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Five years ago I joined perlmonks. Before we discussed a strange regex feature on the German Perl IRC channel, and it spilled over to perlmonks. My first post came out anonymously, but I believe it is the only node I ever wrote anonymously.

Obviously I enjoy my time here, and I want to reflect on some positive and negative aspects of perlmonks. Positive things first:

  • Great community; most questions get answered quite well and fast
  • Friendly, helpful and witty community
  • The CB catches most off-topic discussions
  • Very nice link syntax ([mod://CGI], [doc://$@] etc)
  • Motivating and IMHO fair XP system

Most of my critisms relates to the technical aspects of perlmonks, which shows its age:

  • Poor Unicode support (try to use non-Latin-1 characters in <code> blocks)
  • Poor hackability: it's closed source, and even if you get access to the source, it's hard to set up a test system, and to get started hacking
  • Unnecessary high barrier to entrance. Why does one have to use <p> or <br> tags to get a somewhat readable node?
  • I feel that somtimes trolls get too much attention. I don't have a good solution for that, but sometimes I feel there must be more that could be done. (Maybe grey out nodes with reputation <= -5, hide them and their subtrees by default, and abolish Worst Nodes?)

I firmly believe that these problems are solvable, though I don't see myself in the position to solve them.

Most importantly I want to thank all the monks for teaching me incredible amounts about Perl and about Programming, and for providing me with interesting problems to think about.

In reply to Five Years at the Monastery by moritz

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