I am reminded of Shirky's article A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy by the last thread I read here. This thread included several posts that were excessively hostile, harshly critical and demeaning of someone who was obviously only beginning to learn Perl. Sadly, this wasn't in response to persistent failure to follow guidance and learn - it was based on a single post of code, held up to ridicule with no evident knowledge or concern of the circumstances.
I think of Perl Monks as a site whereby more experienced users welcome and help those who are learning Perl in a way that few other languages are supported, and thereby promotes the knowledge and appreciation of Perl in the broader community. I know that it is - I have been helped and I have seen many others helped over the past year that I have been visiting the site. Yet it saddens me to see such contrary behavior, even though it is infrequent and only a few. The hostility of a few can discourage and drive away many.
To his or her credit, the person who received such a harsh welcome responded without anger, hostility or defensiveness, even posting a revision of the vilified code here and removing the original post from his/her blog as a constructive response to the criticism that it was harmful to others. I can't imagine any more compelling evidence that the abuse wasn't deserved. I hope he or she will return to the site to learn, share and set such good example in the future.
Overall the site works well and to the benefit and credit of the vast majority of those posting and browsing here. I am doubtful that this post or anything else can do much to improve the worst case behavior. Yet I hope it can be improved and would be interested to hear any thoughts, ideas or suggestions on the issue.
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