http://www.perlmonks.org?node_id=1145766

This long article at Medium.com is strictly about the author’s perception that Twitter is dying and about his reasons for it.   But really it is about what he sees as a growing problem of Internet [social] abuse:

The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today.   It is greater than censorship, regulation, or (ugh) monetization.   It is a problem of staggering magnitude and epic scale, and worse still, it is expensive:   it is a problem that can’t be fixed with the cheap, simple fixes beloved by tech:   patching up code, pushing out updates.

To explain, let me be clear what I mean by abuse.   I don’t just mean the obvious:   violent threats.   I also mean the endless bickering, the predictable snark, the general atmosphere of little violences that permeate the social web … and the fact that the average person can’t do anything about it.

[...]

I think it’s so vital, I’ll say it again, more simply:   build a platform rife with abuse, and then turn a blind eye to it, treat it as a non-issue, and you’re already on tomorrow’s list of has-beens…you just don’t know it yet.

Although I seriously doubt that PM is about to be a has-been (although some snark that it has been for some time), I do think that it has become an abusive place ... and that this is definitely not a good thing for furthering the site’s core mission.   We do not know how many people feel that they dare not post here.   We do see threads opened-up by newbies with an opening request ... even before they state their business ... of please don’t pillory me for asking.   A perfect stranger finally screws-up enough nerve to open a new thread, and begins his conversation by saying this.   How many others never get that far?

I say this only as ... food for thought, for all of us.   This web site should be a social place, as well as the Go-To Site for information about Perl.   This site, not StackExchange or any of the others, ought to be the place that people automatically come to, knowing that they will be welcomed here in addition to speedily getting the best possible technical answer.   People with thousands of posts should continue to feel welcome, too.   This site does not rely on Moderators, although it does have a system of self-moderation (which is quite unique).   The gods exist, and although they clean up a lot of spam every day (thank you), they don’t throw lightning-bolts.   But this status-quo therefore also relies heavily on how we publicly treat one another ... which is seen by all who come, and by those who decide not to.   Our behavior is part of the site’s vast permanent record, unless actually expunged.

The above-linked article goes on for many pages, and although it wanders a bit, I think that it is significant that it continues, quite passionately in places, for so many pages, and that it touches upon many things (specifically including software development).   This should be an important take-away for all of us, not only in the immediate context of PM but in everything else that we do professionally.

  • Comment on A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites

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Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by marto (Archbishop) on Oct 23, 2015 at 15:47 UTC

    "We do not know how many people feel that they dare not post here."

    Since you don't know you're just scaremongering?

    "We do see threads opened-up by newbies with an opening request ... even before they state their business ... of please don’t pillory me for asking."

    This happens with relative frequency on many Q&A sites that I've seen.

    "How many others never get that far?"

    There is no way to tell. Why postulate?

    "knowing that they will be welcomed here in addition to speedily getting the best possible technical answer"

    Given your frequently posted technical inaccuracies, code which doesn't work or blatant nonsense (technical or otherwise) how can you make such claims? In addition you've berated people for having the audacity to share their work or experiences! (one example)

    "This web site should be a social place"

    I think it's fair to say you've got a track record of antisocial behaviour here, and this entire post seems to be another 'do as I say, not as I do' post. How are you making a positive difference here?

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Chancellor) on Oct 24, 2015 at 08:28 UTC
Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by Your Mother (Bishop) on Oct 23, 2015 at 15:42 UTC

    You know one of the things actual abusers do? They suggest the object of their abuse is only successful with their help and would fail without it.

    That "article" is insignificant trash sacrificed to the great Content Gods of Perpetual Publish and Denigrate Success written by a Millenni... member of Generation Victim; completely untethered by history, perspective, or objectivity. Anyone living in a first world country today who honestly thinks life is hard or abusive... is a fool and I wish I could give them all time machine tickets to relocate to any of the golden ages for which they pine and whine.

    This is a site for Perl. I can point to a couple dozen monks who have helped me learn and improve my Perl, my practices, my math, my subjective opinions relating to these matters. No one here has ever done anything but start fights trying to steer the Good Ship Sociology by substituting "we" and "us" where "me" and "I" should be in sentences. COGTFO.

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by jmlynesjr (Hermit) on Oct 23, 2015 at 20:07 UTC

    I have experienced nothing but help here on PM. I try to read most new posts on a daily basis and thus know the lay of the land. I try to exhaust my level of expertise before posting and I am lucky to have a shelf full of "Animal" books to go to first. I know that many PMers don't have access to these texts and I don't mind the "simpler" questions. I usually learn something too. I enjoy the international flavor and I know that "your" English is so much better than my {insert native language here} since my second language is limited to a little Spanish. Ask and learn.

    James

    There's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over...

      You are experiencing the corollary to GIGO: EIVO.

      I totally just coined that too so none-a-y’all thieving, python-loving bas… …friends of mankind use it without mentioning it’s what Your Mother always used to say.

        You are experiencing the corollary to GIGO: EIVO.
        Curiously, BrowserUk also coined a new term derived from GIGO:
        You'll be familiar with the abbreviation GIGO; with you its more GOGOGOGOGOGO....
        It seems sundialsvc4 is the inspiration for the creation of at least two new GIGO-derived words.

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by shmem (Chancellor) on Oct 24, 2015 at 00:02 UTC
    Although I seriously doubt that PM is about to be a has-been (although some snark that it has been for some time), I do think that it has become an abusive place

    You do think that; I don't. Abuser and abused are bound; break that bond.

    Your post is another one in a series of yours, in which you complain that you are constantly downvoted (by a cabal, or by bots) and covered with harassment, that the voting system is diametric to good social behaviour and downvotes should be abolished and what more. I see a central theme here, but that's me. Might be otherwise.

    Now you posted a link to an article to substantiate the claims you raised in that supposed series, someone else is saying something similar about another social media, and you link that to PerlMonks.

    Dismiss those thoughts - not with a smirk, but with a smile. Why should bots or a cabal or someone else be able to hurt your righteousness?

    perl -le'print map{pack c,($-++?1:13)+ord}split//,ESEL'
Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by morgon (Priest) on Oct 24, 2015 at 01:26 UTC
    To be honest I don't care that much about abusive vs non-abusive in sites like this.

    When I come here I am not looking for a hug - I usually have a technical problem I need input for.

    And that I usually get here.

    And that is all I want.

    I am not here that often but my impression is that people that post contributions that may be considered to be abusive can give very good reasons for why they think the tone they use is wanted for.

    I have never ever seen people being flamed simply for being inexperienced but I have seen people being flamed for consistently spreading inaccurate information.

    And that's the way it should be.

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 24, 2015 at 14:54 UTC

    "I do think that it has become an abusive place"

    You are correct. The Internet has long been a place where many abuse, and many are abused. The problem that you habitually demonstrate is a lack of willingness to recognize your own abuses. You have become a target because you have subjected us to your abuses for so long, and with such fervor..

    You abuse us almost daily with mind-numbing opinion posts, overly cluttered with formatting and wordiness, light on code, light on facts, and often with glaring errors. Many "Perl newbies" abuse us daily with questions that demonstrate a near total lack of effort combined with a sense of entitlement to have someone who has committed tremendous effort in learning a skill do their work for them. In both cases, we are abused, and we grow impatient with the lot that is cast. Our reaction tends to be to push back. We eventually (especially in the case of a single well-known abuser) lose the patience needed to hide our contempt for being abused, and we, as individuals tired of being abused, lash out.

    But there's a parity mismatch here. We can never hope to stop the endless parade of false-lazyness debris, just as we can never hope to silence chronic abusers who seem totally oblivious to all reprimand -- living in a mind's-world where they are the only one in the right and everyone else is the problem.

    I could ask that you stop your abusive behavior, but it would serve no purpose.

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by CountZero (Bishop) on Oct 26, 2015 at 01:43 UTC
    We do not know how many people feel that they dare not post here.
    This indeed is one of the famous "unknown unknowns" (Donald Rumsfeld).
    We do see threads opened-up by newbies with an opening request ... even before they state their business ... of please don’t pillory me for asking. A perfect stranger finally screws-up enough nerve to open a new thread, and begins his conversation by saying this. How many others never get that far?
    That is a big jump you are making here. For many people this is just a standard opening phrase. Perhaps because they have been pilloried on other sites where newbies are less welcome (SO springs to mind here). But on PerlMonks I cannot remember anyone regularly putting down newbies. Some gentle admonishing of newbies about the formatting of code and/or asking to show some effort, is probably the worst we have seen here.

    I'm not saying this site is nirwana, paradise and heaven all rolled into one and indeed we have sometimes acrimonuous discussions between regulars, but rarely if ever it is directed against newbies, unless they continuously fail to show some effort and/or ask the same question over and over again without taking any learning from previous answers.

    To wrap it up, I don't think Perlmonks merits the "abusive web-site" tag at all.

    CountZero

    A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

    My blog: Imperial Deltronics
Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by stevieb (Canon) on Oct 23, 2015 at 15:25 UTC
    "I do think that it has become an abusive place"

    Citings please. Every site has their fare share of frustrating experiences where people sometimes say things they may later regret (and in some of my (and others) cases, apologized publicly for it), as well as a small percentage who are just assholes. However, comparing PM to the likes of Twitter or other huge aimless social media sites is misleading and irresponsible. I find that PM is far more an accepting, welcoming and less harsh than other educational sites (SO for example).

    Whenever the gods or janitors see blatant ad-hominem, abuse or even snide remarks that have nothing to do with the thread it's located in, it's swiftly considered and removed.

    How much should I bet that if I review history, you've posted something similar to this numerous times in the past?

      Whenever the gods or janitors see blatant ad-hominem, abuse or even snide remarks that have nothing to do with the thread it's located in, it's swiftly considered and removed.

      Citings please. I believe your understanding of our moderation system is mistaken.

      I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

        I'll rephrase... 'When anyone sees ... it's *most often* swiftly considered, *voted on by the community*, and removed *via the automated reaping process*.'

        I started off saying one thing and went sideways.

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by dsheroh (Prior) on Oct 24, 2015 at 09:39 UTC
    Although I seriously doubt that PM is about to be a has-been (although some snark that it has been for some time), I do think that it has become an abusive place

    No, cupcake, it's just you that we abuse here, because you keep posting tripe like this and your endless "Honest, guys, I really, really, really don't care about downvotes! But stop giving me so many. And we should abolish them entirely anyhow." bullshit. Not to mention the bad advice and provably incorrect answers to technical questions, such as Re: I seek DBI wisdom concerning bind parameters, posted two days ago, claiming (incorrectly) that DBI's execute method requires that its parameters be passed as an arrayref.

      "No, cupcake, it's just you that we abuse here, because you keep posting tripe.."

      With respect, I take issue with this, I don't think anyone is here to abuse sundialsvc4. In my experience here the users are generally very supportive and friendly, more so than any other online community I've had reason to use. If I give bad advice I expect others to call me out on it or correct me. The vast majority of the time this has been done in a very friendly manner. I appreciate that it can become frustrating when someone ignores such corrections and continues to post bad advice time and time again (for years). It's better to reply with the facts, rather than abuse. Hopefully the uninitiated we're concerned about will soon get wise to the guilty few, and ignore them. This is why there is value in responding to such posts without abuse, pointing out nonsense (technical or otherwise) and sticking to the facts.

        I absolutely agree with your experience of the Monastery, and I have the same expectation of being called out or corrected when wrong. And I also agree that "It's better to reply with the facts, rather than abuse."

        I'd like to say that I don't think anyone intends to be deliberately abusive towards sundialsvc4, but, honestly... I can't. You can't just accidentally log yourself out and post obvious troll replies to him, so the number of AnonyMonks trolling him is a pretty strong argument that some people are deliberately abusive. Which isn't something I mean to endorse, but I do understand where it comes from.

        In any case, what I was trying to get at with the line you took issue with was that sundialsvc4's experience of the site is rather different than that of the average poster to the site (new or otherwise). Offhand, I can't think of anyone else that the site is half as hostile towards as it is towards him, so his experience of the site is not a good gauge of its attitude towards new users.

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 25, 2015 at 05:02 UTC
    sundialsvc4: ... I do think that it has become an abusive place ... and that this is definitely not a good thing for furthering the site’s core mission.... But this status-quo therefore also relies heavily on how we publicly treat one another ... which is seen by all who come, and by those who decide not to.   Our behavior is part of the site’s vast permanent record, unless actually expunged.

    Why are you abusive Mike "sundialsvc4" Robinson ?

    You don't care about the mission

    You don't care about the noobs, you just keep spamming them

    You need to stop

Re: A thought-provoking external article about abusive web-sites
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 25, 2015 at 02:20 UTC
    "The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."

      Criticize, rebuke, rebut, even, yes, attack… in free society not one of these is an equivalent of silencing; nowhere near it. And I don’t really need to hear the detailed thinking behind the Final Solution, for example, to have a “livelier impression” that genocide might not be a terrific idea.

      Godwinned my $self = bless {}, ThreadOver;

      Oh, all right! Without hyperbole: I don’t need to hear the same destroyed argument about lunch, let alone Perl, twice, to say nothing of 100 times. There becomes a point where it’s just self-abuse; and I admit… a point where it becomes mutual self-abuse. Ewwwwww…