in reply to Re (2): Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
in thread Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)

This is long. So don't read it unless you really are interested...
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. (...)
Suffice it to say that this is not the usually stated opinion about me.

(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.
With a random poster I would link to the documentation, explain how to find the documentation, and quote the relevant section. With you I linked to a small section of documentation and said that it said how to do what you wanted. My higher expectation for you is that you know how to find the documentation and should be in the habit of consulting that before asking others for help. Is that an unreasonable expectation?

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.
Had Ovid asked that question, I would have responded similarly.

(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).
I do not find the root node of this thread, which singled me out several times by name, to be very respectful. Nor is de-inventing the wheel (discussion). In fact singling out another poster, by name, in a root meditation, and then proceeding to rant about whatever position or actions that that you associate with that person, is rude. It isn't slightly rude. Or slightly insulting. It is rude in the tradition of standing in the public square and yelling insults at someone.
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.
I didn't have any general dislike of you. At the current rate I might learn to, but I didn't start off that way nor is that the cause of the posts that you object to.

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.
What makes you think that I am talking about you in particular?

In fact I am not talking about you in particular. I am making a general observation that I make reasonably often. Quite a few clearly competent people have agreed with me on this, and have offered their own variations on the theme.

Here is the history. This observation is one that I first made a few years ago about ping-pong. I am not good at ping-pong. But I got to the point where if you have studied it it seriously, you will be better than I am. If you just play casually, I am almost definitely better than you are. I have never taken that next step and put serious energy into it. But I noticed something odd. I could beat pretty much everyone I ran across who thought they were good. None of the people beat me on a regular basis thought of themselves as good. I thought that very strange and so I talked to an expert level play about it and his explanation was...

...without exposure to competent people, you can't learn to be good. You can only learn to be arrogant...
How true. And I have found that to hold in many other subjects since.
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?
I actually was not talking about you in particular. I was talking about my fundamental reaction to people who walk around telling the world that they are good. Go back and read the paragraph in context to verify that.
However I am still willing to judge each case. For instance if people like
Who appointed you judge?
Who else would you say should be the judge of what I think? If I am going to say that you are a good Perl programmer, it will be because I think you are a good Perl programmer. I won't say it because you say you are. And I don't think that making up my own opinions about things is unreasonable.

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?
I suspect that you are taking my description of how I react in general far too personally. I also note that when you walk into a situation and say, "I am good", that is a challenge. You should expect and be prepared for conflict after that.

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.
Hmmm... Japhy is a great guy. But I am not less of a great guy, some of you just disagree with what I say. It looks to me like you are the one that brought japhy up. But I am more than willing to drop that topic. (Heck, the entire thread is not my favorite.)

(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.
When I read things like this, I have to wonder if you even tried to understand what I wrote.

What I said is that you shouldn't go around calling yourself a good programmer. I am advising you to not go around saying that you find the posts around here too basic for you to learn from. I am explaining in some detail how I personally react to someone who walks around saying, "I am good at ____." I am explaining that because I suspect that my personal reaction is fairly common and is the likely cause of the things that you were complaining about.

In short what I am saying can be summed up by the old saying, If you truly are a superior person, the world is likely to discover that without your assistance.

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.
It seems you have missed the point. My point, stated shortly, is that claiming to be good will tend to get you off on the wrong foot with people right away.

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.

And now we get the good programmer's explanation of how to become a good programmer? What reaction do you expect to get from people for this?

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.

And what would have happened to a footsoldier or random ronin who behaved as Musashi did? From the sounds of it we have a swordsman who goes around proclaiming how good he is who very often has to shortly thereafter prove that he really is that good. Sounds like a pretty hazardous thing to do if you don't have truly outstanding ability. In short if you claim to be good, that is a challenge and you had best be prepared to defend it in style.

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.

It really looks like you are trying to compare yourself to Musashi and me to the incompetents who call insults and then get killed for their stupidity.

I don't think that you are the Musashi of programming.

And if you read what I wrote, I didn't call out insults. You don't believe me? Well what did I say? I said that you call yourself a good programmer. (Well you do.) I said that you post here a lot. (You do.) I said that you don't compare to japhy. (You agreed above with that.) I said that I didn't see you as a great programmer. (I don't, and I think that if you thought carefully about my standards, you would agree that you don't meet that criteria.) I said that you were arrogant. (You prefer to describe yourself with words like "cocky" and "hubris".)

Where are the insults you complain about?

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.

And this is relevant because...?

I am commenting about the dangers of walking around and saying that you are good. I am not talking about the fact that there are some truly good people out there. In fact I listed a bunch, and most of the ones I listed are not just good at Perl.

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.

Please re-read Larry Wall's explanation of why those are virtues. Read them right after Vice to virtue and back again, and give me feedback on whether you think my analysis is wrong.

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.

And what makes you think that I failed to read it?

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.

First of all, I am not a Samurai.

Secondly it is a challenge to post a meditation with my name plastered all over as an excuse to rant.

Thirdly I did not "chop your head off" by any stretch of the imagination. Had I simply wanted to make you upset, I could have done it far more effectively with much less typing.

  • Comment on Re (tilly) 3: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)

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Re2: (tilly) 3: Why me? Why not Ovid? (discussion)
by pmas (Hermit) on Jul 10, 2001 at 22:54 UTC
    <Nice post. Thank you.
    We can learn here not only be a better perl coders, but also better humans.
    You reminded me the great masters of Tao (or buddhism), who did not feel urgent need to win by destroying opponent, but just teaching him a lesson. I believe Musashi will consider you a great master, who can, as Lao Tze teaches, win war without fighting.

    Please stop it. You are good, but if you are really good and feel safe about it, you do not need to prove your point by be-heading less skilled wariors. If you do, you are a bully, not a samurai (at least as I remember them from movie 7 samurai). Please read excellent tillys posting Vice to virtue and back again and please realize that sometimes hubris is a vice, and being humble is a virtue. Surely it is true in this case.
    Please stay with our community, but remember, this is perl monastery, not a perl dojo.

    All others:
    If you did not read tilly's posting Vice to virtue and back again, do yourself a favor and do it now.


    To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.