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If you can get the "critical mass" of contribution, yes, I think you'll be able to sustain a somewhat steady-state influx, replacing your ultra-newbies and replacing your not-as-newbies who can answer simple Perl questions (and an overlap of people who both ask and answer questions).

Heck, I'd love to see several of the obsessive PerlMonks posters be pickier about what they initially reply to. I suspect many junior monks feel like they can almost never answer a question (as I've seen several of them express). That prevents them from getting a whole nother level of satisfaction from PerlMonks. Sure, there are advantages to simple questions quickly getting answers from someone who usually gets the answer at least mostly correct. But I see real advantages to having a wider variety of answers. A "less correct" answer often leads to some interesting and enlightening discussion (especially when it doesn't lead to a more senior Perler "putting 'm in their place" for daring to answer less correctly). And a "less correct" answer is often at a more appropriate level to be appreciated and thus helpful to the original asker.

I tend not to answer nodes that I believe others can answer about as well or better than I, unless the node has gone unanswered for an unusual length of time. So I'm more likely to answer a node that I believe I may have an unusual insight into. I love it when a very basic question gets answered by somebody with roughly the same experience level as the person asking but who happens to know something about that specific subject.

I suspect a lot of junior monks see PerlMonks very similar to how I see stackoverflow.com. At any point in time, it is extremely unlikely that I have anything worth contributing to stackoverflow.com (in part because the stated purpose of the site discourages diversions into tangential subjects). So, sure, skimming through stackoverflow can yield me some gems of knowledge, but it sure isn't much fun. I'm sure it will become more useful to me as a place to find via googling for some specific answer (which is a big part of its goal), but it sure isn't any place I'm going to be "hanging out" at or even "reading".

But, as a senior Monk pointed out on some other site, you can't stop know-it-alls from jumping in over and over. So it might be worthwhile to have a place that offers a culture of telling the know-it-alls to go to PerlMonks if they want to "go all PerlMonks" on people.

Of course, building a web site and then getting it to critical mass without having the growth end up killing the site can be quite a challenge. All of those growing pains at PerlMonks predate my tenure so I'll offer no advice on that. But good luck!

- tye        


In reply to Re^5: PerlMonks for newbies? (variety) by tye
in thread PerlMonks for newbies? by cosmicperl

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