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Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?

by diakonos (Hermit)
on Apr 21, 2005 at 13:40 UTC ( [id://449975]=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I have been on this site a few years and have been able to learn great things from those that have dedicated their lives to the language of Perl. I feel however that there has been a change in the last couple of years and I am not sure where to attribute the difference in the quality of answers found on the site.

First, don't get me wrong, I feel that there is a lot of help to be found in the daily postings on the site. However, some of the questions and answers submitted reveal a lack of research and a sense of arrogance. This would lead me to believe that there are a number of people from a new generation that are using the board (could be the fact that I am just getting older and I don't see things the way I used to).

I believe that it would be interesting to see the ages of those who actively use the board. Do you think a poll of the ages would be a good thing to see? I think it would be a fascinating piece of data to routinely gather.

What do you think?
- D

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by piroufreek (Acolyte) on Apr 21, 2005 at 14:01 UTC

    I'd guess that the Internet, with its rapid-fire, google-ized nature has made people a little less patient. I remember doing research papers by looking at past newspaper articles, reading books, etc. I also know how quickly one can find an answer by using the Internet. I've found myself becoming less patient of late. I've had to fight the temptation of firing off a quick question when an 'RTFM' and some effort on my part would yield the same answer.

    I'm not saying this is just happening to the younger generations. People my own age have become less patient when looking for answers because we are getting used to the speed of the Internet. My own father, once a good programmer for the TS-1000, TRS-80, and C-64, has used me for a crutch for a while, rather than learn on his own.

    Maybe we need to resolve that, instead of relying on the work and intelligence of others, we should rely on our own industry. After a reasonable amount of time, we should then look to help from others.

    Just my $0.02...


      I think you have hit on something. I was reading an article the other day about how we have lost the creativity that our ancestors once had. We live in a world today that is so dependent on machines that we are not looking for new methods to solve problems. To give you an example, the Egyptian pyramids, the Roman viaduct, or even the base stones in some of the ancient temples. We ask ourselves today "How did they do that?" They had a problem and they created a solution. Today we seem to have a problem and want other people's solutions and want them now. As you say “instant gratification”. Thanks for your reply, very appropriate

        Hogwash. An Egyption slave pulling a huge block wasn't any more creative than most people today. There happend to be one guy who figured out how to move enough huge blocks to build a Pyramid, but there only needs to be one such guy with a good political position to make that happen. We have people like that right now, solving problems in the modern world.

        There has always been this thought that the latest generation is somehow inferior to the last. Jazz rotted your brain. Then Jazz was normal and Rock and Roll rotted your brain. Then Rock and Roll was normal and Electronica rotted your brain. And so on. It was bunk then, and it's bunk now.

        Except for these kids with the Playstations with analog control sticks and egronomic controlers and games that work the first time you stick them in. They should have to play with simple D-pads on a controller modeled after a brick and cartridiges that had to be blown on for a while until the power light stopped blinking. Oh, and we were too poor to afford wires, so we had to power our Nintendo via induction.

        "There is no shame in being self-taught, only in not trying to learn in the first place." -- Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni.

      I would definitely agree that we should rely on our own intelligence. The only problem is that as I look around, I see that younger people are used to getting information (well, almost) instantly, and so they do tend to be quite impatient; at the same time they do not want to invest their time and efforts into research to find answers to their 'problems'.

      Oh, and modern education doesn't help it either - students are allowed to use their iPods to record teachers' lectures, the use of calculators and computers allows them not to run "complex" calculations in their head, and so on... Looks like soon youngsters will not know how to read, write, or do math by themselves, without using all the gadgets...
      Ironically, it seems that best computer 'wizzards' are people who can do very well without a computer... It's like that: If you can think, you can use a computer to be much more productive, but computer can't do the thinking part for you.

      Just to make it clear: when I talk about age and being young, I mean 'mental age', or 'level of maturity' if you wish... I am 27 myself but sometimes when i'm outdoors, I feel like I'm surrounded by a bunch of kids... In that sense, any Perl Monk seems to be between 30 and 40 - the age when all the potential is fully utilized and there's still a long road ahead till Alzheimer's :)

      I couldn't disagree more. I think it isn't the impatience of those looking for answers but those giving the answers that has steadily declined. As no one ever learns from scratch or at least they don't anymore all our knowledge is based on others. Also it is the person who answers the questions choice whether or not to respond so I see no point in trying to slow down the speed at which others can gain and expand upon knowledge. I wouldn't doubt if there are more younger people using pm than there used to be me being one of them but why should someone horde knowledge from me when a solution to my question is already out there...doesn't that make it sort of like a proprietary solution?
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by merlyn (Sage) on Apr 21, 2005 at 13:57 UTC

      Just curious, what did you use to calculate your average age?? :D

      Good one. I thought about the title Age of the average Perl Monk but then I thought I would ge the reply, "What consitutes an "Average" Perl Monk? Which I think would be another great question.

      Average is 37 here! (Note: the same as my average college midterm scores)

        If you put it that way, it is 29. 1967-06-14. Didnt know what way you all were going there..
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by talexb (Chancellor) on Apr 21, 2005 at 15:02 UTC

    With an average age of 31, I'm guessing I'm a few standard deviations away from that, having just passed 47 on the Road of Life.

    In fact, it is written,

      I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
      your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.
    For some high-school kid who dove headlong into BASIC back in 1973 and is still thrilled to be coding, thirty years later, having Perl and the Perl community is a rare gift. Thank you all.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

    Just in case there's any misunderstanding, I mean no disrespect to the twenty-third Psalm. Text from this site.

Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by jbrugger (Parson) on Apr 21, 2005 at 13:56 UTC
    go to and click on 'Upcoming Birthdays', or look at the monks.
    I think all those who want to tell, might be found here.

    update As you could have found here, merlyn comes from 1961-11-22, so i assume he's telling te truth (or lied twice :-) )
    ps. $myAge->{31} # (i think...);

    "We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise." - Larry Wall.

      Wonder what are the ages of the monks too paranoid to list their dates of birth? This one is over 50.

Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by gellyfish (Monsignor) on Apr 21, 2005 at 14:06 UTC
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Apr 21, 2005 at 16:04 UTC
    I guess I'll have to bring the average up, I turn sixty next year.

    OLD Gray Bear

    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.


Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by samizdat (Vicar) on Apr 21, 2005 at 19:28 UTC
    49 as of yesterday. I can't say that I haven't fired off a PM question without doing the necessary research with the materials I already had... damned if I didn't do it again this morning!

    I think we all are getting a bit impatient, the older as well as the younger. Sometimes for good reasons (too much needs to be done) and sometimes for bad... (too much laziness to do it). I'd agree that there's a huge shift in the ability of young people who expect the massive multimedia input of a television all the time and can't deal with the limited bandwidth and suspense of a book... nor can they handle processing on their own. I have found in my ORSP teaching that ten year olds are already too used to the abovementioned input to be able to deal with a #2 pencil and a problem. I've been striving for a long time to see any good that might come from this input conditioning, but I haven't been able to see it, except as indicated by video game performance which leads to better fighter pilots.

    All that bunkhouse barf aside, as I stated at the top, I think I am part of the problem, too. I don't think you can limit it to an age classification.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by deibyz (Hermit) on Apr 21, 2005 at 14:19 UTC
    It seems to me that you are confusing two terms that have a very different meaning: maturity and age. And those are, AFAIK, very different terms. Also, you're making a relation between lazyness (the bad one) and arrogance and short age, and I must disagree with this assumption. I'm my short carrer, the more lazy and arrogant people I've met were usually around the doble of my age (22), whereas young people were those who had illusion and respect to the "more experienced" (notice the adjective, I'm not talking about older people). Maybe it's different in other places, maybe I'm too young to see things in your way, or maybe I'm totally wrong, but I'm a little tired of hear people talking about *young* people in a *disparaging* way. It's possible that some we, as less experienced, make some stupid questions, and maybe we have arrogance, but no more than older people in my opinion.

    Sorry if I'm missunderstanding your words, but I've been too many times in situations where my age have played against me, and I think those assumptions take to wrong actitudes (young people->worse posts->worse work->irresponsability...).

Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by SciDude (Friar) on Apr 21, 2005 at 14:16 UTC

    As always, "general" statements are usually wrong.

    In my experience with open source projects I am sometimes surprised that the guru I have been working with is only 17 years old.

    This comment about age could also be swapped with "nationality" or "race" or many other generalizations.

    Seeking a correlation between such items often results in a positive finding; simply because you are seeking the correlation and not otherwise.

    The first dog barks... all other dogs bark at the first dog.
      As a tangent to "...I am sometimes surprised that the guru I have been working with is only 17 years old."

      I am frequently astonished that the 17 year-old (or more ...or less) guru deigns to help me; nay, even consents to discussion, as my antiquity (64) and sparse knowledge are so often read as "next to dead(brained)."

      Thanks, Monks. you teach well and generously.

      And it works the other way, too -- there is an individual on the local PM mailing list who asks the sort of questions I'd expect from a 15 year old -- and, more importantly responds to offered help like a teenager -- and not the mature sort.

      Imagine my surprise when I saw him at a meeting and discovered that he's actually well over 50, if not 60.

Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by ChrisR (Hermit) on Apr 21, 2005 at 14:02 UTC
    I would have to agree that the community has changed a little lately and a poll regarding age might shed a little light on it.

    We might also gain some understanding if we did a poll on the importance of XP. From what I've noticed lately, there seems to be a growing interest in XP and many nodes are dedicated to this subject alone. I'm not saying that we should do away with the XP system, or even that we should change it. I just think we shouldn't worry so much about it. As I see it, perlmonks is about giving and receiving help, community spirit, a little fun, and most importantly, gaining knowledge of perl.

    Who knows, we might even find a connection between age/experience and the importance of XP. Age and experience rarely go hand in hand but I think the notion that a label stating you have experience is more important to the less experienced.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by kutsu (Priest) on Apr 21, 2005 at 15:12 UTC

    Alot of that info is already stored in Who am I? Who are you? Who are us?, as long as you can add 2 ;).

    "Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - I think that I think, therefore I think that I am." Ambrose Bierce

Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by artist (Parson) on Apr 21, 2005 at 14:47 UTC
    Perlmonk is a knowledge seeker. Knowledge has less to do with age and more with thinking.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by mkirank (Chaplain) on Apr 22, 2005 at 09:05 UTC
    autrijus recently turned 24 , Its amazing to see the amount of work he has done at such a young age
    Im 31 ,I started programming at the age of 24 :-))
      Well, the young people have often more spare time to dedicate to perl wizardry (no wife, no chidren, no lawn-mower, no holidays planned 6 months before, no lawyer, no company to run, and sometimes no need to put food on the table when living at dad and mom's).
      Maybe that's why most geniuses (in physics, maths, music, whatever) were more productive before their 40 than after.
        Well, even at 43, I can say "yes" to just about the entire list there. No wife, check. No children, check. No lawnmower, check. No holidays planned six months before, check. No lawyer, check (not today, anyway). No company to run, check (just an owner, not an operator {grin}). No need to put food on the table, check (I just go to a fast food drive-through down the street... so no table).

        -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
        Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

        This is especially true in the disciplines where thinking is more important than knowing, like physics and mathematics. Einstein, remarkable though he was and productive his whole life (even if he got the "I before E except after C thing wrong all the time) was finished his significant contributions to physics before he was thirty.

Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by ambrus (Abbot) on Apr 21, 2005 at 15:34 UTC

    Browse the images on homenodes. They usually give you a clue about the approximate age of the monk.

      And if they're nocturnal or arborial by nature. Frink! Phtang.

Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by holli (Abbot) on Apr 22, 2005 at 00:38 UTC
    Some monk (if only i would remember his name) appeared in the CB the other day and claimed to be 12. He acted quite smart, so I am still not sure if it was a fake or not.

    As for me, I am "officially" old, aka >=30.

    holli, /regexed monk/
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by thekestrel (Friar) on Apr 22, 2005 at 13:39 UTC
    I've completed 29 orbits around the sun.


      Yeah but that puts you anywhere between 7 and 7190 years old doesn't it - not very informative ;-)


        *grinz* ... ok, I was on earth for all of those 29 orbits =P.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by TedPride (Priest) on Apr 22, 2005 at 10:04 UTC
    I'm 25.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by g0n (Priest) on Apr 24, 2005 at 15:24 UTC
    33 last week, and why did no one wish me happy birthday ;-)

    Update: Possibly because I'm not on the list.

    g0n, backpropagated monk
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by FuBaR (Acolyte) on Apr 24, 2005 at 22:35 UTC
    41 this year (omg already?!?!) I only feel old when my grandkids visit.
    I think some of the points about dependance on "gadgets" has some merit. For me, I can't speak to the past crop of posters as I have only been into perl for a little while. All of the interaction I have had with this group has been very positive.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by tame1 (Pilgrim) on Apr 25, 2005 at 19:17 UTC
    Merlyn has me by a few years. My date of emergence (my mother would call it "the first time you gave me pain, and you never stopped") was 09-14-1964, making me . . . oh crap lemme think . . . 40 until September.

    What does this little button do . .<Click>; "USER HAS SIGNED OFF FOR THE DAY"
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by r34d0nl1 (Pilgrim) on Apr 24, 2005 at 19:31 UTC
    Interesting question I think;
    Hmmm... The Age of the monks, to know you will..... (yoda said)
    This one (1/2 in truth) is 21 years old...
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by gam3 (Curate) on Apr 26, 2005 at 16:33 UTC
    I don't think I can tell you my average age until after I'm dead. Then it will be 1/2 my age at death.

    -- gam3
    A picture is worth a thousand words, but takes 200K.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by displeaser (Hermit) on Apr 26, 2005 at 09:05 UTC
    32 years and counting.
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by ghenry (Vicar) on Apr 26, 2005 at 16:02 UTC

    I'm 26.

    Walking the road to enlightenment... I found a penguin and a camel on the way.....
    Fancy a Just ask!!!
Re: Average Age of the Perl Monk - Poll?
by skazat (Chaplain) on Apr 26, 2005 at 09:02 UTC

    Turned 24 a week ago - 4/19/81 was Easter Sunday, which means, I'm either GOD or... um, The easter bunny incarnate.

    You decide.


    -justin simoni
    skazat me

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