Ovid, I have tremendous respect for you, so I hope you don't take this personally. I am more interested in what the other monks around here have to say about this.

I was recently telling dusk to rtfm by pointing out perlvar and asking him to not go outside the MP3::Napster API in his Napster client. I thought it would be good to show him why not, and pointed out Thou Shall Not Covet thy Object's Internals, by Ovid. I had read it and liked it the first time around, and thought it made a very clear point.

However, one thing he did say was that he was writing software in a much newer version of CGI.pm than the "other" developer was. When he expressed his frustration with this -- albeit indirectly -- he was given support. When I expressed my frustration with this, I was given sharp criticisms and general discouragement (Re (tilly) 1: Cross-developing in 5.005 and 5.6 (code), for example).

I feel like when I post code for review, for some reason or another, people are quite irritated by the way I have implemented something or some methodology I am using when I write code. (Re: Quick and (dirty?) menus for the console for example) Instead of being respectful and calm, they either intentionally or unintentionally use zero tact. "what are you talking about?" I wouldnt say that to a friend in reference to their code.

I have managed to piss chipmunk off by insisting that some of the things he does are "wrong" (although I never mentioned him directly and havent ever gone over his code). tilly recently inferred that I was behaving as some crazed reverend trying to make perl something it isnt (e.g., a religion).

I dont know what I did wrong here. Maybe I, like princepawn, am more willing to be vocal and care less about politics.

I'll be a pontiff by the time youre reading this. This is my 150th post. What gives? Where is the entrance to the "good ol boys club" so I can join in and not be attacked when I post something? I really feel alienated from this community. I didnt when I first started here. I felt like this was a great place. I learned a lot. The deeper I dig and the more time I spend here, however, the less I want to be here.

I just can't find a better place to get knowledge when I need it. Its a darn shame. Can't we get over this politics crap and just be respectful of one another? Or at least equally respectful? We all know that princepawn gets knee-jerk downvotes and isnt taken seriously despite the merit of his posts. Conversely, japhy gets knee-jerk upvotes regardless of the merit of his posts. Japhy is a great guy. But I am not less of a great guy, some of you just disagree with what I say. But I dont go about criticising people here. I will correct code but not take it the step further, to add footpad or tilly's "personal note" when someone says something I dont like.

I'd like to feel like I can post something and get an honest review without the emotional overhead of feeling like somebody dislikes me. I just dont have time to worry about why somebody dislikes me today.

Laziness, Impatience, Hubris, and Generosity.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re (tilly) 1: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by tilly (Archbishop) on Jul 07, 2001 at 02:05 UTC
    Since you point me out specifically, let's go over the post of mine that you complain about. It is at Re (tilly) 1: Cross-developing in 5.005 and 5.6 (code). You are asking why an eval trick you are trying is not catching an exception that you are trying to trap that is arising because of trying to run something developed in Perl 5.6 under 5.005_03.

    So how do I respond?

    Well my first paragraph gives general advice on how to develop code that is portable between two revisions of Perl. Namely develop in the earlier one and avoid accidental backwards compatibility gotchas. My second paragraph mentions that the built-in documentation gives you the answer to your specific question. (There is a difference between eval of a BLOCK and an EXPR.) Given that you claim to be a good Perl programmer and post here a lot, my expectations for you are higher than they would be for a random newbie, so I thought that you should have checked that documentation. My third paragraph points out that your code as written, if converted to do exactly what you ask, will still break in several subtle ways. And my final paragraph tells you how, if you wish to backport software, you are most likely to succeed.

    Now I am not sure why this offended you. Sure, I didn't treat you with the kid gloves that I would someone who I thought might simply not have a chance to know better. But I answered your question in full, I pointed out several gotchas, and I gave detailed advice on saner ways to proceed, both in general and in this specific case.

    Now the link that I can understand your disliking, which you referred to but did not give, is Re (tilly) 1: The qq{worse is better} approach (discussion). So let's talk about that post.

        Since you point me out specifically, let's go over the post of mine that you
      I pointed you out because I feel you are one of the people most responsible for the lack of respect tolerated here at the monastery. This lack of respect affects many of us, at many different experience levels and with varied history. You do tend to be one of the more vocal people here, so I felt that addressing you personally would perhaps help expose this, and perhaps deal with it. This isnt personality downvoting, its "knowledge discrimination" (where knowledge is either real or perceived).
        (There is a difference between eval of a BLOCK and an EXPR.) Given that you claim to be a good Perl programmer and post here a lot, my expectations for you are higher than they would be for a random newbie, so I thought that you should have checked that documentation. My third paragraph points out that your code
      My contention here is that you are not giving me "higher expectations," but simply dislike me. In which case, youre not being helpful, youre being rude.
        Now I am not sure why this offended you. Sure, I didn't treat you with the kid gloves that I would someone who I thought might simply not have a chance to know better. But I answered your question in full, I pointed out several gotchas, and I gave detailed advice on saner ways to proceed, both in general and in this specific case.
      Oh, sure, and the seats at the back of the bus are just as comfortable as those at the front. But I'd like to be treated just as respectfully and congenially as Ovid.

      (re: The qq{worse is better} approach (discussion)):

        Strong words. Strong words that I disagree with. In fact if you read my posts carefully you would have known that I am not one for (intentionally) grinding methodological axes by rote. In fact if I cannot justify why a rule applies in a given case, I prefer to question the rule rather than tell someone to follow it. And if I get no better answer than, "Because it is the right thing to do" then I will intentionally go out and break the rule, then watch carefully just to find out if it is the right thing to do.
      However, when I post a node in response to a node of yours, I do not leave personal notes explaining how I feel about you personally. I disagree with things you do. I disagree with things japhy does (but less often). I disagree with things that all kinds of people do. But I am respectful (and being candid and straightforward can still be in a respectful tone).
        But still that doesn't explain the full reaction that you got from me. There is more to it. What I, and I suspect others, react to is your self-description of yourself as a good Perl programmer. Well claiming that is a challenge.
      This, Ben, I think, is the heart of the matter. You just don't like me. I'll discuss this a bit later on in this post. You do seem in touch with the fact that there is more than a general disliking or disagreeing with my coding style or technique. You dislike me, and it shows. I don't think it is fair to be openly rude and critical to some, and respectful and encouraging of others.
        First of all I should point out that in my experience most of the people who say they are good at anything actually suck. They think they are good because
      Them's fightin' words, Ben.
        But without exposure to competent people, you can't learn to be good. You can only learn to be arrogant over their incompetence.
      Are you inferring either that a) you are not sufficiently competent for me to "learn to be good" or b) that I need to spend more time here with the likes of you?
        However I am still willing to judge each case. For instance if people like
      Who appointed you judge?
        themselves as good, I would agree. When a random person says that they start with one strike against them in my books, but if they are good, well OK. I won't argue with success.
      Are you aware of how many "conflict" analogies you use in your open, public conversation with somebody?
        programmer. In fact above you compare yourself to japhy and (not entirely subtly) indicate that you think you might be as competent a programmer as he is! Which makes me wonder because I really don't think that the only difference
      You leave japhy out of this. He and I are both chanops on #perl on dalnet, and have talked at length in the past. I wouldnt make such a foolish comparison. Japhy is an excellent perl programmer.
        (discussion), what should I think? There are basic points you have not learned.
      There are basic points you haven't learned. Why is it I must know everything to be a good perl programmer? The answer is, I really don't have to. Nobody can know everything. Look at what you are saying here. That the only way I can be a good perl programmer is to know everything about perl -- and yet the only way I can be a good programmer is to openly admit I do not know everything about perl. You can't have it both ways, and youre using either way to suit you when you want to deal a verbal blow. Based upon your not liking me. Not based upon whether my code has or hasnt merit.

      I think I am going to get to the rest of your post and talk about what a good programmer is, because I think I have made my point about your posts. Or, rather, you have made your point, I just have made the context clear enough and concise enough for you to see it plainly for what it is.

      So what makes a good perl programmer?

      Actually, lets make this as general as we can. What makes a good programmer? Well, I will use the perhaps over-used analogy of the travelling samurai in feudal Japan.

      Consider, if you will, the ronin. A travelling swordsman. Ronin were typically a loud and drunken bunch. There was great variance in their skill level. What is important to note, however, is that Ronin were still Samurai. Ronin were far more skilled than the footsoldiers who went to war and were slaughtered by the thousands.

      If you'll bear with me, I'll take this analogy further.

      Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest swordsman of all time, started as a footsoldier. He had a rough beginning as a samurai, but eventually came upon a teacher who explained to him the virtues of a samurai. He travelled throughout Japan learning from the various schools of swordsmanship (well, actually, any weapon from ball-and-chain to pikes and staffs). The recurring theme throughout his life was that when he came to a new village and demanded to see the greatest Samurai, the strongest, most skilled warrior, people scoffed.

      Musashi met people as skilled as he was. These people (few and far between) knew that Musashi was indeed as skilled as they were, or at the very least, that he made an apt pupil and had things to teach them. Those who did not were almost always confronted with their lack of skill or lack of preparedness immediately before their death.

      These warriors, the ones who did not recognize the potential for somebody to have great skill, frequently called out verbal attacks on his character and his honor. These personal attacks we not something that particularly bothered Musashi because Musashi, you see, was a Samurai. He was not prone to calling insults. It simply isn't the way a Samurai behaves.

      So where does this take us in terms of what a good programmer is?

      Like the martial artist, a good programmer knows that there is always more to learn. A good programmer has pride in what they do, however, and takes utmost pride in their art and their work. Musashi, as you might know, also took time to write at least one book. Imagine that, a swordsman who wrote a book. A good perl programmer, thusly, can also be a good shell programmer. A good perl programmer can also be skilled at graphic design and gimp-fu. A good programmer might be simultaneously a "pretty good" perl programmer, a "pretty good" shell programmer, a "pretty good" Solaris admin, and a "pretty good" kernel hacker.

      I'm going to wrap up here, with something you should already know, but I want to make sure you read it again.

        Main Entry: hu∑bris
        Pronunciation: 'hyŁ-br&s
        Function: noun
        Etymology: Greek hybris
        Date: 1884
        : exaggerated pride or self-confidence
      I would call Larry Wall a good programmer in general, and a good perl programmer. He wrote the language, after all. I would also call him somebody able to point out that hubris is a virtue in a programmer.

      I'm surprised, that with that word in my sig here for as long as it has been, that you've failed to read it at the bottom of every post.

      So I'll sign this with a personal note, half in jest, half not.

      Lose the attitude. We're all Samurai here. Some of us are better than others, but unless I challenge your honor, it would be dishonorable to chop my head off.

      brother dep.

      Laziness, Impatience, Hubris, and Generosity.

        This is long. So don't read it unless you really are interested...
Re: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by Petruchio (Vicar) on Jul 07, 2001 at 00:44 UTC
    I'm sorry to see things come to such a pass, deprecated, and I truly hope you choose to stay. As someone who has never (to my recollection) voted you down or had a confrontation with you, let me share my impressions.

    I think you some across as being very ardent, and you have a tendency to make unqualified statements about contentious matters. Let me point out a recent instance:

    "I just cannot get past the idea that there are people who think that it is ever okay to cut a methodological or ritual corner."

    What sort of response did you suppose you'd get from such people? You're fighting a war against them! I, for one, think it's often not only okay to cut corners, but absolutely critical to do so. (If your company's database is puking, and they're losing twice your yearly salary each hour, you'd better just get the damned thing up). I can see your perspective; it's less what you said than how you said it.

    I'd written out a few more examples, but I've deleted them because I really don't want this to seem like a get-down-on-dep session. In general, I think you need to be really cautious about posting with strong emotion, be it anger, frustration, conviction, or whatever. That's not to say you shouldn't express strong emotion... but understand that it doing so evokes strong responses in others. Done with caution, that can be a good thing... but without careful consideration, you're likely to encounter unintended effects.

    In short, I don't think it's you, or what you choose to say. I think it's how you choose to express yourself.

    And that's where I run into the puzzling assertion that you don't care about politics. The very post I am responding to is, beginning to end, about politics. I believe that you mean you don't like politics, as you stated in the chatterbox; let me make a recommendation. You should.

    It is immediately apparent to you when people speak to you tactlessly, but you don't appear to put sufficient consideration into the way you say things to avoid ruffling other peoples' feathers. And it's interesting that you mention princepawn, because it's often been my impression that he had the same problem... though I think he's far more tactful now than in the past, and is much more a member of the community now as a result.

    I occasionally hear someone complain that they shouldn't have to think so hard about phrasing something nicely; the fact is, they don't. But what such people tend to really mean is, they want the benefits anyway. It doesn't work like that. Politics is about achieving your goals when you don't have sufficient power to achieve them yourself. Either decide that you really don't care, and ignore the things which are now bothering you, or do what it takes to have your posts be well-accepted. Or, if you must, decide that people here are just too obnoxious to be worth politicking with, and cease to participate.

    It is my perspective -- as, I suppose, a Good Ol' Boy -- that there are cultural norms here, and that they indeed will cause you trouble if you run afoul of them. I flatter myself to think that I've had some influence on them, though I did not dictate any of them. No one has. I think it can sometimes feel like there's a Cabal of longtime users running things, when it's really just the collective sentiment of the users being felt... or maybe I'm just not part of the real Cabal yet! ;-)

    Dep, good luck. Your feeling is right: somebody dislikes you. Some people dislike me, too. Oh well. At least it's fair to say that since they only know us by what we say, people like or dislike us as a direct result of our own choices. Decide what you want, and choose accordingly.

Re: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by tachyon (Chancellor) on Jul 06, 2001 at 22:43 UTC

    Chin up, shoulders back and no blubbing! Perlmonks is like life in general, some people you just seem to like and some you don't. Depending on the size of the community you just don't have room to have any feeling one way or another for most.

    I am saddened you feel alienated but think that for someone of your demonstrated coding ability the relatively gentle RTFM here (Re (tilly) 1: Cross-developing in 5.005 and 5.6 (code) is not all that harsh - it does after all answer your question.

    My ears are still burnt from a usenet flame (quite a while ago now) from none other than Abigail who told me to:

    Don't post jeopardy style it makes you look like a moron
    Don't lose your references it makes you look like a moron
    Don't stealth cc it makes you look like a moron
    Don't try to parse perl unless your name is Damian of Ilya
    Killfile meet Dr James, Dr James meet Killfile
    {Ka Plop}

    Now that is a flame! It also happened to be accurate as I had committed all the above sins. So I stopped posting jeopardy style, got a decent mail client that didn't lose references, and stopped 'stealth cc'ing. I also fixed (most) of the shortcomings of the code in question but that's another story :-)

    I have enjoyed some of your posts and voted ++ accordingly, I rarely vote anything down but this is somewhat like my approach to life. Enjoy the good bits and let the bad bits flow over/under/around you - just not through you. Don't take it to heart. There will always be people who like you, people who hate you and others (generally the vast majority) who couldn't care either way. Such is life. Sometimes I reflect on somthing my mother once told me: "Enjoy the journey (of life), this is no trial run"




      Anyone who read my recient retort knows how I feel about that. Let me clarify: beyond being terse but still providing useful information (which some people might perceve as being unsocial, but is fine for technical work <g>), but using phrases like "wouldn't you be able to grasp the concept..." or "you look like a moron" is something different entirely. I beleive that the group (when it is a community, not an open mob like the newsgroups) should take that person to task for it, in the same venue. Maybe he's having a real bad week and doesn't realize he's taking it out on everyone, maybe he's trying for a different effect and not realizing that it's insulting.

        The Teacher Strikes the erring student with the bamboo rod.

        The student lashes out in anger.

        The Teacher is unmoved.

        The student bows his head in shame

        Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!
Re: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by footpad (Abbot) on Jul 06, 2001 at 23:07 UTC

    Well, to be fair, you're not the only person that's been accused of being less than diplomatic at times.

    Personally (*heh*), I don't think you're terribly rude and I've been happy to learn from your posts, as well as those of Ovid's and the others you mentioned. At times, you tend to appear to come across as a little unforgiving, but I've generally chalked that up to friendly differences of opinion, rather than the ravings of a madman.

    Because I'm still learning many aspects of Perl and the comunity, I tend to presume that any disagreements I have with the quality of a post stem from a lack of understanding on my part. Similarly, I try to avoid blanket statements regarding the quality of a given solution, unless I'm absolutely certain that I can defend such an assertion. I certainly never try to infer character (or intent) from coding flaws.

    As far as the personal notes go, well, I add them so people have a chance at understanding things that I'm not fully able to communicate effectively through static text. Others use different techniques. I appreciate seeing such cues and try to treat others they way I hope they'll treat me. It's a style that I've slowly adopted over the last twelve years of online support and it seems to help people understand that even if I'm technically wrong in a given assertion or theory, at least I've tried to help to the best of my ability.

    I guess it's my way of demonstrating the fourth virtue you mention in your .sig or the Virtues of Community that Larry mentioned.

    Sure, I get dinged--just like everyone else. However, the general trend leans toward the better side of what we both want out of a programming community devoted to Perl (with the ocassional joke or OT discussion). Put another way, every schoolyard has bullies (or wanna-be's). Ignore (or avoid) them as much as possible and focus on the good results. Also, work toward those same results. Ignore the politics and focus on the knowledge.

    As far as entering the "good ol' boy's club," just keep participating in good ways. Contribute what you can, learn what you need. Try to treat suggestions as friendly advice, rather than inconsiderate flames. Also, ignore unexplained downvotes. While it hurts the reputation of your node and possibly your XP, it's useless feedback unless the downvoter has the courage to explain why they voted as they did. When you do get explanations for downvotes (I've gotten one such explanation so far), be sure to listen attentively and respond respectfully. That person took a chance and trusted that you'd receive it well. Respect that trust.

    I believe that you can post something and get fair, honest, and constructively-intended feedback on it. Given the rash of personality voting that's going on, well, that feedback may take some time to manifest, but it does eventually appear. At the very least, the majority of the monks are good people. There are areas familiar to us both where that's a much rarer commodity.


Re: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by lemming (Priest) on Jul 06, 2001 at 23:31 UTC

    deprecated You come off a lot sterner than Ovid. If you note his writing style, it puts you more at ease. You tend to rub hair the wrong way and if people don't read and fully understand your posts, they may --.

    One saint you didn't mention was merlyn. You'll note he has some high rep posts, but none in Best, but one in Worst. He also writes some of the most short brutal posts there are.

    While technical accuracy counts a lot, emotional ease tends to count as well. That said, I hope you keep posting because I learn from your threads.

Re: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by voyager (Friar) on Jul 07, 2001 at 03:47 UTC
    I have found on several occasions at the Monastery that people complain that people "just don't like me, but it isn't anything I've done".

    Well, if enough people express disapproval, it is something you've done. Often is isn't something that can be articulated. Frequently it is the tone in the posts. Sometimes it's just "something" that rubs people the wrong way.

    If you don't like the way people are reacting to you, you can a) complain that it isn't fair, and insist people change how they react to you, b) change yourself.

    Look at the posts of the people who are generally well-regarded and well-liked and see how the differ from yours. You'll be able to tell.

Re: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by tadman (Prior) on Jul 06, 2001 at 22:41 UTC
    The node was labelled "(discussion)", so here's my take on it. There are several ways to express what I'm trying to say, but to be diplomatic I will say that it is a matter of perspective.

    The example you gave, Re (tilly) 1: Cross-developing in 5.005 and 5.6 (code), doesn't really strike me as being mean spirited. It is direct, perhaps, and maybe a bit stern, but it doesn't seem like a personal attack. It's a sensible response.

    What might be the problem is that you stood on the BEGIN BLOCK landmine with both feet. Use of, or abstinance of, this particular construct is a hot topic, with vocal supporters of both sides.

    The entire voting system might be politically bent. It is a possibility considering we are all human. Voting technique is a very personal thing, and if some choose to vote for their friends over others, then that is what they want to do. If you want to vote for the underdog, or be mean spirited and downvote people you don't like, it's all part of the community process. It's not perfect, but it works.