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Postings from January 2002
Comm. Unity - (was Re: CPP Namespace pollution)
From: Bryan C. Warnock
January 25, 2002 11:00
Comm. Unity - (was Re: CPP Namespace pollution)
Message ID: 20020125190017.IUGC7783.femail39.sdc1.sfba.home.com@there
On Friday 25 January 2002 14:19, Wizard wrote:
> > See the FAQ.
> This really isn't a very good answer for several reasons (I know the
> answer, but that doesn't matter):
> 1.> There is no link to the FAQ on the Perl6 page (that I could find
> (http://www.panix.com/~ziggy/parrot.html - I think this it)
> 2.> "See the FAQ" for what? Not using CPP? Not asking stupid questions?
> There were a lot of complaints about this in the past regarding the newbie
> community, and we really need to make an extra effort to ensure that
> parrot doesn't get bad press by repeating the same mistakes. RTFM is often
> just the lazy man's answer (even if it is often the right answer - "Is it
> plugged in?").
It's also very Simon-esqe. That's not to praise or condemn his rhetoric,
but just to acknowledge it. Now, certainly, someone new to the community
won't recognize that, and may even believe that the community is one robotic
army of Simons.
That, too, isn't necessarily Simon's fault. If anything, it's largely our
fault, for allowing, through our silence, Simon to speak on our behalf in
those situations. Not only are different viewpoints necessary for a
community, but oftentimes different expressions of the same viewpoint are
necessary to exude the character of the community, and it's up to the
community members to ensure that that is done.
Many of the main characters on p5p and p6* have distinctly different styles
that mostly complement each other. (Which is a far cry from some other
mailing lists, which exemplify "violent agreement")
Simon, (occasionally referred to as the Tom Christiansen for a New
Generation :-), constantly trying to do 48 hours of stuff a day, is terse
and dismissive - "I don't have time for pleasantries, background
information, or explanations. Here's the cut-and-dry; if you need more,
someone else can provide that."
Dan is cleverly aloof in is answers. There's not many folks who flippantly
hand-wave and still come across as knowing exactly what he's talking about.
Larry is quietly charismatic. He's one of the few folks that can get away
with answering a question by not actually addressing the answer or the
question. (I'd probably through Jarkko into this category, too.) Most
folks, when they do that, just come across as idiots.
Damian is a master craftsman. He can provide an overwhelming, highly
detailed, completely unintelligible answer that leaves you, at the end, out
of breath but in complete understanding of what was said, even if you didn't
understand any particular part of it.
Some folks are good at explaining things simply without being
condescending. Some folks are good at explaining things complexly without
being confusing. And other folks just leave you wondering.
It's that mix that makes our community. You learn who's got what styles,
and who fits best for you. Sometimes RTFM *is* the right answer, but other
times an explanation of the manual is needed.
Most languages have a personality - simple and one-dimensional. Perl is
different. Perl, as the "glue language", has a complex and
multi-dimensional personality, simultaneuosly reflecting its disparate roots
and influences. The Perl community, by nature of Perl herself, is also
built on disparate roots and influences, and it's that complexity to our
personality that defines us.
Oh, yes, the reputation. The reputation was largely gained by matching the
wrong faces with the wrong forums. Any time you open yourself up to
questions, you need to expect the type of questions that you'd expect given
the nature of what is being questioned about. The reputation was largely
started in c.l.p.m, at the time, the only real public forum for asking
questions about Perl.
The mongers hanging out there wanted questions along the lines of "How can I
save the world with Perl in 5 lines or less?" Instead, they received
questions along the lines of "What's the difference between 'for' and
'foreach'?" When you provide a language that can be used by beginners, and
enough documentation to satisfy any experienced programmer, what kind of
questions do you expect to get? It's almost a Catch-22 - if they knew how
to RTFM, they wouldn't need to have asked the question in the first place.
The p5p and p6* lists are slightly different. We're not for beginners.
We're not anywhere close for being for beginners. The occasional newbie
that stumbles in unawares may indeed stumble out again feeling slighted -
the importantance of never allowing just one "greeter at the door" .
Most everyone else at least will understand group dynamics enough to weather
the storm until it's clear where they fit in the puzzle.
p6i has been extremely tolerant of new blood. Much more than p5p has, I
believe. (That's mostly based on p5p reaction to p6l. p5p is very welcome
to newcomers in p5p, *if* you come bearing patches.)
So is there a point to all this? Probably. (My style, it seems, is writing
long, meaningless rambles that solve nothing. Perhaps that's why I rarely
get any repsonses.) If you're (the generic 'you') so concerned with the
answers that someone else gives, provide your own. (Which you
(specifically) did. Good on you!)
 Many socially-oriented organizations (churches, AA, Amway,
etc.) employ this as a technique to get a better retention rate.
Bryan C. Warnock