in reply to Re: Writing answers for newbie questions
in thread Writing answers for newbie questions

It is written in the Third book of Camel:

Most important, you don't have to know everything there is to know about Perl before you can write useful programs. You can learn Perl "small end first." You can program in Perl Baby-Talk, and we promise not to laugh. Or more precisely, we promise not to laugh any more than we'd giggle at a child's creative way of putting things...Any level of language proficiency is acceptable in Perl culture. We won't send the language police after you. A Perl script is "correct" if it gets the job done before your boss fires you.
--Preface, pp xix-xx. (emphasis added).

No one expects you to "dumb down" your experience or writing style to Baby Perl, however, I've found that the wisest of comunicators understands, at least in part, the amount of "TRVTH" their audience can take in a given session. This is, I think, part of what [merlyn|Larry|Tom|whoever](*) was getting at when he wrote the above.

(Note, that's an assumption, one based solely on his writings here and elsewhere. If it's a bad one, then please feel free to insert the proper author's name. The point being the same...whoever originally keyed those words understood that Perl is a language with many levels and many subtleties...and that everyone must learn to crawl before they can leap tall idioms in a single bound...yes, even Clerk Kant.)

I agree that we should be willing to challenge people as needed and as appropriate...however, is it not true that each finds their own path along the Perl Way? Is it not true that some may need to work their way through less than ideal solutions before they arrive at the "best" ones? Also, who's to say that any single solution is precisely the exact answer that's best for every need? Each problem is unique, as is each poster. Some approaches are more effective than others, certainly...however, I believe that part of Perl's flexibility stems from the fact that someone understood that it was better to provide flexible interfaces and tools, rather than rigid, dogmatic ones (ala C++, imho).

Personally, I have no problems asking for clarifications when I don't get it. However, not everyone has that much of a spine. Some would take an RTFM screed far more pointedly (and personally) than others...and that's (in part) why I think the Monastery has a bit of a bad rep regarding the treatment of newcomers.

Finally, as someone who has spent hours composing replies in other fora...yes, it sometimes takes that long to hazard a good guess. However, when you do it correctly, you gain more than the "win" of being also help someone else see the light. In addition, you also help those that aren't directly involved in the conversation..yeah, the lurkers. Your online words have a broader audience than your RL-words.

No one doubts your skill and we're certainly now asking for a line-by-line breakdown. However, when you're doing something that might seem tricky to a new person, it doesn't seem unreasonable to include HREF links, man page references, or other Resources for further consideration. Signposts, if you will, into the land of imagination...the Twi...Oh, wait...sorry. Wrong intro.


(*) - Update: I've been told via a private /msg that passage was originally written by Larry himself. Can anyone confirm that?