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Module Users

by artist (Parson)
on Aug 07, 2003 at 04:22 UTC ( #281740=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

When you use a CPAN module other than your standard modules, chances are that you can gain practical insight for your problem by other users of similar module(s).

We can setup a mechanism here, where you can become a "module user" and add a module to your 'used modules' list.

A search mechanism can reveal the 'most current users' of 'the module' with whom you can strike up the conversation, which could be problem domain specific rather than just Perl or that module specific. Also other 'module users' would be able to share common wisdom for the module in addition of what 'module author' has to say.

Being aware that problem in question should be the center of the attention, I think that the references via the modules would be useful unless and untill we categorize problems domain-wise including cross-descipline domains.

It will also promote the good use of modules and in the process may establish a formal mechanism of checking the references for modules.

However much of this goes through SOPW, I think a formal mechanism would be more useful in this reagard.


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Module Users
by dbwiz (Curate) on Aug 07, 2003 at 06:19 UTC

    You may find the results in Favourite modules March 2002 and Favourite modules April 2003 useful.

    I agree with Albannach that it would be difficult to establish who are the experts in a given module. However, you may assume that the top modules in each list are ones that the lister uses the most, and then you can go and start a conversation.

Re: Module Users
by Albannach (Prior) on Aug 07, 2003 at 04:56 UTC
    I think I see what you're after, but how would "most current" be defined? Would I have to tell The Monastery every time I use something? That seems somewhat prone to abandonment ;-). If most current was based on last log-in time then it would not indicate how recent the module experience is.

    I have noticed some monks list their favorite modules on their home nodes. I think we can also safely assume that module authors (of which there are plenty that admit to it here) also know their modules well. Perhaps monks who wish to be available for assistance with certain specific modules could list them on their home nodes, then a Super Search limited to user nodes would be helpful and fast, without requiring any additional work.

    If you're looking for domain-specific discussion areas, I suspect that many already exist and you are already familiar with the ones relevant to you. I'm not sure this is the best place to start any number of highly specific discussion areas though, but at the same time you can still ask bioperl-specific questions (as you note) and get responses - can you elaborate on what is missing?

    I'd like to be able to assign to an luser

Re: Module Users
by DrHyde (Prior) on Aug 07, 2003 at 08:14 UTC
    This sounds like an extended version of Leon Brocard's cpanstats. Although I believe that it's not working at the moment because Leon just moved to a new server and is still rebuilding stuff. cpanstats is only about producing summary data though, not about finding who is using what.

    When I have my module author hat on, I would indeed find it useful to know what sorts of platforms my code is being used on, and who is using it on weird platforms like VMS and Windows that I can't test on. But I can also understand the concern of some people that they don't want to publicise which modules they use. I can even understand why some people might not want to let the author know. So I ask for feedback, and I try to give people an incentive to give me feedback. Bug reports and feature requests from people who I've heard from before get a higher priority.

Re: Module Users
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Aug 07, 2003 at 07:03 UTC
    This sounds a bit like shops giving away "customer cards", which they use to track who buys what, so they can send out targetted junkmail.

    I don't fancy the idea to tell the world which modules I use or don't use.


      As much as I enjoy blind cynicism, I can't find a point here. Spam really doesn't cost anything significant to send. If all the CPAN user's email addresses were made public it doesn't matter if a list of "used" modules is as well - it would be more economical to just spam everyone.

      However, to further the worthy cause of undiscriminating negativity, you may wish to consider the following replies:

      • Hello! Security! Now everyone will know what modules I use, then they'll look at their source code, then they'll find bugs, then they'll learn how to exploit those bugs, then they'll find my system, then they'll use it to illegally download N'Sync mp3s! Then the RIAA will have me thrown in jail for life! AAAHHHHHH.... where's my tinfoil hat when I need it?
      • People will look at which modules I'm using, then if they have problems and the author isn't available, and they don't ask in a public forum, they might randomly select a user of that module, and that might be me! Then I wouldn't be able to get any work done and would have to spend all my time flaming people because I can't just ignore an email! AHHHHH!
      • People will realize I don't do any serious coding and just play around with Acme:: modules all day... Then they'll find where I work and tell my boss! Then I'll get in trouble and he'll make me program in COBOL...

      Sorry, I went too far on that last one. Nobody should joke about COBOL... I'll show myself out.



        Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Module Users
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Aug 07, 2003 at 09:07 UTC

    I don't dislike the idea per se. However, I don't see the point.

    It makes module users an additional line of support for the modules they use, which I don't think everyone will be willing to be. On the other hand, for the modules I particularly like and feel qualified to talk about, I'm already subscribed to the relevant mailing lists.

    In other words, I don't think it will work because those who have some incentive of their own already try to contribute accordingly, while those who don't will likely not use the new system.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      Here's an idea that I havn't heard before -- make every CPAN version-stripped distribution automagicly also be a mailing list, to which the author is automaticly subscribed. (IOW, by uploading a Acme-SAndM-6.66.tar.gz, a ML is created, and you are subscribed.) Then, there's automaticly a ML for each module, without the module author having to go to the trouble of begging for one, and Ask (or somebody) setting one up. Users now know where to turn for help. Even better, allow authors to change where that alias goes -- for example, if they want to upload a DateTime-Myan-12.13.tar.gz, but have support requests go to the main datetime list, then they can do that.

      Warning: Unless otherwise stated, code is untested. Do not use without understanding. Code is posted in the hopes it is useful, but without warranty. All copyrights are relinquished into the public domain unless otherwise stated. I am not an angel. I am capable of error, and err on a fairly regular basis. If I made a mistake, please let me know (such as by replying to this node).

Re: Module Users
by naChoZ (Curate) on Aug 07, 2003 at 12:32 UTC
Re: Module Users
by crouchingpenguin (Priest) on Aug 07, 2003 at 11:30 UTC

    The easiest way would be to have CPAN provide download statistics... but we already know how they feel about that.

    "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
Re: Module Users
by mojotoad (Monsignor) on Aug 07, 2003 at 14:59 UTC
    Nice thought...

    There are existing alternatives that are worth mentioning:

    • If the module has a mailing list, go look at the archives for "recent" (as defined by you) activity and strike up a conversation with the participants. I have personally received email in response to year-old posts of mine on mailing lists or news groups along the lines of "did you ever get that solved..."
    • If not a mailing list, then perhaps the author could be of assistance unless they explicitly say not to contact them.
    • Ask in SoPW. People will chime in if they've used it -- and sometimes the author will as well. Lots of lurkers here on PM.


Re: Module Users
by artist (Parson) on Aug 07, 2003 at 15:57 UTC
    Ok, I heard you all.

    Privacy: No one is forcing you. Do only if you are willing to do so and only for the modules you are interested discussing. You may edit your list anytime.

    Mailing List for every module: Idea has merit as all the useful discussion about a particular module would be centralized. Somehow I don't feel ok about it at this point as the real aspect is problem and not the module. Also I would love to have well-integrated mechanism with my perlmonks inbox.

    Current Mailing List for Modules/Domain at : I admit, I am not a heavy user of these lists and may be that is why I see the PerlMonks as a good platform to have more communication channels of such sort where we have excellent user-base already.

    Statistics: My original idea has to do with listing, promoting modules and helping other users rather than with the stats.

    My Overall Motivation: To provide a platform which encourage to bring people together who work on similar tasks (may be referenced via modules) and promoting useful modules to make task easier, rather sharing just the information in Q/A formats.

    Listing on Home node within some 'tags': I really like this idea as we can use super-search as per albannach as well as in what nachoz suggested.

    Discussion Mechanism: You can /msg for example, to 'Module-Group' (ex.. File::Find::Rule) and all the users who are interested in discussing that module can receive the message in their 'inbox' at perlmonks (of course, you can ignore the user if you don't like) and then you can choose to answer to entire group or just the specific user. Then you can have private /msg or email exchanges with the interested users if you like.
    The advantage is that you don't need to search for the module-authors/users all the time and gives you instant platform for module discussion to only the interested users without generating much traffic. The platform can be also be used to encourage use of new and useful modules keeping your development efforts up-to-date.
    Alternative forms for discussion mechanism can be thought upon as well. Also if this is going to put too much load on perlmonks, a parallel site to do this can serve the purpose.


      But why and how would a /msg File-Find-Rule-people reach any more F::F::R enthusiasts any sooner than posting the same question in SOPW would? And how do you record these discussions so they can be super searched?

      Makeshifts last the longest.

        Good Point. In that case an option would be to have module centric node or have node associated with module(s) and relavant group(s) can be notified by message when they want to 'keep and eye' on certain module discussion. It has definite potential to draw the attention faster. Also node association with modules would make supersearch more effective.

        By having the 'module list' associated with user (either via home node or personal settings) in conjuction with search mechanism, it would provide learning of new modules faster than ever as current community interest can be measured to some degree of quantitative and qualitative aspects and encouraged.

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