[sf-perl] SanFrancisco-pm Digest, Vol 39, Issue 2

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Thu Apr 3 12:09:45 PDT 2008

On Thursday 03 April 2008, Joey Moe wrote:
> It seem that by simply mentioning that I set up a site about perl, (not
> mentioning that I had any answers, and clearly saying I wasn't trying to
> compete with sites like perlmonks which I, myself have visited many times),
> I upset people. My site is more of a blog about my own learning. I never
> said I was trying to teach anyone, and it seems that Randall Swartz came
> out of the womb a Perl expert because that's all he keeps saying. Someone
> seems very insecure in what he knows. At least I can admit that I'm a
> beginner, and it's attitude like Randall's that made me decide to start my
> own site. I want to share my learning experience, not badger, harass and
> scare away other people who are interested in learning as well. Look at how
> many sites out there where experts hang out, and noobies still don't get
> answers to there questions, they just get blown off and left to fend for
> themselves by experts like Randall. I just want to learn a programming
> language, not run for the presidency. Don't worry Randall, I won't take
> your 40 acres and mule.  You can go hang out with all the cool kids on
> whatever site you want, I'm perfectly fine if nobody were to come to my
> site. I really don't need your validation, I was just looking to share my
> learning experience. As far as being an expert, you may know alot about
> Perl, but you kinda suck when it comes to people skills. I'm still a
> noobie, my site is still there for anyone who is interested and I'm proud
> of what I do (or don't know)....I don't know about the rest of you, but I
> was really just interested in learning more perl, I didn't realize this was
> a popularity contest.

Hi Joey! (and all)

First of all, let me say that if you want to start a new site about learning 
Perl or helping Perl beginners, then all the power to you, especially if 
you're trying to create a more beginner-friendly atmosophere there that what 
you percieve in other places.

From my experience with the Perl forums, it seems that some are more 
newbie-friendly than others, and those are the places where I usually 
frequent. I've been maintaining my own first-stop portal for Perl beginners 
to help direct beginners to the right place:


I've also helped with other sites of different themes like 
http://www.perlmeme.org/ and http://perl.net.au/.

Now for a little history. Once upon a time, some people set up learn.perl.org. 
However, I found it inadequate and decided to start working on my own 
alternative site, which while online was not publicised (and was under a very 
obscure URL). At one time, it was decided that I'll re-design begin.perl.org 
but eventually I set up my own site first at http://perl-begin.berlios.de/ 
and now at http://perl-begin.org/ (where it is hosted courtesy of Andy 
Armstrong). learn.perl.org has improved since then to some extent, but I 
still feel my site is superior.

I hope Randal does not mind me saying this, but he once stumbled upon the 
early Perl-Begin site (before it was publicised), and sent me a harsh note 
that it was competing with learn.perl.org and fragmenting the Perl community. 
Randal often has a bad temper, and is very uptight about some issues, but is 
otherwise a good guy, can be very helpful, and one of the world's foremost 
experts on the Perl core language and related Perl technologies. So we 
forgive him for his failings, because we'd be worse without him.

I hope I'm not being tactless here, and would like to note that I too am not 
without my tactfulness failings.

In any case, back to our topic: if you want to create your own new Perl site 
go ahead. I don't like web forums much, so I'm not sure I'll subscribe, but 
can still try to contribute. If you wish to contribute to a different Perl 
beginners' site, then I can give you some pointers where you can either 
contribute by simply editing/posting/talking (wiki, etc.) or we can arrange 
an write access to the sources for you, given enough willingness and good 

I do however want to note that Randal has a point. Growing an Internet 
community is hard and not always successful, and often has an unexpected 
outcome. You can see what I wrote in response to what Joel Spolsky wrote 
about it (with a link) for some tips:


I started my own Beginners' mailing list for perl-begin and while the 
responses were very helpful and of good quality, it quickly became extremely 
quiet. Israel.pm started their own perl-starter mailing list (in English):


It too has become very quiet. This is besides the fact that beginners question 
are still more than welcome on the main Israel.pm mailing list (which is also 
in English).

As opposed to what Randal said, both of these attempts did not result in any 
significant dis-information being transmitted to the newbies, but rather 
never really took off. But I can relate to the phenomenon that Randal 
describes of clueless people teaching the beginners bad habits. The latter is 
worse than my experience, but I suppose it is preventable.


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish      shlomif at iglu.org.il
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

I'm not an actor - I just play one on T.V.

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