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Newbie madness, experienced ambiguity.

by bladx (Chaplain)
on Mar 17, 2001 at 04:26 UTC ( #65082=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

It may just be me, but I have been here at the monastery for only about a month now, but I have learned a lot since I have been here, and have noticed something that seems to happen a lot in the Perl Monks Discussion area. And that is, discussions where an experienced Perl hacker here posts some type of discussion topic along the lines of: "Has anyone noticed that lately, all the newbies are asking dumb and vague questions and should know how to ask 'correct' questions related to Perl now?" or even "Maybe it's me, but it seems like alot of posts to SoPW have been vague and/or ambiguous. -- Tuna".

Now these aren't really a bad thing to discuss... but when it happens over and over of people discussing how newbies need to figure out how to read instructions and stuff here at the monastery, it gets very annoying to read it over and over, so in this discussion, I am simply suggesting that there could be a big section for newbies especially where they can find out where to post items of their concern, etc. Yes, I know that there is the FAQ page related to how to know where to post various questions and so on, but it seems like newbies don't know to check there... even though it and other people say to read it. I think there should be a section in the future titled something along the lines of 'newbies area' where they can learn the basics of Perl and I don't know if this is another annoying post, but I hope it is something that is important enough to discuss!

Please write your thoughts on this subject if you have any relevant ideas/suggestions/criticisms/etc. ^_^

bladx ~ ímuchas veces tengo preguntas!

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Newbie madness, experienced ambiguity.
by footpad (Abbot) on Mar 17, 2001 at 09:08 UTC

    I think you suggested something similar a while back. While not precisely the same, my thoughts are very similar. AFAIK, the structure of the Monastery is designed around types of petitions/submissions, not the details those submissions (wish to) implement, nor the experience level of those doing the implementation.

    Also, the entire Monastery is designed to be approachable by all. Certainly, SOPW is the gate many enter by; however, I don't believe we wish to dictate a specific entry point for any traveller along the Perl Way.

    While reading a recent update to an old thread, I ran across something I found interesting:

    To give a person one's opinion and correct his faults is an important thing. It is compassionate and comes first in matters of service. But the way of doing this is extremely difficult. To discover the good and bad points of a person is an easy thing, and to give an opinion concerning them is easy, too. For the most part, people think that they are being kind by saying the things that others find distasteful or difficult to say. But if it is not received well, they think that there is nothing more to be done. This is completely worthless. It is the same as bringing shame to a person by slandering him. It is nothing more than getting it off one's chest.

    To give a person an opinion one must first judge well whether that person is of the disposition to receive it or not. One must become close with him and make sure that he continually trusts one's word. Approaching subjects that are dear to him, seek the best way to speak and to be well understood. Judge the occasion, and determine whether it is better by letter or at the time of leave-taking. Praise his good points and use every device to encourage him, perhaps by talking about one's own faults without touching on his, but so that they will occur to him. Have him receive this in the way that a man would drink water when his throat is dry, and it will be an opinion that will correct faults.

    This is extremely difficult. If a person's fault is a habit of some years prior, by and large it won't be remedied. I have had this experience myself. To be intimate with all one's comrades, correcting each other's faults, and being of one mind to be of use to the master is the great compassion of a retainer. By bringing shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?

    I found it instructive and wish to thank Frankus for providing the link.


Re: Newbie madness, experienced ambiguity.
by scottstef (Curate) on Mar 17, 2001 at 20:14 UTC
    /start sermon
    I too have been around about a month. I agree that when you do post a ambigous node, all you receive is look at this node or this was brought up previosly here or merlyn's typical i did an article on this for (substitute any one of the magazines merlyn writes for here.) Perlmonks is an online community, they are here to HELP us newbies to write/learn perl. If you have ever been a member of the old usenets threads, you get rtfm if you are lucky (comments about your heritage/lifestyle/family if you aren't) if you ask that sort of a question there. At least here, you get the chapter and verse so you know where to start.

    As a newbie, we are faced with a lot of challenges, learning syntax versus semantics. Perlmonks reminds me of a teacher (Thanks prof harley)i had for a class in o/s principles. The first day of class the teacher stated that her goal was for us to walk out of her class knowing one thing in regard to unix. That one thing was to learn how to use the documentation that already existed to solve our problems.
    Computer Science/programming/system administration is all about one thing- being so lazy that you figure out how to use tools that you have to solve problems. I am a jr. sysadmin professionally, i am learning perl because I am so lazy that i hate having to go in each day and logg into all of the boxes i am responsible for and searching for anomolies. I heard that perl was a great sysadmin tool if i could harness its power. So i went out and bought the llama. Great book, taught me the basics. Read a column in Linux-mag. Merlyn mentioned this website in one of his columns. Checked the site- hey it seemed pretty cool. Looked in the chatterbox- see people's names, checked their bios really quick- hmmm all the people that were higher levels, noticed what they were saying, at least once a day someone that is at bishop level or above mentions going back in and reading the camel book. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh-ha (note to self get and READ camel book- note to self did get, am READING camel)

    Learning to write code effectively is a matter of learning to use all of your tools effectively. Solving your own problems. Use perlmonks as a tool, not as a crutch. Use them to glean ideas rather than expecting them to write your code.
    Learn to use the super search. I spent a whole day writing a stupid sniplet of code the copy bookmarks code that I posted here and couldn't get it to work from any directories above the one i was in. A few days later, i used super search and found exactly the IDENTICAL problem with an answer from vroom. The post was date december 2000. Why should people answer the same broad question twice- especially if it already exists? Show the member's here respect, that you value THEIR time. Do research into the problem, mention yes i looked at this problem, however:
    1. My situation is different b/c why what you saw does'nt work due to yadda yadda yadda or
    2. (or My personal favorite) I am an idiot and can't figure this out

    Programmers like to be challenged, ask any one of the people that write code for a living why they work where they do and one of the top three answers will probably be for the challenge they face there. If you want their help, challenge them to HELP you do what you want done quicker, better, or more securely. The people here are here for one reason, to propagate the language of perl, extend it past it's limits, and most importantly, to teach us, how to teach ourselves.
    /end sermon

      I remember reading something that resembles to this elsewhere

      Anyway.. I totally agree with you, but I think that bladx's point is that newbies come here often to ask questions and aren't usually interested in signing up... so they ask a quick question... this problem was solved (somehow) when Vroom added the line : "If you're new here please read Perl Monks Site FAQ" to the top of the SOPW page when you are not logged in... and many other similar notes.

      so I think that the prob is solved bladx.. you cannot expect to have someone here to guide the new comers more than that... and luckily, there is someone here to take care of the mess that happens.

      Chady |
        Chady, your interpretation of bladx's post is quite interesting.

        ... newbies come here often to ask questions and aren't usually interested in signing up

        I think that if that is the case, then we end up playing our part as the Wizard, while wide-eyed Dorothy newbies come and simply expect the easy answer on how to get home.

        My point is that I don't want to help newbies if they have no intention on being a part of the community. This may sound harsh, but what if Ovid or chromatic decided that they just needed to use this site when they had a quick one-off question? What if merlyn decided that this was just another leech of his time? The thing is that everyone involved has to contribute. I think that is why bladx seems to think those of us who would rather just give a terse answer to newbies are being rude. It's because you can't get something for nothing in a gift culture. Everyone has to give and everyone gets what they need. One-off newbies are treated as such because there is such a wealth of information if they'd only look at the map. And the map is posted at nearly every major street corner.

        ALL HAIL BRAK!!!

(crazyinsomniac) Re: Newbie madness, experienced ambiguity.
by crazyinsomniac (Prior) on Mar 17, 2001 at 08:39 UTC
    More like newbie ignorance, experienced frustration
    What are you talking about it's been months since I've seen a post like that and i'm here all the time. What so called "newbie"s fail to do is their fair share of research, a mistake i made when i first came here. But back then the site was young, and there was no super super search, and it wasn't in the q'n'a, so finding info when you had no clue was a bit trying, but it's been 50+ thousand nodes since i joined, and there's plenty of stuff you can find now even if you have no clue.

    All you newbies, just quit being lazy.
    I've seen to many a post just asking solve my problem, and plenty of ones saying where do i look, and the latter on could've been answered in the cb.

    So here's what you newbies should do, scour the site for an hour, and chatter in the cb, and if by then you can't get started on your own, go back and read all the stuff you found. Do a lot of work, go back and read'n'roam again, and then do a lot more work, and if still have a problem, post what it is, and what you got so far in the appropriate section.

    Disclaimer: Don't blame. It came from inside the void

    perl -e "$q=$_;map({chr unpack qq;H*;,$_}split(q;;,q*H*));print;$q/$q;"

Re: Newbie madness, experienced ambiguity.
by jynx (Priest) on Mar 17, 2001 at 05:39 UTC

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