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This technique can be adapted to suit addresses to PHBs and anonymous audiences, though.

For instance, if/when a PHB says "But Perl is just a scripting language!" you might affect a confused look and say "How do you figure?" Put the opposition on the defensive, because you know he's wrong, and it will be easy to shut down the opposing argument as soon as you know what that argument is. If you try to offer a counter-argument without finding out what it is, you'll fail to make a strong impression. If the PHB knows something, he'll give you an argument to which you can respond substantively. If not, he'll give you a broken "I heard it on NPR" type of pseudo-argument excuse that can be diplomatically defused by responding to the specific concern that was raised — possibly by saying "Oh, that hasn't been true since Perl 4, a decade ago. The problem isn't the language, but the fact that a lot of people are still writing Perl 4 to be executed by their Perl 5 interpreters."

In the case of writing for an anonymous audience (such as writing an essay at PerlMonks, an article for a magazine, or an introduction for a book about Perl), there's a very common and rhetorical technique employed every day to which this applies: one first explains the case for common approaches to the opposing argument (saying "Many think of Perl as a scripting language because . . ."), then one debunks them all in the text of the essay (or whatever). In other words, make your opponents' arguments for them, then dismantle those arguments with "new" arguments of your own. The answer to some of these, as well, will be "That's Perl 4, not Perl 5. Here's why."

It doesn't immediately educate the whole world, of course, but it's useful — and nothing else we can do will immediately educate the whole world, either. Even Sun's message that Java should be used for everything took some time to propagate.

print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
- apotheon
CopyWrite Chad Perrin


In reply to Re^3: Let's face it, Perl *is* a scripting language by apotheon
in thread Let's face it, Perl *is* a scripting language by Ovid

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