I think it depends where you are in your path. Here's pretty much my trip so far:
- I became interested in Perl only because I was interested in making web apps. I'd come around every now and again, but only to ask questions. I didn't use the search feature at all. At this point, I only spent enough time here to ask questions and get answers.
- One day I realized just how quickly people would answer my questions. I wondered what sort of gurus were hanging around here to always be able to answer my questions so quickly. I started checking out when people joined. Some of the accounts were only a few months old. I thought these people were probably gurus before they joined. Looking at their initial posts, I realized that some of the people I held in such high regard started with many of the same questions I had. I finally discovered the search and would consult the results before I would ask my question. This was also around the time that I created an account. At this point, I'd spend up to an hour here but not every day.
- While looking through Newest Nodes for a post I had seen the previous day but hadn't had enough time to read, I noticed a SOPW where someone asked a question that I had asked in my initial days. I answered the question, the person thanked me, and I became addicted to trying to answer questions. At this point, I'd spend every moment that wasn't dedicated to work or sleep to perlmonks. I think this was probably the best time I had here because I'd try to answer every question or at least be able to really understand the underlying problem. This was my favorite time at the monastery because not only did I learn a lot about Perl but I gained a lot more experience in understanding people's problems, figuring out what they need, and delivering a suitable response. It was during this time that I gained sainthood.
- A few months down the road, I'd start to see a lot of questions that I knew had been answered previously. New questions to research were far and few between. It was around this time that I stopped coming by as much. I created a new account (this one) because I didn't like my other name. Now I only stop by to read Meditations and see if there's an interesting conversation happening in the CB. That's pretty much where I stand right now.
This is a great place. Everyone wishing to sharpen their Perl skills makes you want to do the same. Not only do you want to sharpen your skills, but you want to come back for more. This is why I stayed and it's the only reason that I understand Perl as well as I do. Needless to say, this is probably the best environment I've ever had for gaining knowledge and developing my skills. I only wish everything else worth learning in life had a PerlMonks.