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User since: Mar 24, 2000 at 10:26 UTC (22 years ago)
Last here: Apr 21, 2009 at 22:48 UTC (13 years ago)
Experience: 8374
Level: Parson (16)
Writeups: 773
Location:-0500: but you knew that from the line below, right?
User's localtime: Nov 29, 2021 at 11:22 -05
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This homenode is severly outdated, as I rarely have time to visit here anymore. Consider me on an extended sabbatical to Strange Lands.

PGP Key: 0x14964AC8

Hrmm...this node is getting a bit messy. Here's a quick and dirty list of the stuff here:

Tips and Tricks

Here are some things that may help you enjoy perlmonks. Some are elsewhere on the site, some (as of this writing anyways) are not.

Exploring the Monastery

Here is a quick guide to some of the more interesting, popular, or esoteric nooks and crannies of our cloister:

Drop me a /msg if you know of somethingthat should be added.

PerlMonks Issues

Some of the things that have been discussed about the monastery. If you have additions or corrections, let me know.


Voting is a very controversial topic here at the Monastery. Learn about voting at the Voting/Experience System node, then take a look at the Faqlet on Voting Guidelines. The following are some of the voting issues that have arisen:


The experience system correlates closely with voting, as casting votes on a node, or receiving votes from others on your nodes, are the primary means of receiving XP. (Yes, there are other ways, such as winning a quest, but these are the exception). Some of the issues encountered so far:


Searching, and it's gigantic, pumped-up cousin Super Search, are a welcome addition to the monastery. Still, there are two big things that are very commonly requested. The rest of the list is mostly variations on those themes:


Ah, the chatterbox, that wonderful, aggravating, ephemeral, ever-changing, very often fantastically off-topic glimpse into the heart of the Monastery! Learn more about it at the Chatterbox FAQ, then try out the <A HREF=">fullscreen version. If that still is not enough, check out the list of Chatterbox Clients, written by various monks, to further enhance your um...chatting experience. :) If you get too many messages, you can view them at the Message Inbox node.


Moderation is a feature that allows higher level monks to help make the Monastery a little less chaotic. Read about it here. Both Corion and footpad have nodes dicussing the nuances of moderating.


Posting - the heart of the system. Probably no other part of the Monastery has undergone so many changes. It has come a long way. Beyond the basics, make sure you know about the Perl Monks Approved HTML tags as well as the proper way to create shortcuts to all sorts of things. Some other suggestions:


Not too many issues here - most are regarding the behavior of the many-faced Anonymous Monk:


Keywords are a feature that has not really come into its own yet. I'd like to see HTML filtered out, and there are some good discussions about them by nuance and again by nuance.

Look and Feel

Suggestions on how the site appears and how it acts are gathered here. Most are probably very easy to implement. (hint, hint) :)

Things to Update/Fix

These are some small problems need fixing in the Monastery:

Newest Nodes

The Newest Nodes is a great feature at the Monastery - most monks who have been here a while visit that and not the main page. Lots of people have made suggestions about how to improve this area:
(note: check out the Perl/Tk Newest Nodes Client which may be just what you were looking for)


Making your way around the monastery can be tricky, especially for beginners. Check out the What section should I post this in page for a good des‎crip‎tion of the various parts of the Monastery. Some thoughts on navigation:


Once you have created a PerlMonks account, there are a lot of customization options you can use to make your time here easier. This has come a long way, but there are still some things to consider:

New Things

Many new sections and things have been suggested to enhance the monastery:

Chatterbox FAQ++

What is the Chatterbox?

A: The Chatterbox is a nodelet that appears on the right-hand side of your screen and allows you to "talk" publicly with other users in the monastery. It also allows you to exchange private messages to/from other users. It is the best place to go if you have a quick perl question that needs answering.

Who can use it?

A: Viewing the Chatterbox is available to anyone, even Anonymous Monks, but you must be logged in to to say anything.

How do I refresh the screen without posting something again?

A: Hit the talk button again. Remember that the talk button in the Chatterbox submits a form via POST, so refreshing your browser will post the same information again. To refresh, simply hit the talk button without typing any message. Nothing will appear, and the page will be updated. This is also a good trick for any page on which you have just POSTed something and want to refresh it.

How do I use it?

A: Just type in the textbox at the bottom of the Chatterbox, and everything you type will appear after your name. There are also some special commands you can use, all of which start with a slash. Warning: Typos, such as the infamous "/msh" will appear as if it was a normal string. The following commands must be types exactly as they appear (but they are case-insensitive):

What sort of things are discussed in the Chatterbox?

Everyting and anything!! Topics tend to lean towards perl (naturally). Unix and current events pop up often too, but in general, anything goes.

I can say anything? Is it moderated in any way?

Only insofar that you may be /ignore'd by other people if you are really bothersome. The Perlmonks community is generally a very friendly, open place, and the Chatterbox is one of the strongest indications of this.

How do send a message to somebody with a space in their username?

s/ /_/g; (in other words, just replace any spaces with an underscore.)

I came in late to a conversation. Is there anyway to see older messages?

No. The Chatterbox is meant as a very temporary place to post things. Some of the other Chatterbox clients may have some sort limited scrolling. Also see the next question.

Are the messages logged anywhere? I don't want my conversations being recorded!

The Chatterbox is traditionally not logged, but anyone is free to do so. Search engines like Google have been known to "Capture" a moment in time from the Chatterbox as they cache a copy of a page from PerlMonks. To be safe, never say anything in the Chatterbox that you would not say in any other public forum.

How many private messages (via /msg) can appear in the Chatterbox at one time?

Ten. Once you receive more than that, a small message will appear after your tenth message suggesting that you go to the Message Inbox page to see the rest of them.

Are there other ways to view the Chatterbox?

Of course! In addition to the Message Inbox which allows you to view all your private messages at once, other monks have written various clients to access the Chatterbox. Most use ZZamboni's module: see his home node for a list of current clients you can try.

What is the maximum length of a message?

A: The maximum limit is 255 characters. If you really have the need to say more, you will have to break it up into multiple messages.

What happens if I send a message to a user who does not exist?

A: This usually happens when you forget to put in the <username> before your private message. Unless the first word in your message happens to be a current user, you will get a message back from root. For example, if I was trying to ask jcwren about the eating habits of geckos, and mistyped:
/msg How fast can a gecko eat a cricket?

then the user "How" would receive the strange message "fast can a gecko eat a cricket?" Otherise, I will receive this message in my inbox:

root says You tried to say "How fast can a gecko eat a cricket?", but How does not exist on this system!

How long do public messages stay in the Chatterbox?

A: Messages stay about five minutes, or sooner if they are "pushed off the top" because the chatterbox is busy. The Chatterbox will generally hold about 10 messages before the oldest one (at the top) gets pushed off to make room for new messages.

How can I tell who I have already ignored?

A: Unfortunately, you cannot. Once you have ignored somebody with the /ignore command, you must remember that they are ignored.

Can I tell who is listening when I talk?

A: You can look at the list of names in the Other Users nodelet for a general idea, but not all of the people listed there are reading the Chatterbox, and not all of the people reading the Chatterbox are listed in Other Users. There is a very high correlation, however, as most monks read the Chatterbox.

How can I move the Chatterbox higher up on my screen?

A: You can change the position of the Chatterbox and all other nodelets by going to your home node and selecting the user settings link at the bottom of the page. Note that there are two nodelet ordering sections, one for the frontpage and one for non-frontpage nodelets.

This is kind of like irc!! Is there a perlmonks irc channel?

A: The channel #perlmonks exists on irc via

I could have sworn I just saw the NodeReaper in the chatterbox!

A: No area of the monastery is safe from the NodeReaper!

Why FAQ++?

A: We already have a Chatterbox FAQ. Consider this the upgraded version. :)

Posting FAQ

What is posting?

A: Posting is the process of creating or editing a node on the PerlMonks site. Usually this is done to ask or to answer a question. PerlMonks is made up of a large number of interconnected nodes, and uses the Everything Engine.

How do I post?

A: It is highly recommended, but not necessary, that you get a PerlMonks account before posting. Once you have something to say, just type type your text into the TEXTAREA box on the screen and hit the preview or the submit button. Keep in mind that everything you type will be treated as HTML (with some exceptions, see below), so things will not necessarily appear the same as how you typed them. The preview button is highly recommended for this reason!

How is text posted to PerlMonks different from normal HTML?

A: There are three major differences between "normal" HTML and text typed into PerlMonks:

  1. Special linking of text enclosed by left and right brackets ( [ and ] )

    If you put brackets around your text, PerlMonks will turn that text into a special hyperlink. (However, this does not happen within CODE tags). There are many different kind of links, but the most common is a simple named link to another node on the PerlMonks site. For example, if you type in:

    My favorite function is [seek].

    it will appear as:

    My favorite function is seek.

    Notice how the word seek has been turned into a hyperlink to the PerlMonks node of the same name.

    See the "How do I link" question for other types of links.

  2. Special formatting of text within CODE tags.

    The CODE tags allow you to get around the problem that the left and the right bracket are commonly used within perl s‎crip‎ts. Any time you post a snippet of code, you should wrap it in CODE tags, which does three things for you:

    • Suppresses the automatic linking of things in left and right brackets.
    • Preserves all whitespace, e.g. newlines, spaces, and tabs. (with a PRE tag)
    • Makes the type appear different so that it stands out from the rest (with a TT tag)

  3. Filtering of non-approved HTML tags
  4. Tags will be silently discarded if they do not appear in the list of approved HTML tags.

How do I make the [ and ] symbols?

A: Use &091; and &093;

The left bracket [ and right bracket ] have special meaning within PerlMonks nodes, so they must be escaped if you really want to use them. Note that you do not need to escape brackets within text surrounded by CODE tags, as this special PerlMonks linking feature is turned off within those tags.

How do I make the < and > symbols?

A: Use &lt; and &gt;

The "less-than" < and greater-than > are used to create HTML tags. Therefore, if you really want to make them, you must use the special HTML code. Text surrounded by PRE tags do not need this escaping. In a PerlMonks node, text inside CODE tags is automatically wrapped in PRE tags, so you do not need to escape these characters within CODE tags either.

How do I link to something on PerlMonks?

A: Linking is done by enclosing text in between a left bracket and a right bracket. A link will be created that tries to link to a node by that name. You can also change the name of what appears as the text of the hyperlink by putting a left bracket, the name to link to, a "pipe" character ( | ), the text to show, and then a right bracket. Some examples:

If you type in... It will appear as...
They [seek] him here. They seek him here.
The NodeReaper has a cool [NodeReaper|home node]! The NodeReaper has a cool home node!
Have you seen the [Newest Nodes] page? Have you seen the Newest Nodes page?
Have you seen the [Newest Nodes|Newest Nodes page]? Have you seen the Newest Nodes page?

What other type of special links are there?

A: Here is the complete list of links you can make within PerlMonks:

Type of link Des‎crip‎tion Example
Normal link:
Link to a PerlMonks node named "foo" Have you tried using [unpack]?
Have you tried using unpack?
Named link:
Link to a PerlMonks node named "foo",
and make it appear as "bar"
Here is some [Perl Racer|obfuscated code]!
Here is some obfuscated code!
Offsite link:
Link to another site ("foo") with an HREF tag,
and make it appear as "bar".
Why not visit [|Slashdot]?
Why not visit Slashdot?
Node_id link:
Link to a specific node by the node_id number "foo",
and make it appear as "bar"
[id://58373|Perl Love] conquers all.
Perl Love conquers all.
CPAN module link:
Link to something on CPAN with the name "foo",
and make it appear as "bar".
Try using [cpan://Benchmark|]
Try using
Book link:
Link to a book at by ISBN # "foo",
and make it appear as "bar".
The [isbn://1565922573|"owl book"] covers regular expressions.
The "owl book" covers regular expressions.

How do find out the node_id of a certain page?

A: If you are on the page itself, just look at the URLS of any of the links on the page that end in lastnode_id=xxxxx and xxxxx will be the node_id of the page you are on. Try finding the node_id of this very page with this link to the Newest Nodes page. This should show that you are on currently on node 6041. (unless this FAQ has moved!!)

On most browsers, the URL information shows in the browser's status bar when you hold the mouse pointer over the link, but, if you are desperate, you could always view the source of the page directly.

Why do some of the Submit buttons say "Stumbit"?

A: Just a little bit of humor, it does the same thing. Who says monks don't have any fun? :)

Why can't I edit some of my nodes anymore?

A: Most top-level nodes are not editable once you submit them. That's why there is a "Preview" button. Go over your post very well, for you will not be able to change it once you select "Submit".

What is a "top-level" node?

A: A top-level node is any node that is not a reply to someone else's node. This is usually starting a new discussion, asking a new question, posting a new piece of code, etc.

Which top-level nodes *are* editable?

A: First, here is everything that is not editable. Once you create these, you cannot change them:

Here is a list of things that can be changed once you create them:

How can I delete one of my nodes?

A: The best you can do is to make an Editor Requests petition. If the node is a part of Q&A, you can also send a /msg to a Q&A Editor.

Who is the NodeReaper? How can he have negative writeups?

A: The NodeReaper's main job is to "harvest" posts that the community feels is of no value. These can be duplicate posts, off-topic posts, trolls, or anything else. All monks at level 6 or higher can nominate a post to the Nodes to Consider page. Once it has been moved there, all level 6 or higher monks can vote to delete it, keep it, or edit it. Once a post has a certain number of "delete" votes (currently 5) without having reached a certain number of "keep" votes (currently 2), the NodeReaper will swoop in and claim the node. Once he does, ownership of the node is transferred from the original owner to the NodeReaper. The node's content is replaced with a short message containing a link to the original text. The reason for the node's deletion (as entered by the level 6+ monk who nominated the node) is shown at the top of the node. Any future votes on the node will go towards the NodeReaper, and not the original poster of the node. The negative writeups is because NodeReaper has no need to obey the normal laws of physics in the Monastery - you'll have to ask *him* what the number means. :)

Why not the Posting FAQ++

A: Because the "Posting FAQ" was free! :)

Questions and comments welcome!