in reply to Re^2: Process for Site Improvement
in thread Process for Site Improvement

Thanks for the clear explanation. I think what I was trying to get at was that the site seems to promise to be much more than a discussion forum for help with Perl, but the level of "other forms of dialogue" seems to have been ebbing, when looking back at older nodes compared with current.

Maybe a bizarre analogy will help... Visiting PerlMonks is like visiting the house of an old, retired wizard. Lots of supplicants come by to ask questions, and for the most part they are answered. Sometimes they are disrespectful and are reprimanded. But if you look around the house, there are tomes, scrolls, trophies, magic items +5 and better, but all disused, sitting around gathering dust. It's as though the grand adventures are all over. Maybe I just joined during a slow phase, I don't know. Am I getting a wrong impression?

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Re^4: Process for Site Improvement
by hangon (Deacon) on Mar 11, 2009 at 18:29 UTC
    ... there are tomes, scrolls, trophies, magic items ... but all disused, sitting around gathering dust.

    Obviously you've explored the wizard's house quite a bit. I joined a couple of years ago expecting to ask a lot of questions and instead found most of my answers are already here. There do seem to be a lot monks who show up to ask a quick question without bothering to look around. But judging by how frequently links to obscure nodes appear in replies, there is also a significant number of monks who do know their way around and know where all the goodies are stashed. The tomes, scrolls etc are dusty because they reside in a dusty old house, not because they're unused.

Re^4: Process for Site Improvement
by mr_mischief (Monsignor) on Mar 11, 2009 at 17:57 UTC
    Part of the nature of a site with a long archival history is that those who remember that older content are less likely to duplicate it. The use of the site I think has ebbed somewhat, but many diehards are still around. SuperSearch is your friend, and it doesn't hurt to ask in the CB or even in a node for terms to search against.

    At least part of the ebbing of PM I think has to do with the flow of time among some top Perl and perl people into Perl6 efforts. Once there's a version 1.0 of Rakudo, I expect many of those people to have some small amount of time free they don't have now. I also expect many new questions and many new users with questions will pop in once a release announcement is made for Perl6. So part of that ebb I expect to be temporary. I'm not sure what the consensus on this idea among the monks would be.

    By all means, if you have something for Meditations, Cool Uses For Perl, Snippets, or some other area of the site rather than Seekers of Perl Wisdom, then by all means share it with us. It is, after all, a community effort. SoPW is the most common section because questions and answers are much more common than original and profound insights. That doesn't mean the other sections shouldn't be used. It just means that by nature they're going to be used somewhat less. Please, contribute to them what you have time to contribute.

    I think of most of the site as that wizard's library. Once the shelves cover most topics with multiple volumes, only new topics or really fresh views on old ones warrant extra shelf space. One might intuitively think that since it's all just bits and disks are cheap that the virtual shelves of an online library should be filled with as many new writings on a topic as possible, but I disagree. The problem isn't a lack of shelf space. It's that you really want to find the best coverage of the topic you are researching without all the cruft.

    That's one of the reasons monks are advised to do some minimal research before repeating the site. It not only takes time that could have been spent on fresh responses to a fresh topic. It also dilutes the pool of existing writings. One should think about adding to an existing topic as a chance to add value, not to return more results of the same or lesser value.

    Truly new and fresh topics are fewer and farther between as the site matures, but surely there are some things that haven't been covered or haven't been covered adequately. In those cases, starting the discussion is more important than having an authoritative answer. These are the kinds of things I really hope to see every time I see there are new posts in Meditations. I love seeing someone's new module for a problem space eight other modules haven't already covered. I love seeing someone's new approach to testing, new object layer, or application of a development strategy to the tools typically used with Perl. Most of all, I love seeing someone stand up and say how they've creatively applied the strengths of Perl to great success in an application area we don't traditionally expect. The "how" and "why" of people applying Perl to their problems rather than some other language can be rather fascinating.