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Re^3: What Made the Perl Community Mean Spirited?

by marto (Cardinal)
on Feb 13, 2015 at 10:54 UTC ( #1116607=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: What Made the Perl Community Mean Spirited?
in thread What Made the Perl Community Mean Spirited?

Thanks for your reply. I'm pretty sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but it's worth while taking a step back and reminding ourselves how tribal humans are. Unfortunately I think some of the responses to your question highlight this, some dismissive replies, and (while it's not worth being concerned about, though I appreciate the uninitiated may find this disheartening) a negative post reputation.

While I have no experience of Moose and I don't know the individuals who are involved in that side of things I have experienced similar treatment elsewhere, albeit outside the Perl community. In my experience the perl community (blogs, mailing lists & forums, I have no Perl related IRC experience) is far friendlier and more helpful than any other.

The post linked to here is an interesting example. There are cultural differences and language barriers which often contribute to people becoming frustrated. To quote MST:

"Sometimes people just don't listen to polite. Sometimes making somebody angry is an effective way to get their attention."

While I'm not in complete agreement, sometimes (for example, someone asking the same thing 10 times while ignoring the answer/requests for clarification of the problem) being blunt (while accurate, and without being deliberately offensive) rather than continue to regurgitate the same response can has a positive effect.

Your experience isn't limited to Moose, or IRC though I think you're more likely to find that sort of thing in "quick fire" environments like IRC/chat rooms. While I'm sure that you're well aware of all this, there are other contributing factors to this problem:

  • A lot of people are terrible at asking questions, or asking for help. Some people lose patience when frequently having to explain to others how they should ask for help, or how best to get the answers they need/expect. A language barrier may also contribute to this.
  • Stress & fatigue. People often aren't great at recognising the tell take signs of such things which can result in a lapse in normal good behaviour.
  • Tribal behaviour. As touched on previously. Every tribe has sub tribes. Perl has Moose, Perl::Critic, Perl 6 and so on. People can be very defensive of their tribe which often results in outsiders being put off contributing or asking for help. Equally each tribe seems to have their trolls, some of whom may feel that their aggressive objections are a positive contribution. You can see a little of this in some of the reactions to your question.
  • "Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays"(warning, YouTube link). People have bad days, for whatever reason. On occasion the behaviour of someone you know to be otherwise exemplary may seem out of character due to a variety of unrelated issues.

I feel it's important to remind ourselves that none of this is specific to the Perl community. I will watch the Larry talk you link to over the weekend if I have time. Finally I'm sorry if this seems like a rambling of truisms which you already know. On occasion reading or being told something I already know helps me to keep things in context.

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