|We don't bite newbies here... much|
Before I start this post, I'd like to thank snafu for allowing me to "pick on" his post to a recent node, Determining what line a filehandle is on. In that post, snafu clearly answered the wrong question and, as I saw the post pop up on the Worst Nodes list, paid the price for it. This post, however, is not designed to pick on snafu at all. Instead, I want to discuss the usefulness of that node and other nodes like it.
As I had mentioned, snafu's post answered the wrong question. Rather than answering how to determine what line a filehandle was on, snafu answered what line the Perl script was on. While this may not have answered the original poster's question, I believe it does add some value to that post and to the Monastery as a whole. In fact, you can find sections similar to that in almost any tutorial. In tutorials, however, they are often in a section called "Common Gotchas" or something similar. The PerlMonk's Tutorials page, in fact, has a section for Common Regex Gotchas. When I first read snafu's post, I felt that it fell into that sort of a "Common Gotcha" category. Maybe something like: "Don't get $. confused with __LINE__." It seems to me, I've seen posts like this in the past, as well. Some monk, attempting to be helpful, will answer a question incorrectly and get his/her hand slapped by the other monks.
My real question comes in as this: Are these posts useful to the monastery, or not? When I viewed that post, I had to stop and think of how I wanted to vote and, for some time, I simply didn't. I know many monks have very different views on how to vote and I'd rather not get into that discussion. My principle, however, is that, if it adds to the monastery, it deserves to be up-voted. However, this post, although well structured and easy to read, didn't answer the original poster's question. So shouldn't that then be down-voted? This was my dilemma.
When I saw that snafu's post had quickly climbed to the top of the Worst Nodes list, I considered this issue. Had I done the same thing, replied incorrectly, would I be willing to post again? I'd like to say that I would, but I'm not so sure. Would snafu? I hope so. I, for one, had a professor in college that would, in no complicated terms, tell me when I was wrong or being stupid. Many people found that hard to deal with and quickly grew to dislike that professor. To me, however, that behavior made him my favorite professor - one that would quickly correct any misconception I had and give me a straight answer. In this case, it would seem that PerlMonks is that tough professor.
Now, what I'd like to know, is how would you feel if your post (as helpful as you were trying to be), sky-rocketed to the top of the Worst Nodes of the week list? Would you be willing to try to answer another question? And, based on that, what do you think should be done with posts such as snafu's?
I'd like to again thank snafu for allowing me to use this node as an example. I didn't mean to pick on snafu, but this whole thought came to me because of that node and I thought you'd find it more relevant with a concrete example to go from. Thanks, snafu.
Skepticism is the source of knowledge as much as knowledge is the source of skepticism.