns.

    Additionally I don't think that popular voting by perlmonks people is a good way to establish expertise. For instance I am often thought to be good at "functional programming". In fact I happened to post some influential articles while integrating together my understanding of how to program using closures. Accidentally I did use some functional techniques, but that was an accident since I didn't know what functional programming was. Furthermore in making up a name for what I was doing I accidentally caused many Perl people to define functional programming somewhat differently than it is understood by the broader programming world.

    My "expertise" would not, for instance, be sufficient to be of much assistance to someone who was trying to translate an example program from Haskell into Perl.

Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by simon.proctor (Vicar) on Oct 14, 2003 at 15:10 UTC
    I don't see this personally.

    We have a community where anyone is free to post questions and answers and even offer answers on the basis of furthering their own knowledge (ie I would have said this . . . do you agree?).

    If you had this then you would be placing a burden on those mentors to :
    a) Not be human and make mistakes
    b) Not come as often because of all the private messages and direct questions.

    In addition, I feel that some people would be disinclined to offer their own responses as the original poster could easily ignore everyones answers apart from the mentors. Even waiting for the mentor to answer when a perfectly usable answer has already been provided.

    Of course, this is just my opinion and so please take it with a pinch of your favourite condiment ;).

    SP
Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by pg (Canon) on Oct 14, 2003 at 14:50 UTC

    This should be kept as an open forum, not an organization, unless it does not work out any more, but people are obviously getting their questions answered (at least most of the time).

    To be frank, once this becomes someone’s job, it will stop working, as by nature nobody has any obligation to answer anything (sounds negative, but face it), although people are very nice here, but don't enforce anything.

    Also this potentially violates (makes people tend to violate) the principle that each reply should be validated and valued by its true value, not its author’s name.

Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by mpeppler (Vicar) on Oct 14, 2003 at 15:59 UTC
    I agree with Abigail and Merlyn here. I much prefer answering questions publicly, where the answer may help more than one person, rather than answering questions privately.

    In addition I find that using the /msg functionality here awkward for more than very short comments - I much prefer either public posts here, or email/mailing lists where I can post more than 255 characters in a single block...

    Michael

Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by gjb (Vicar) on Oct 14, 2003 at 14:17 UTC

    Could you please argue why you'd want this? At the moment, I don't really see the added value.

    Just my 2 cents, -gjb-

      The added value is to provide monks with experts in a field to directly ask questions of. For example, I recently had to do some programming in Windows, an area I'm not very familiar with. It was made a lot easier by the fact I knew some of the monks who were good with Windows. Not everyone has those lists in their head. For those people, this kind of list would be good.

      It's kind of a FAQ that can answer questions, so to speak.

      ------
      We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

      The idea is a little like C++ templates, except not quite so brain-meltingly complicated. -- TheDamian, Exegesis 6

      ... strings and arrays will suffice. As they are easily available as native data types in any sane language, ... - blokhead, speaking on evolutionary algorithms

      Please remember that I'm crufty and crochety. All opinions are purely mine and all code is untested, unless otherwise specified.

        And this is fun for the mentors because of? Believe me, you really don't want to be a private tutor of a bunch of people, just for free, and just because some people have voted on you. I do get questions asked by random strangers via email "because you seem so knowledgable on Usenet". Or here via messages ("I really like your comments on this"). I've stopped responding to them ("I've you want to ask a question, please use Usenet, or one of the mailing lists. If you want a private teacher, contact my employer and hire me"), because too many times people balk, and think it's their right I answer questions promptly. Nowadays, I just ignore such emails and messages.

        People can ask their questions here, on Usenet, during their local Mongers and on several mailinglists. There will be many people who can answer their questions, often more promptly than a private tutor can (because (s)he has to eat, work and sleep as well).

        Making someone a tutor is a heavy burden. And unless it's being paid (say $100/hour, one hour increments), I wouldn't advice anyone to become one.

        Abigail

        I can't speak for anyone else, but I visit perlmonks when I want to, and answer any questions that I feel like I can contribute to. People who ask me questions directly tend to be ignored, if they want answers they should post questions.


        We're not surrounded, we're in a target-rich environment!
Re: Perl Mentor / Expert
by artist (Parson) on Oct 14, 2003 at 15:55 UTC
    Very Interesting: dragonchild
    According to me mentoring is the concept where one has experties in the field and guide another person step by step and solves the intermediate problems. Please correct me otherwise.

    As far as Perl is concerned we cover both of them here.

    We have Tutorials, QA, Books, Perldocs, FAQ, and us to fulfill the needs.

    The idea that I am missing to some extent is step by step.
    An Example: If I like to learn Algorithm to solve a particular set of problem, how I should build my knowledge step by step. So that not only it solves my problems in future but make me wiser in the process to guide other monks in the similar way.

    BTW, which areas you would be willing to mentor me?
    Thanks,

    artist
    ===================================================
    Have you Stumbleupon ?
Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by Notromda (Pilgrim) on Oct 14, 2003 at 23:28 UTC
    Downvote this node, if you like, but please note that I now would not support this idea

    ++ for being a good discussion starter, even if the idea is not so good.

Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by Roger (Parson) on Oct 15, 2003 at 02:50 UTC
    I agree that we do not need a mentor list. Posting questions publicly is a good chance for every other monks to review the question and perhaps learn a bit from everyone else. It will give every monk in the Perlmonks community greater reasons for actively participate in discussions.

Re: A PerlMonks mentoring list
by Courage (Parson) on Oct 15, 2003 at 17:33 UTC
    I like this idea very much and, if possible, I feel strong enough to help people with Tk/GUI sections, Unicode related questions, also Win32 programming is my "everyday job".

    Trying to be helpful,
    Courage, the Cowardly Dog

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