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don't be nervous about OT

by pg (Canon)
on Nov 09, 2003 at 08:02 UTC ( #305651=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I checked this post OT: Happily developing on Windows, thanks to Cygwin, and noticed that Courage did something very interesting to it. He front paged it, and yet at the same time, he considered to mark it OT.

I don't know whether what he did is a common practice here, but what he did makes great sense to me. A good post might be off topic for what this site is about, but it might still worth to be front paged, as it is good. I am not judging this particular case, but Courage's pattern of behavior makes absolute sense.

I remember that one or two weeks ago, there was a post regarding OT. That was the first time OT came to my notice. This time, I got a better understanding, hey it is not a bad thing. OT only menas OT, it is not about good and bad.

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Re: don't be nervous about OT
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Nov 09, 2003 at 17:37 UTC

    I'm definitely of two minds about this. For a while, I was the "OT" Monk because I was posting so many things that were OT. Some monks were not happy about that (particularly since I was getting a lot of XP from it), but others were quite happy to see the things that I posted (as evidenced by the fact that I was getting a lot of XP from it). In fact, if you go to my write ups and order them by highest rep you'll see that many of them are marked (OT). If you go to those write ups and read them you will likely agree that most, if not all of them are of at least peripheral interest to the sort of people who use this site.

    On that basis alone, I can say that I have no problem with OT. So why of would I be of two minds about it? Let's face it. I've been hanging out here for years and I have a bit of a *cough* reputation. While I can argue that people should judge nodes based upon content, the reality is that I can quite possibly get away with more because people see that I am the one posting it. This makes me feel a bit awkward about some of those posts and my posts probably should not be held up as evidence that such posts are tolerable per se. However, I'm pretty laid back about what should and should not be on Perl Monks and after being here for about four years, all I can say is that things tend to get off-topic for a while, but they always come back to Perl.

    ... though I note that the huge flame wars of the past appear to have died down. Much less drama ...


    New address of my CGI Course.

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      ... though I note that the huge flame wars of the past appear to have died down. Much less drama ...

      How ahsks jlaksdl hashgk dare you hajsh klncoa sdjhasd! The asjhdak adaiu nasdjlc gaul jaksdh hasdkj agdja aagdh. You hjskai jasdl hasjdgl ashd "£$%^&! It's atikjhasdk casd rew piuhasdh nasd jkasdh naskdj cuisu hkasdjk.


      Examine what is said, not who speaks.
      "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
      "Think for yourself!" - Abigail

Re: don't be nervous about OT
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Nov 09, 2003 at 23:08 UTC
    One of the problems with applying the label "This is not On Topic" is that Perl, as has been pointed out many times in the Monastery, has a broad spectrum of application.

    It is easy to frame questions that are only tangently related to the language core, syntax, and grammar. While these questions may end up being OT, is seems that they more often than not provoke dialog. Oft times of the form "This isn't really On Topic, but you might be able to get the information from ______."; but often a discussion of "Methodology, Practive and Pitfalls" ensues. I see as a good thing. One of the main uses of the Monastary is fostering a dialog between old Perl-hands and the Nubi; as well as providing a place where novice Perlistas can learn through friendly conversation and gentle criticism of their code.

    Perl Monks seem, by an large, to me a bit more civilized and measured in their response than many inhabitants of other Online Communities. (We can all fill in the name of our favorite USENET Flame Pool here.) I don't recall seeing an injunction to "keep your temper. Or else" in the PM FAQ, but that is the feeling I get in the Monastery. The Monastery seems to have an un-stated assumption that you will "type thrice, send once".

    Perhaps this is a consequence of TIMTOWTDI, since there are four and twenty ways, I always find new (and often supprisingly simple) ways to address common idioms. Both the Snippets and Obfuscated Perl have provided rich veins, as well as the solutions that are evoked in the Replies to Questions.

    Perhaps Perl, with its penchant for co-operation rather than combat breeds fewer hot-heads and holy-warriors. Maybe not.

    I also think that The Monastery's self-moderation assists in the process of keeping our focus on Things Perl. Anything that is truely off-topic will not get approved for passing up to the rest of the membership. The marginally OT may get passed, but will be so marked.

    In addition, the Monks have demonstrated in the past a panoply of knowledge on non-Perlish subjects. I would not think of posting a request for a good Baklavah recipe to SoPW; but I would not be supprised to find that the Collective Wisdom of the Monks has several good variants on my GrandMum's Secret Recipe.....

    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.


Re: don't be nervous about OT
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Nov 09, 2003 at 14:24 UTC
    A good post might be off topic for what this site is about, but it might still worth to be front paged, as it is good.
    The problem with this reasoning is, where do you stop? Since there is a lot more to say about non-Perl subjects than there is about Perl subjects, a lot more "good" articles can be written about non-Perl subjects than about Perl subjects.

    Which means that if people agree with you and people continue to frontpage off-topic articles, within a few months people will start asking "why is this site called perlmonks, there are hardly any discussions related to Perl".


      I believe the negative feedback will take care of it. When (if?) the discussion will really degenerate, people will get annoyed and strike back, and the massive downvoting wave will kick in, possibly followed by more drastic measures like node-reaping.

      People bash at XP. Yes, I agree, it's a good attitude, wearing a button that reads "I don't give a f*** about reputation" gives one's person a romantic, rebellious aura. But don't forget that this system contributes to PerlMonks' excellent signal-to-noise ratio. Yes, you can post controversial material if you feel it's your moral duty to do so, but here at PerlMonks you can't have your cake and eat it too. Good? Bad? I believe it helps to separate diamonds from glass, real issues from trolls.

      Look what happened to this fellow (and my explanation).

      Just a bit melodramatic there, aren't we.

      So long as it doesn't become a trend, I don't see any reason to sweat it. If it does, it'll be addressed way before the "why's the site called Perlmonks" point (even if that's by renaming the site).

      Makeshifts last the longest.

        I agree wholeheartedly with Abigail-II on this.   Speaking out against OT posts is the best way I know of to address a strongly potential problem *before* it becomes an actual and substantial problem.

        I don't dislike OT posts out of arbitrariety, rather because they invite a trend toward slashdot-ness.   One of the things I really like about the Monastery is that interaction here is mostly reasoned, civil, and mature, which contrasts tremendously with anything-goes sites.   S/Nr++

        I believe that the Monastery's fairly narrow focus plays a primary role in keeping this community a positive and enjoyable place to frequent.   Personally, I have no end of (SQL|*nix|bash|win32|hygeine)-ish questions that I'd *love* to be able to post here.   But I recognize that it would be detrimental to the community to do so.   Hence, I bite my tongue, and spit dat chat in de CB.

        For any who advocate a more laissez-faire approach, I'd encourage reading through some of Clay Shirkys Writings About the Internet.   I don't agree with everything he writes, but his commentaries on 'net communities and scaling make a lot of sense.   Here's a couple notables, there are more.

        To summarize, I submit that it's better for the Monastery as a community if off topic posts are gently, firmly, persistantly, and consistantly discouraged, and done so *before* adverse affects manifest.   The CB provides a great facility for non-perlish discussions, with few-to-none adverse affects on the site.


          striving toward Perl Adept
          (it's pronounced "why-bick")
      A problem with *this* reasoning is also, where do you stop? That is, how do you define what is off-topic? It's always going to be a matter of personal judgement, and if I think something is marginally off-topic I'm not going to start whining that it should be deleted, because it might meet someone elses idea of on-topic. Also, if the question as posted is off-topic but I can make an interesting on-topic reply then I'd probably approve the original post even though I think it's off-topic.
        It's always going to be a matter of personal judgement, and if I think something is marginally off-topic
        There is no such thing as marginally off-topic. Things are either on topic, or not (and keep in mind appropriate sections). That particular node may be perceived as OT on the surface, but once you see that it's in the "meditations" section, you realize that it is exactly on topic. It is a meditation and it is applicable to perl. Now if this was posted in SOPW asking what's the best C++ development environment it would clearly be OT.

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