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I rather happen to like this idea. I realize that I have a lot of XP, but that is due in large part to my contributions to the Monastery and not due to my Perl skill. So all things considered, while I do feel that I have earned my "Sainthood", I do worry that it may unfairly represent my Perl skill as being higher than it actually is. This, of course, raises another issue that I've been giving a lot of thought to lately.

Many of us are familiar with merlyn's /(?:in)?famous/ comment "You must be 'this high' to program Perl." Frankly, I think he is correct, but not necessarily for the reasons that others may think.

Perl is an easy language to learn. It is not an easy language to learn well (quick - what problems arise with Carp when multiple objects inherit from the same base class?). Since Perl allows the programmer to have a great deal of control -- and doesn't do a lot of hand-holding -- many inexperienced programmers shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly with the language. Unfortunately, it's so easy to create those oh-so-sexy dynamic Web pages with Perl that many people are attracted to language. This causes a problem: many people who don't know how to program learn Perl.

I'm sure many of us have heard about Matt's Script Archive. His scripts, while they seem "professional" to the inexperienced eye (hence his popularity), are terrible. Even when he patches yet another security hole, more crop up. He commits all of the cardinal sins of Perl/CGI programming, yet people keep using his stuff because they don't know any better.

So what the heck does this have to do with my Perl ability? Simple: there are so many people who use Perl that I definitely consider myself one of the better Perl programmers. I say this in interviews and can generally back it up. Yet amongst those who have a serious programming background, I am definitely a middle-of-the-road Perl programmer, no question about it. By the first category, I deserve to be a Saint. By the second, maybe a Monk. If you're familiar with the seven stages, I think I'm about the "Perl adept" level. So am I "this high" and can I program Perl? Yeah, I think I'm there, but I used to not be.

This is all a roundabout way of getting to my point. Those monks who think they haven't earned their 'points' are wrong. It's not just Perl skill, it's contribution to the Monastery. Heck, as of this writing, my third and fourth highest rated posts are Before You Post ... and Eulogy for the chatterbox respectively. Neither of those deals with Perl. Frankly, I was embarrassed by this, but fortunately, my two highest rated posts are now both very Perl-centric (and this just happened in the last week!).

In short, don't feel guilty for earning XP. It's not just about Perl, it's also about the community. If all you know is how to write simple scripts, but you help others with those, that's fine.

But I'd still like to have more levels :)


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In reply to (Ovid - Black Diamond revisited) Re: time for new highs? by Ovid
in thread time for new highs? by jptxs

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