Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
Problems? Is your data what you think it is?

What's the secret of this community?

by kiat (Vicar)
on Jul 13, 2004 at 05:39 UTC ( #373857=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hi monks,

I've used other forums either as a member or a guest. None of them comes close to the experience I get from this site.

Maybe I'm not an active member in those forums. But when you see more than a handful of 0 reply posts in a number of forum categories, you know something is amiss.

Here, I rarely see a post that's not responded to. Okay, maybe not all the responses are positive ones, but the fact is, every post gets the attention of some people. That's really good because you know someone out there has something to say about your particular problems.

I don't think it's a Perl thing, because there are other Perl forums but they just aren't like this one.

What is the secret? Here are my guesses:

1) the community aspect of this site

2) the fact that it's a focused (as opposed to diverse) community

3) the voting system

What are your opinions?

Update: I realised I missed out the most important element:

4) the people factor

Update2: Very enlightening and interesting comments! Thanks to all for the sharing :)

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by davorg (Chancellor) on Jul 13, 2004 at 08:02 UTC

    The secret is in the barely perceptible "blipvert" page that is briefly displayed before every new page. This page contains hypnotic images which are intended to alter the viewers frame of mind and encourage a feeling of well-being and the desire to be as helpful as possible. Of course, it doesn't always work, but it's effective often enough to make this site far more useful than most other similar sites.

    The technology used to do this is a closely guarded secret and now you know about it we'll have to kill you.


    "The first rule of Perl club is you do not talk about Perl club."
    -- Chip Salzenberg

      You also know about that!

      Seven days... you have seven days...


      You have to be careful though, and not surf through too quickly, as a quick enough succession of blipverts impacting on the visual cortex of a highly sedentary subject can cause an overheating reaction in the medulla oblongata, leading to possible explosion of the skull.
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by SciDude (Friar) on Jul 13, 2004 at 06:03 UTC

    Perl is simple to use but difficult to master. This provides for a huge cross section of learning curve over which to communicate.

    This forum is firmly rooted in perl culture and supported a large base of code this is actually useful.

    People who post here are mostly helpful even when the questions are obviously taken from homework. Many of them are not just users of perl but developers who care about the community. New users seem to find a way to help each other here.

    New users get gentle advice and grizzled old veterans are (mostly) friends here.

    I used this forum for a long time before posting anything. The XP system certainly rewards participation but is not the reason for success here. In fact, for some reason I find my connectivity sometimes very slow to I return for the reasons above.

    The first dog barks... all other dogs bark at the first dog.
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by bradcathey (Prior) on Jul 13, 2004 at 11:54 UTC

    It could just be the number of smart people here and any eager learner of Perl soon realizes that after landing here at the Monastery.

    But that's probably not the real reason— I think it's the sense of community, as kiat points out. For instance, I frequent DevShed, simply because it covers more topics, but I've never felt it was a community. I credit the community at PM to things like:

    • the Chatterbox
    • home nodes
    • scratch pads
    • Monk stats
    • XP system
    • humor
    • monastery metaphor

    (I have some other reasons here)

    Bottom line—my job would be a lot harder without the monks.

    "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up. " G. K. Chesterton
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by gmpassos (Priest) on Jul 13, 2004 at 07:48 UTC
    I think that are the people and the "Perl Way of Life".

    Perl have a spirit to let the people to be free, free to use, to learn, create modules, develop for/over/with Perl.

    Perl is what it is in this days because we have a lot of people developing Perl or modules that are on CPAN. If you take a look, CPAN have more than 3000 developers, now get all the people that work in the Perl CORE, well, much of them walk through the monastery! ;-P

    Now get all the people that are learning Perl, well, actually all of us are learning Perl, since we always have something to learn about Perl. In other words, we can do to much things with Perl in to much ways, and are to much people increasing the Perl resources, what make impossible to learn everything that exists about Perl, and when you think that have learned all you start to invent! ;-P

    Graciliano M. P.
    "Creativity is the expression of the liberty".

Re: What's the secret of this community?
by cchampion (Curate) on Jul 13, 2004 at 07:07 UTC
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by japhy (Canon) on Jul 13, 2004 at 12:37 UTC
    I'd say one important aspect is that so many skilled people from the global Perl community recognize this site. They probably don't know about or whatever other places you go to.
    Jeff japhy Pinyan, P.L., P.M., P.O.D, X.S.: Perl, regex, and perl hacker
    How can we ever be the sold short or the cheated, we who for every service have long ago been overpaid? ~~ Meister Eckhart
      Agree, that's probably a very strong contributing factor towards the magic that makes PM tick.
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by TrekNoid (Pilgrim) on Jul 13, 2004 at 14:20 UTC
    What I see here, that is often missing from other 'community' sites is that the people here care... *passionately* care... about Perl.

    They're not running this site because they seek to have their name associated with 'being in charge'... They aren't doing this for recognition...

    They don't 'like' Perl... they aren't 'fans of' Perl... It goes beyond that... They are passionate about Perl, and knowledgeable, and they want to see it grow.

    That's the difference in players and coaches, players enjoy the game, coaches have a passion to share it.

    And it's the difference in PM and the thousands of other forums... There's a lot of people that enjoy their hobbies... but most of them just want to prove they're "the number one fan", so they start 'forums' with their name on them. They are 'players'.

    PM is a community of coaches.

    At least, that's how I see it.


Re: What's the secret of this community?
by jZed (Prior) on Jul 13, 2004 at 15:41 UTC
    1. We learn from our mistakes. While comp.lang.perl.misc and #perl are useful places, they're also sometimes mean-spirited places. Having seen the potential for that kind of atmosphere, many who come here have an active desire to make Perlmonks have a more positive tone.

    2. There is ample opportunity here for people to actively participate in forming the site's direction. On clpm the only way to show you care about the community is often to lambast OT posts. Here you contribute by posting, by becoming a member of one of the site-editor groups, by talking in the CB, etc. People who feel they are active participants can take ownership and therefore a sense of responsibility for what happens.

    3. I think the CB is very important in that it allows us to get to know one another much more fully than we can with a usenet posting or in an IRC chatroom where only the regulars are allowed to say off topic things. Having both the CB and the posting area is also great because we all recognize there is a place for serious Perl and a place for non-serious chatter so both aspects have an outlet but they don't interfere with each other.

    4. The fact that we are building something permanent - a repository of categorized and rated information about perl. Sure there are usenet archives and IRC logs, but PM has a much more obvious and usable identity as a repository.

    5. The fact that there are a few key people whom we all recognize as experts in the subject matter and who also maintain an even tone in their repsonses and a fairness in their god-powers.

    6. The fact that there is a hierarchy here, but that it is a) open, b) usually fair, and c) that we make fun of it's hierarchical nature.

Re: What's the secret of this community?
by talexb (Canon) on Jul 13, 2004 at 14:49 UTC

    Part of it is the XP -- that's the hook that kept me coming back at the beginning. Gradually the allure faded, and now that my XP is up there (I was #65 the last time I checked), I come back to visit a little less often.

    But I think the answer's already been given -- because Perl awakens a need for community in people, and while Perl is a very cool tool for geeks to use, it's also about the community.

    The community aspect of it is a big deal. Think about a YAPC event -- lots of geeks who under normal circumstances don't make eye contact except with their laptop, instead are cruising around and chatting with their neighbours. I got a chance to go over to talk to Larry Wall for a bit at the YAPC 19100 dinner; he's a totally down-to-earth guy. Folks are helpful; it sort of like a meritocracy.

    Another angle that's also been mentioned is that there are a lot of bright people around. Reminds me of starting university -- the professor would crack a rather esoteric joke, and unlike high school, where me and a few friends would get it, half the class would laugh. It's really stimulating being around so many bright people.

    I find SlashDot amusing; it has a simpler voting process: nodes max out at +5 and min out at -1. Ones 'karma' is related to the nodes one posts .. I was on my personal page on SlashDot a while back and saw that my karma was 'excellent' .. that's nice. SlashDot is interesting, but some of the posts are duplicates and some are just plain misguided, but there's enough interesting stuff that I go back every once in a while.

    I like to help out, stay in touch with a few people so that when I have a question, there's somewhere I can go. Beats banging my head against the wall for an hour. With PerlMonks, I can cut that down to ten minutes, then I clean up the broken drywall and spilled coffee and post my query.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    Life is short: get busy!

Re: What's the secret of this community?
by Juerd (Abbot) on Jul 13, 2004 at 10:52 UTC
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by zentara (Archbishop) on Jul 13, 2004 at 14:39 UTC
    Sh....don't mention this to anyone, but a large proportion of the monks here are actually aliens from outer space. We are on a "mission from God" to save the world from Visual Basic and Java.

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh
Re: What's the secret of this community?
by exussum0 (Vicar) on Jul 15, 2004 at 10:58 UTC
    Well, for one, I think there is a great set of people who run the site. They aren't fanatics. Quite open to suggestions. I can't say that they do, but they act as if they are there to serve their community. Maybe it's a bit of an ego trip to say, "Here. We've built the pool and play life guard."

    From that, they grant everyone (in short time) almost similar powers, using their own higher powers to either improve on the site structure or "protect" it. We all can vote and show our own approval/disapproval of content. Take any user and look at their lowest and highest rep'd nodes. As a whole, usually, not all the time, makes the right decision on using their votes. There are some high and low ranking nodes that I don't agree with, but we are all entitled to opinions, no? :)

    On top of it, we all have a common interest. What it is, is hard to say. 'cause It's not just perl. (Someone will poke fun at me 'cause I do know java. I'm of the few monks who like both java and perl and study them deeply). Look at the discussions you see on just general programming, on interacting with the community, on poetry, and if asked correctly, security.

    It's not just the more general idea of the community aspect of the site, because you can go to some places, ask a question, and get treated like crap from everyone w/. We are a community that wishes to grow and become something better. Here, if you get flamed, it's either because you refuse to listen on how to get help, or someone is being an idiot. In the latter case, they are acting on their own and not as a group of idiots. But on par, you will have someone help you get to the answer, regardless how well you ask it.

    Bart: God, Schmod. I want my monkey-man.

Re: What's the secret of this community?
by muba (Priest) on Jul 16, 2004 at 18:53 UTC
    Another very important factor that's not yet mentioned, I think, is that you can customise almost everything.
    You can use CSS to change the look-and-feel. You can select themes to have even more power of the way CSS behaves. You can select which nodelets you want to see and which you don't want to see. TIMTOWTDI: you can check for new nodes using the New Nodes link or by category by using the Monastery Gates, SoPW, Discussions, Cool Uses for Perl etc links.
    There is the Personal Nodelet in which you can put links to nodes or even to other pages.
    There is the home node in which you can say who you are in every way you want. There are the scratch pads which allow you to easily store notes, reminders and/or links on the site, be it public or private (and with the recent change you can have both public and private scratch pads!).

    "2b"||!"2b";$$_="the question"

Log In?

What's my password?
Create A New User
Node Status?
node history
Node Type: monkdiscuss [id://373857]
Approved by grinder
Front-paged by Old_Gray_Bear
and all is quiet...

How do I use this? | Other CB clients
Other Users?
Others cooling their heels in the Monastery: (4)
As of 2018-06-25 01:27 GMT
Find Nodes?
    Voting Booth?
    Should cpanminus be part of the standard Perl release?

    Results (126 votes). Check out past polls.