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Since tilly asked, or rather queried...
For what it's worth, I was one of the PM users who /told him what I thought about the situation. My opinions, etc. And while I'm generally loathe to get involved in site politics, I think I'll "contribute" here.
I've been on PM since February of this year, and while that doesn't by any means give me some sort of superiority, it *does* give me perspective. Let's get straight into it: my main problem with PerlMonks is this very sense of community described in this thread by zzamboni. The "community" of PerlMonks presents itself as an accepting, helpful place where new Perl users can ask anything, and shouldn't feel ashamed about it. Sure, they should do some work on their own, but they shouldn't feel initimidated like they might posting on comp.lang.perl.misc.
This is a noble idea.
The problem is, the "community" that I've seen on PerlMonks doesn't reflect this ideal.
That's too general a statement, of course. And yes, I've definitely seen many PerlMonks regulars trying their best to be helpful to newbies, rather than simply cursing them out.
But at the same time, I've seen a very disturbing amount of nasty cliquey (not to mention borderline misogynistic, but that's another issue) behavior. Certain users--no names, mainly because I don't know whether these users would like be used as "examples"--have simply to make a post to have it voted down.
There is a very cliquey element of PerlMonks that makes it a rather ugly place to be, at times. This element is, I think, what leads to things like tilly's posts getting voted down; it's a gang mentality that seems to be motivated in part by the voting system. I don't know whether it becames a game, or a contest, to see how low a node's reputation can go. But it's just not fun to watch.
What's worse, many of the users who I've personally seen ambushed--ambushed right out of the purported welcoming party that is PerlMonks--have been very experienced Perl users. Some have been battered about, have left for a bit, but have come back. Which is wonderful. But others haven't come back, and that's a real shame. Because every time this "community" drives away a Perl user--any user, but particularly one with a vast amount of experience--make no mistake: it is a *loss* for the community.
Maybe it comes down to this: it is my opinion that a user who regularly makes excellent, helpful posts on Perl is far more important to this "community" than someone who's always perfectly polite in his/her responses.
And it seems that this opinion just is basically at odds with the PerlMonks philosophy, which seems to, in times of conflict, value the vague sense of "community" over helpful, interesting, and, I'd even go so far to say, *correct*, posts. Which will probably get this node dropped down to about -500 in reputation. :)
Now I don't want to give the impression that I don't like PerlMonks. I truly enjoy the site, and I've learned about Perl by helping other people learn. Which is a very positive thing. Nor am I suggesting that I have better ideas how to run the "community". I don't. And I'm not saying that this is the only Perl group out there blighted by egos. It isn't.
It is, however, one of the first I've seen that, despite these problems, goes so far as to act as if it's a warm, accepting community. And it isn't, always.
Anyway, I hate writing this kind of stuff. So I'll stop.