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[OT] How about an Off Topic Section?

by flexvault (Monsignor)
on Jun 05, 2015 at 16:15 UTC ( #1129222=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Dear Monks,

About once a week( sometimes more ) I see a question that is immediately answered as '...this is off topic, and you should ask on another forum...' which is technically correct.

So why not have an 'OT' section?

I have a lot of respect for the members of this forum, and not so much for other forums. If I see a comment about *nix, JS, HTML, etc., as part of an answer about Perl, I often find that response to be true and a valuable asset to my programming knowledge base.

The OT section should have some relation to Perl, but I would much rather test ideas and comments from this forum, then rely on the *comments* from other forums. There is a wealth of real world knowledge from the Monks on PerlMonks.org, that just can't be duplicated on other forums.

What do you think?

Regards...Ed

"Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by salva (Abbot) on Jun 09, 2015 at 09:49 UTC
    When this discussion started, I was on the we-don't-need-a-new-section camp. But I have changed my mind.

    My second way of thinking was: ok, if some people want it, maybe we should let them have it. It is not going to harm anybody, has minimal cost and we can always change our minds later and remove the section.

    But I have reconsidered the matter again and now I really believe that we should have an OT section. Let me explain why:

    I have been on the monastery for ten years. At that time, when I got here, I already was a Perl expert with several modules in CPAN and some contributions to p5p so I didn't need help on Perl matters too often. But anyway meeting other people with the same interests and helping them was a rewarding experience. Also, from time to time, challenging questions that would get me hooked to the keyboard for hours (several of my CPAN modules are the result of that) would appear too. So, well, for me it was a nice place to be.

    But after so many years, I find the monastery increasingly boring. I have reached a point where I feel that it is always the same old newbie questions over and over and even if I keep visiting the site often, I seldom write any answer, except maybe for questions related to my own modules.

    Now when I want to look for some challenging question to entertain myself, I go to StackOverflow. As much as I dislike it, its we-have-rules-for-everything, its lack of a friendly community and its lack of discussion/collaboration by design (and by that I mean no-threads), the thing is that they have the proper questions.

    Also, my experience as a Perl Monger has show me that when I meet somebody interested in Perl, the probability of us sharing other interest is huge. And I have learned and discovered lots of non Perl related things from Perl people. Here at the monastery we have a similar great community but we are not squeezing all of it.

    In summary, I think we should give a try to an off-topic section. And I say off-topic and not just related to Perl, not just related to programming, I want an OT section not limited in any way.

    Just let the "Approve question" button do its work: if somebody else in this community (and with the required XP) finds your OT question interesting, it should go in. That should be the rule!

      bravo! Honest, clear and propositive.
      Intelligent and honest peoples change their minds as they progress.

      I like perlmonks and would like to see it getting better. The best plus is a still big amount of keen programmers, normally well disposed to every kind of question (if well asked).

      The worst i faced here, over the time, is when rude words come from high experience monks: this can be highly discouraging and need to be avoided. Politness must be a must. At the end is a monastery not an highway motel!

      I subscribe your opinion salva.

      L*
      There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
      Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.

      Thank you for your thoughtful commentary.

      It seems to me that what you've done is argue for allowing off-topic posts -- which is something we already do. We generally don't allow unconstrained topics, as you know. You say you want an OT section not limited in any way; yet then you admit that the moderation system could and should be used to gate-keep the postings.

      What you haven't done is argue why we should have a new separate section for OT.

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

        You sort of answer the question yourself. There is ambiguity and day-to-day, monk-to-monk subjectivity in OT posts now. An OT section would fix that. I am not convinced it’s a good idea either and my response, and your musing, sort of answers that: to remove the subjectivity, OT would have to be anything goes and that probably wouldn’t work out well.

        Currently, OT posts are merely tolerated. I am in favor of a OT section because that would mean they are actually promoted.
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section? (take my meds... please)
by tye (Sage) on Jun 10, 2015 at 00:11 UTC

    Meditations is maybe getting about 2 posts each week of late. Just widen its charter to be as off-topic as is being called for (though I'm not sure there is actually agreement on that point even just within the posts from proponents in this thread).

    Though I don't believe that nor a new section would actually solve anything. You can declare that talking about things related to doing your work with Perl are not off-topic and even document that in official site documentation, but that won't stop (hasn't stopped) all people from being little usenet topic purity nazis. Just because the section says it is for stuff that is off-topic doesn't mean you won't still have a bunch of people who object to any particular bit of drivel and do various things to discourage such, like is already being done (I predict).

    Isn't it even on some FAQ list that one should usually avoid trying to solve social problems with technical solutions? The problem appears to be the occasional "that's off-topic" whine being perceived as a serious problem. Sounds mostly like two social problems. :)

    I'm a bit shocked that several people have expressed a complete failure at imagining how anything undesirable could ever result from removing all discouragement from posting anything no matter how wildly off-topic (or the somewhat less ambitious change that they in particular see as being proposed).

    One of the primary motivations for the desire for this new section was the expression that the audience here is a very good audience. Do y'all really lack the imagination to see how radically changing the breadth of the subject matter being discussed could have a significant impact on the types of material posted and thus the types of people posting said material and thus, with time, the entire audience composition?

    Personally, I think "anything goes" is just folly. I have some pointed questions about current US politics, some others about just certain religions, and a few about certain practices that are mostly not discussed in polite company. I suspect sequestering those in a separate section will work about as well as augmenting your social club in an older part of downtown with a "Free Beer" sign and then achieving sequestration by adding "(only upstairs)".

    I've long been in favor of allowing even encouraging posts that are only fairly tangentially related to work one is doing with Perl. I'm still in favor of that. And I think those should go in Seekers of Perl Wisdom (the "-Related" is implied). Yes, that includes asking about the javascript that you are using with some Perl stuff, even though the javascript problem likely is not in the least Perl-specific and asking about setting up your ssh keys that you use to log in to the host where you run your Perl code.

    How closely or tangentially related is indeed a matter of judgement. I quite dislike a knee-jerk gainsaying of "that is not Perl related, go away". I don't mind a well-considered comment noting that a question is far enough afield from Perl that one might get a better or faster answer elsewhere, especially when a link to a specific "elsewhere" is provided and especially especially when it is part of a node that also contains something useful or interesting in reply to the root matter (not just the "meta" reply of where you might or might not get a good reply).

    The frequency, likelihood, and severity of the "that seems rather off-topic" push-back that one gets should fall on a sliding scale that serves to give a variable level of discouragement to prospective posters of questions. A rather extremely off-the-topic-of-Perl question might still be posted based on other mitigating factors like the problem being extremely interesting, for example. While questions about the intersection of race and law enforcement practices are likely mostly avoided, even when Perl is somehow directly involved.

    I think a better approach would be rooting out places in the site UI and documentation that give topic purists encouragement and making sure there is a site document clearly spelling out that "topics related to working with Perl are welcome", at least as a starting point. If, after a time, that is insufficient latitude for off-topicness in the community's eyes, then broaden it further. If the community starts to perceive an unwelcome drift, then narrow it a bit.

    - tye        

      I think a better approach would be rooting out places in the site UI and documentation that give topic purists encouragement and making sure there is a site document clearly spelling out that "topics related to working with Perl are welcome", at least as a starting point.

      Sanity! I still prefer the OT section solution; but a clear mandate that programming related subject on the fringes of being Perl-related would go a long way to mitigating for its absence.

      And I agree with pretty much everything you said with regard to the need for some restrictions; and the areas where those restrictions are required.


      With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
      Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
      "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I'm with torvalds on this
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Agile (and TDD) debunked
        'I still prefer the OT section solution'

        That is not a solution. That is called an opinion. Stop mincing words just to get your way. You've had your say and you'll continue to have your say ... which is what makes you look like a tryhard. Why you tryhard, bully?
      I quite dislike a knee-jerk gainsaying of "that is not Perl related, go away". I don't mind a well-considered comment noting that a question is far enough afield from Perl that one might get a better or faster answer elsewhere [...]
      I think a better approach would be rooting out places in the site UI and documentation that give topic purists encouragement and making sure there is a site document clearly spelling out that "topics related to working with Perl are welcome", at least as a starting point.

      I agree with everything you said, but especially with these two points. Considering the generally helpful and open attitude here, I'm frankly puzzled sometimes by the rudeness (usually posted anonymously) that's shown toward newcomers who appear to be honestly ignorant of how Perl-unrelated their problems are, especially as contrasted with the tolerance that's shown toward some other kinds of posts. But in any case, there seem to be plenty of topic monitors to prevent the site from taking off into endless threads about politics and favorite spaghetti recipes.

      I use RSS to keep up with new posts, so the "schema" is meaningless to me; there could be one big category or a hundred little ones and I wouldn't notice. So from that perspective, the question isn't whether there should be an off-topic area, but whether off-topic posts should be censored as harshly as they have been so far.

      There are two very different kinds of off-topic posts that we could be talking about (not counting obvious spam and attacks):

      • A newbie has been programming for a month and was tossed into a task involving Perl, Javascript, HTML, Apache control files, and possibly a couple of other things, and he has no idea where the problem lies. He thinks (or hopes) he's on-topic, but he isn't. There are two possible responses (other than being a jerk):

        1. Politely tell him his problem isn't with Perl, so he'll need to go elsewhere. Point him in the right direction if it's not much trouble.

        2. Allow the post and try to help him with his non-Perl problem if you can.

        Those are both reasonable; which a forum follows is just a matter of policy. The policy could even be left open to each member's discretion: help them if you want, point them somewhere else if you want, but otherwise ignore them.

      • The regulars have gotten to know each other and formed friendships and learned to respect each other's knowledge beyond Perl, and they'd like to talk to each other about non-Perl topics. This is common on long-standing forums that don't have strict topical requirements. It's not a question of right or wrong, but simply what the people in charge of the forum (the members, if it's a democracy) want the forum to be like. There are three main places they can draw the line:

        1. Censor it all.

        2. Allow anything.

        3. Censor it somewhat -- in this case perhaps to topics only a step or two away from Perl, like installing an operating system or dealing with a difficult boss at your programming job.

        #2 here is almost certainly a bad idea. #3 seems most reasonable to me, and not too hard to define. There would always be the option of going back to #1 if it doesn't go well.

      Aaron B.
      Available for small or large Perl jobs and *nix system administration; see my home node.

        but whether off-topic posts should be censored as harshly as they have been so far

        I guess I read different posts than you.

        First, I can't recall a single recent posting that I would characterize as having been "censored harshly".

        Second, in the quick scan of recent nodes marked "OT", I found plenty of cases of both of the categories you called out. Many from the first category included replies as described under your item "2". Many from the second category had hardly a hint of Perl involved (but they were the types of questions that people who do a lot of Perl programming are fairly likely to have some interest in).

        So, just read different threads or shift which ones you have stronger recall of and the problem you perceive is already solved? Or, the problem is with the individuals who are "censoring harshly". Perhaps you should address them?

        Not that I'm retracting my proposal for shifts in documentation. Just suggesting possible perceptual contributors.

        - tye        

    A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by jdporter (Canon) on Jun 05, 2015 at 16:28 UTC

        The "types of discourse" are top-level divisions, chosen by the OP: (1) asking for advice/assistance; (2) sharing (more or less) finished code; (3) thinking out loud...

        The "multiple use/view modes" would be much finer grained -- essentially consisting of heuristically filtering individual nodes from view, using predicates customized by the user.

        So they're pretty much orthogonal, afaict.

        I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by Laurent_R (Canon) on Jun 05, 2015 at 19:04 UTC
    Hmm, I have upvoted your post, because I think it is a good idea to ask the question, but I am not completely convinced it is really a good idea.

    The real added-value of Perl Monks is really the deep collective knowledge of the collective monks on Perl.

    Of course, PM monks collectively have many other competencies. For example, I am sometimes able to answer questions about Unix or sh or bash or or awk or vi or some even more specialized issues (and I do when I can). But am I an expert on these? Not really, most of the time (as an example, I have forgotten almost everything I knew about Python and awk ever since I took up Perl about 12 or 13 years ago). Collectively, people on a Linux forum are more likely to give better answers. Others can respond to Windows questions. But my point is that, on a real Perl question, I think that Perl Monks is really unbeatable (at least on average). But if the question is really off-topics, I am not sure that we are any better than other more specialized forums.

      Laurent_R,

        The real added-value of Perl Monks is really the deep collective knowledge of the collective monks on Perl.
      And I agree!

        But am I an expert on these? Not really.
      But your answers are meant to help, and that sets PM apart, IMHO!

      Because I'm here a lot, I know the monks that want to help and those that want to talk. It helps to put a validity check on the comments/code and whether I want to spend valuable time investigating their solution.

      Regards...Ed

      "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

        Well, dear flexvault, I hope you put me among the category of the monks that want to help. At least, that's what I am trying to do most of the time, although it might happen sometimes that I might be unreceptive. Hopefully very rarely.
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by GotToBTru (Prior) on Jun 05, 2015 at 18:58 UTC

    If we had an OT section here, what would we use the rest of the internet for? ;)

    Dum Spiro Spero
      If we had an OT section here, what would we use the rest of the internet for? ;)

      Reference. Whilst expanding our minds and skills into areas complimentary to Perl.


      With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
      Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
      "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I'm with torvalds on this
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Agile (and TDD) debunked

        Whilst expanding our minds and skills into areas complimentary to Perl.

        If that was what would be in an OT area, it would have my vote as well. Is it pointless to speculate that the potential "anything goes" interpretation of OT might be the sticking point? Would Related Topics be more acceptable? My cursory scan of the list didn't see anything like that.

        Dum Spiro Spero
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Jun 05, 2015 at 16:23 UTC
    What do you think?

    Yes. It should happen. But it won't. (It's been suggested and dismissed several times over the years.)


    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I'm with torvalds on this
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Agile (and TDD) debunked
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by flexvault (Monsignor) on Jun 05, 2015 at 21:48 UTC

    Dear Monks,

      Would 'Related Topics' be more acceptable?
    That would work. ++ to GotToBTru for a better Section name.

      Rules
    PM has lots of rules and I specified in my OP that the "...section should have some relation to Perl". But working with Perl still requires your dealing with a lot of related computer problems.

    Is it too much to be able to ask first at your favorite forum?

    Regards...Ed

    "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

      Would you go to the Post Office to buy groceries?

      Some non-Perl questions are welcomed here -- DB issues, for example because the person raising the question is (or would be well-advised) to use Perl as part of the problem, but I suspect we'd rather quickly reject a "Dear Abby" request for help as OT. I certainly hope so and thus prefer "Related Topics" if we were to add an OT section.

        Would you go to the Post Office to buy groceries?

        Yes, -- I do that regularly. What was your point?

        Anyway, I think an 'Related Topics' section is a good idea, at least regular users would have some idea of the reputation of the responder. It can be very difficult going to a new site as you never know if the answer you've got came from the village idiot or the resident genius.

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by chacham (Prior) on Jun 09, 2015 at 12:13 UTC

    I find it amusing^Winteresting that on-topic posts about off-topic suggestions make some of the best ontological threads. Perhaps we should have a section for that! :)

    PM is such a wonderful site,
    People suggest what they might,
    Others say it is not right.
    The threads have borne out the fight.

    Whether to create a section is topical,
    Though, some say it isn't logical,
    If allowed to be a little comical,
    I would name the section "Ontolopical".

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by salva (Abbot) on Jun 08, 2015 at 17:48 UTC
    I don't know if adding a new OT section to the repository is going to result in any overall improvement.

    What I know is that doing it is not going to harm it or anybody. What's the worst that could happen? an overwhelming number of off-topic questions? common!

      Two things come to mind:

      1. Those amongst us interested in helping on interesting and well-asked OT questions have to check two sections instead of one; for me, I would probably forget the new section entirely, most of the time, and would miss out, and;
      2. It would encourage a splintering of the general sense of focus which is the bond that holds PerlMonks together. We have many and varied interests, and we have much overlap -- hence the value of tolerating OT discussions, within reason, as it builds that sense of community. But a love of Perl is the binding influence that defines the beginning and end of our participation at PerlMonks. I think it would be detrimental to the quality and the future of the Monastery to lose that.

      It is in the balancing of these somewhat dichotamical elements that we endure.

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by oiskuu (Hermit) on Jun 09, 2015 at 11:32 UTC

    Could someone please clarify the How and the Who.

    How would this OT section work? Obviously, one cannot expect the Seekers to know whether a question is "properly" topical. One wouldn't want the Seekers asking if they can ask, or some other meta noise either. Who would be categorizing the nodes, and by what criteria?

    AFAIK, the questions that aren't of interest, shouldn't have been accepted in the first place. If this is the distinction, then you already have an OT section—the graveyard that is unapproved questions. I tend to check the Recently Active Threads, and wouldn't like the Puzzles^WQuestions section being arbitrarily split into two.

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by marinersk (Priest) on Jun 10, 2015 at 07:13 UTC

    The perceived benefits of an OT section benefit some Monks, but are detrimental to others.

    It would, however, work against both of the main traits that make PerlMonks the wonderful site it is: A sense of focus, balanced by a sense of investment in community.

    It is precisely the absence of these two things that makes StackOverflow the occasionally painful place it has become.

    Ultimately, the user-maintained (okay, user-assisted maintenance) nature of PerlMonks leaves the Monastary at some risk of degradation, but we've weathered a few social catastrophes with fairly minimal casualties. I think that alone betokens the wisdom of the balances built into the system the way it is.

    On the surface, an OT section seems like a good idea, but it is divisive by its very nature, and invites a drop in focus. I have to say that we're probably better off continuing to encourage both focus and tolerance (and the requisite judgement needed to balance these roughly opposing concepts), which has been the succcessful path of the Monastery to date.

    All are welcome to refresh themselves at the well of the Monastery; those who stay have found the spirit of Kindred.

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by ambrus (Abbot) on Jun 05, 2015 at 17:11 UTC

    We do have an off-topic section: the Chatterbox. See the Chatterbox FAQ.

      Can you imagine trying ask this via the chatterbox?

      As an aside, within the last 3 days, a relatively neophyte (but exceptionally gifted) monk told me that they were going to quit coming here; in large part because he'd witness an interaction between two monks in the CB that made him feel this place wasn't for him. He wasn't involved; nor even using the CB, he was just distracted and disturbed by it.

      I showed him how to turn the CB off. Something I did almost 13 years ago and have rarely turned back on, (only ever for minutes at a time). and never regretted.

      And, he's still (currently) coming around and interacting; which given his skills and CPAN contributions, is a really good thing.

      But the chaotic, unadjudicated nature of the CB nearly drove him away.

      Beside the shear impracticality of asking a question like 1129204 in 255 char bites; via a 15 char peephole; the reception any one trying would receive there, would make for a very unpleasant experience.

      Whilst an OT section may not be necessary -- in recent months I've had some amazing responses to my frequently somewhat off-topic questions, labeled as such and posted as SoPWs. They still receive a number of knee-jerk down-votes from the "this is a Perl forum" hard-liners; but far less than in years past.

      But, for the most part, the Monk's seem perfectly happy to exercise their wide-ranging, non-Perl knowledge; and vast, combined experience to tackle interesting problems no matter how tenuous a link they might have with Perl. IMO, this is a good thing. It makes this place more interesting and more viable.

      But the CB is categorically NOT a viable alternative to an OT section.


      With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
      Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
      "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I'm with torvalds on this
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Agile (and TDD) debunked
        I definitely agree the CB is not a viable alternative to an OT section.

        And I don't see how it is useful for anything, except perhaps socializing for monks who wish to discuss about the weather or other such subject. I have sometimes answered on the CB (really rarely), but, frankly, I don't see the point of something so limited in terms the length of the message you can post, the time it will be shown and even the clarity of who is answering to whom. In brief, except for a very few exceptions, I am using the CB only for sending a private message to a particular monk, almost never to address the whole community.

        But maybe I am just too old or old-fashioned for some modern technologies.

        "But the CB is categorically NOT a viable alternative to an OT section."

        It can be if you put your question on your scratchpad and use the CB to communicate answers/changes/suggestions.

        UPDATE:
        I would say that it still is a viable alternative and you just have very picky and selective opinions. Just because it doesn't work for you doesn't mean the process is invalid -- it works for others. Why? Because they have more tolerance than you do. You really think you can play the "X is superior to Y" card here? The argument was never which is best, merely that others can do what you seem to not be able to do. Adapt.

        jeffa

        L-LL-L--L-LL-L--L-LL-L--
        -R--R-RR-R--R-RR-R--R-RR
        B--B--B--B--B--B--B--B--
        H---H---H---H---H---H---
        (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)
        
        "As an aside, within the last 3 days, a relatively neophyte (but exceptionally gifted) monk told me that they were going to quit coming here... he'd witness an interaction between two monks in the CB that made him feel this place wasn't for him. He wasn't involved; nor even using the CB, he was just distracted and disturbed by it."

        Thanks that you mention this.

        His very personal sad salute to me made me very thoughtful.

        I don't know what happened but i'm glad that he is still here.

        Regards, Karl

        «The Crux of the Biscuit is the Apostrophe»

        Hello BrowserUk,

          Can you imagine trying ask this via the chatterbox?
        It was that post that prompted my original post. If PM can't help him that's one thing, but to give such negative responses is regrettable.

        Regards...Ed

        "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

        "As an aside, within the last 3 days, a relatively neophyte (but exceptionally gifted) monk told me that they were going to quit coming here; in large part because he'd witness an interaction between two monks in the CB that made him feel this place wasn't for him. He wasn't involved; nor even using the CB, he was just distracted and disturbed by it."

        Your own interaction in this thread has disturbed me. I do not feel safe here with monks like you.

        I am leaving because I feel threatened by you.

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 08, 2015 at 21:47 UTC
    Some people need scratches to itch (that is, make a name for themselves without acquiring skill to do so.)

    But here is a thought -- we can barely fill up the sections we have now. Maybe instead of worrying about whether the post is on or off topic you could instead respect the person's question for what it is, and then either answer it or move on. Experienced users will know how to put OT in the title.

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by LanX (Cardinal) on Jun 06, 2015 at 16:31 UTC
    not an OT section, but a JavaScript section might be a good strategical move.

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
    Je suis Charlie!

      not an OT section, but a JavaScript section might be a good strategical move.

      Not without with some kind of recruitment drive ... stackoverflow has lots of "tags" ... that are virtual deserts of interest ... a js section on perlmonks? that will get attention ?

        We were talking about an OT sections for PM.

        Would that need a recruitment drive?

        This would grow slowly and a marathon doesn't start with a sprint.

        Cheers Rolf
        (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
        Je suis Charlie!

Re: [OT] How about a 'Related Topics' (Off Topic) Section?
by flexvault (Monsignor) on Jun 08, 2015 at 19:10 UTC

    Dear Monks,

    I'm answering myself, but I think now would be the time to add an example of what a 'Related Topics' section could be used for, IMHO.

    Last week, I investigated a client suggestion for better packing of a data base by sorting the input file first. Sounds great, but after sorting a 10 million file on Linux, I didn't get the expected results. After further investigation, I found that Perl and the Linux "sort" command were not compatible with the default behavior. I immediately suspected Perl, but after a lot of searching and testing, I pleasantly found that I was wrong - Perl was correct.

    The default behavior of the Linux "sort" command doesn't sort in ASCII order. My first impulse was to make the monks on PM aware, but then I thought about when I did this in the past, and got comments about "off-topic" and ignored the impulse.

    I don't consider this section for newbies, since they don't care anyway. It's only after being around here for a while, that you care about not angering the good responders( monks ). Maybe this section should only be available by turning it on in your account. Those decisions are for others, but I think it's time for PM to consider this section.

    Thanks for listening.

    Regards...Ed

    "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

        and subsequently full of reasons why we don't need it.

        Full of one reason: the gods -- which currently translates to 'two monks with an exclusive veto' -- don't want to be bothered with it.

        But if you want it then go write and implement it yourself instead of asking others to do your work for you.

        What a crock. Tell a guy that has no access to the code; to "implement it yourself". (That argument sounds familiar: Hi Mono!)

        Is it really so hard? Could not one of the relatively recently removed sections -- Code Catacombs; Craft; Snippet etc. -- simply be re-purposed?

        Inner Scriptorium managed to materialise from nowhere back in September 2004; so it is possible. It didn't seem to require a huge effort; and there were no major disruptions at the time.

        So this isn't about implementation effort or willing volunteers; or valuable time of those empowered to do it:

        Its simply about the willingness (or lack thereof) to recognise what the users want. Users, who are the life blood, and only meaningful reason for this place' continued existence.


        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I'm with torvalds on this
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Agile (and TDD) debunked

        The very first suggestion given to you was I think there should be a new Section on PerlMonks for Jobs/Modules/Quizzes/Perl6/Newbies/OffTopic/etc.. Did you not read it? It is full of examples of what "a 'Related Topics' section could be used for" and subsequently full of reasons why we don't need it. But if you want it then go write and implement it yourself instead of asking others to do your work for you.

        Are you really suggesting somebody go implement their own perlmonks as a way to improve perlmonks?

        Creating a new sections is something that needs no writing/implementation, its already implemented, its as trivial as creating a new question or answering a new question, click the mouse a few times, type a little (title, nodetype, groups), and you're done

        Given you know so little about how perlmonks works, I'm pretty sure you don't know what we need

Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by Discipulus (Abbot) on Jun 26, 2015 at 09:24 UTC
    If anyone is still interested about an OT section, i proposed a poll about the matter.
    L*
    There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
    Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section? (When reason fails...)
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Jun 08, 2015 at 23:20 UTC

    And thus it goes. An nice, polite, civilised discussion; but when their reason and logic falls short; reduce it to a farce by AnonyBombing.


    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I'm with torvalds on this
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Agile (and TDD) debunked
      Actually, it was your bitter intolerance that you failed to contain that warranted others the need to show a mirror to your face.

        Oh you silly boy. So that's what you think you've been doing?

        Never mind. When reality dawns, you have a nice Jeffa cake and a lie down and you'll feel mucherer betterer in the morning.


        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I'm with torvalds on this
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Agile (and TDD) debunked
Re: [OT] How about an Off Topic Section?
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Jun 09, 2015 at 21:55 UTC

    JM2CW ... since there are already so many other sites which invite discussion about “any topic you wish to name,” I personally don’t think that PM needs to join them.   To me, PM is what it always has been:   a crusty old site, visually stuck somewhere in the 19th Century, which nevertheless is “the GOTO site on the Internet, for anything related either to the Perl language or to everyday professional uses of it.”   I frankly don’t see value in making it more of a watering-hole.   That will simply make more work for the gods and other moderators.   (Who, by the way, always do an excellent job.)

    When people find particularly-relevant URL links, they can simply add comments to existing threads which contain these URLs, or create new threads.   I don’t see PM as being ... or, as needing to be ... a “Wiki” of any sort.   You come here to do one of three things:   to ask a question, to answer one, or to perform a Super Search over the site’s old and truly-vast topical database.

    I think that PM needs to continue being what it is:   a place where you can ask any question about Perl (or any of the esoteric ways in which it is being used throughout the planet), and get an authoritative answer ... usually, complete with code samples ... in a matter of minutes or hours.   It is now a very focused group, and I opine that it should stay that way.

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