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Consider Your Audience

by Ovid (Cardinal)
on Nov 26, 2000 at 22:52 UTC ( #43389=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Most of you who are regulars on this site will know the parties involved. I am avoiding naming this monk directly (despite it being a poorly kept secret), because the point here is not "who is saying this", but to consider what is being said.

One monk, in a recent post, commented that his alter-ego on this site

... has made it all the way to nearly Level 4 with no downvotes.
As of this writing, his alter-ego's last post is on Worst Nodes with a reputation of -4. It may be that some monks have downvoted this because they know that this this monk is masquerading as another. However, I suspect that it's due to the "stated intent is to replace Perl" comment found in that post. Was that really necessary? I can see the point the monk had about Perl having inconsistencies, but I do not feel that Perlmonks is an appropriate forum for repeated criticisms of the Perl language.

Don't get me wrong, I have some issues with Perl. There are things that I would like Perl to do and other things that don't make sense unless I look at Perl from a linguistic standpoint as opposed to a programming standpoint. Personally, I have never programmed in another language that takes the unique approach to problem solving that Perl has. Pronouns, context? I thought I left those things behind in English and French classes in school. However, once I get used to them in programmng, they make perfect sense and I long for these features in other languages.

Despite Perl having been around for over a decade, it's still a groundbreaker in many respects. That means that as it grows and evolves, it's going to have growing pains. It's going to have things that programmers familiar with other languages just won't like. So what? If you don't like Perl, don't use it. It's that simple.

I suppose that I could sit down at a bar and make fun of a bunch of C programmers for using a language with no boundary checking and with only the most primitive of string manipulations. Their response? Virtually any application that they write will run much faster than any Perl application that I write. Sure, they'll stumble a bit when it comes to an application that relies on heavy regex work, but generally, Perl cannot run as fast as C.

Perl, like any language, has its uses. If I need to get something up and running fast, Perl's tough to beat. If I write CGI scripts with Perl using taint checking and maybe even a wrapper, I'm willing to bet my CGI scripts are more secure than the average C programmer's CGI scripts. With mod perl or FastCGI, I can even get around some of the speed issues. But Perl is NOT the end-all and be-all of languages. If anyone doubts this, read about The Lies We Tell.

In other words, there are strengths and weaknesses to Perl. Perlmonks is dedicated to helping us learn Perl better, share in the enjoyment of the language we enjoy, and occasionally ask for help in the most effective way of dealing with Perl's shortcomings. More than that, Perlmonks has become a community. Entering this community and repeatedly saying "You should be using [insert other language here] instead of Perl" is simply rude. Coming here and just slamming the language repeatedly is also rude.

Common complaints:

  • Perl looks like line noise.

    It can be, if it's poorly written. Unfortunately, many Perl programs are poorly written. However, it looks a lot less like line noise when you understand what all of those $@% characters mean.

  • Perl is not typed.

    Yes, it is. The typing is simply not based around int, float, long, char, double, etc. A more accurate statement would be "Perl is not typed the way I'm used to things being typed." This is true for many people. Once you get used to Perl, you understand why this is a Good Thing for Perl.

  • Perl is tough to learn.

    Perl is easy to learn... for the easy things. When you start getting into advanced concepts, Perl can indeed be a bear at times. However, I know of few languages that make the really complex tasks simple. I used to program in Easytrieve Plus, a fourth-generation language. It made the complex tasks easy, so long as you did not care about fine-grained control. It you want control and flexibility, you have to be willing to make the sacrifices that go with it.

  • Perl doesn't work the way I want it to.

    Perhaps you should consider using a different language.

So, before you start blasting Perl, consider your audience. If you have legitimate questions or concerns, by all means, let us know! If you're just hear for Perl bashing, don't bother. I doubt there is much you can say that we haven't heard before.


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Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Consider Your Audience
by mwp (Hermit) on Nov 26, 2000 at 23:32 UTC
    Nice post, Ovid. What I have to say here is more WRT the actual incident involving the unnamed parties than what you had to say. Perhaps this would have gone better at the bottom of the OP but either way...

    I am feeling rather upset by this whole episode. The monk in question has been rampaging about for many weeks, making silly claims and criticisms about Perl. While I acknowledge and agree that Perl is not the end-all, be-all language, this monk should have definitely considered his audience before launching a full-scale attack.

    But that's just the start of my problem--you see, when the monk wasn't busy making life difficult for fine folks like Ovid, he was asking questions that could have easily been answered by A) perldoc, B) Super Search, or even C) a quick Google search. While this is an excusable behaviour for newer monks and even once and a while for venerable old timers, this level 6 monk (friar) was able to pull it off consistently. The result? Even more work for those who would rather help Seekers of Perl Wisdom in true need.

    Now it turns out that the monk was deliberately trying to put us out with his public self while masquerading "behind the scenes" as an alter-ego. What mockery is this? As merlyn so aptly stated, "I don't like feeling conned." Someone deliberately taunted me until I snapped, then turns around and claims it was all a crafty experiment.

    So I would like to echo Ovid in saying, "If you're just here for Perl bashing, don't bother." If you don't like the language, don't use it. If you're going to continue asking un-researched questions, ask them someplace else, like #perl on efnet. I'm sure they'll be well-received.

    Irate in Illinois,

    Friar 'kaboo
    pardon my altruism, but...

Re: Consider Your Audience (SHAME)
by extremely (Priest) on Nov 27, 2000 at 09:05 UTC
    Which is worse, logging on as a second user to see if your words are being voted or your past history, or snidely pretending to discuss a matter when you are really attacking the person?

    While I despise trolling, I really don't think that is what princepawn has been up to. He's asked real questions and made real suggestions. Admittedly he has asked a number of those questions rather poorly to say the least and has tread on a number of toes but he at least has never to my recollection been disingenuous. This gets my vote as the most insulting post I've read on here.

    When pp first logged on he annoyed the heck out of me and amazed me with his audacity. As I watched the people on here treat him poorer and poorer even as he's tried harder and harder to work within your rules I've become more and more of an advocate of his. He even came clean on the multiple login thing on his own without crowing to much and showing a keen sense of self deprecating humor.

    Ozymandias succesfully holier-than-thou'ed one bright perl light off the site. Will all of you let Ovid do the same with a seeker who is trying to do better?

    I was damn proud to make abbot on this site. Posts like the one above take that pride down a notch.

    $you = new YOU;
    honk() if $you->love(perl)

      While I despise trolling, I really don't think that is what princepawn has been up to.

      Unfortunately, that's exactly what he's coming across as doing. At least, to Ovid and myself. =)

      I feel like I was led into a trap by deliberately increasingly insipient posts (roughly outlined here and here, under writeups). Suddenly, the trap designer springs forth and exclaims: "It was all a ruse! A clever game to expose your insecurity and my righteousness." That is exactly the impression I got. If that wasn't princepawn's intended message, I'd say he needs to take another shot at explaining things. He has a long way to go, in my book.

      I understand your pride at making abbot, and your reasoning here. But I see nothing prideful about a site that spends all it's resources defending it's core purpose and catering to one or two individual and their seemingly inherent inability to look up anything for themselves. Instead they rant and rail, and have others do their work while not even taking a stab at the problem for themselves. As I've said before, this is excusable for newbies and monks once and a while. princepawn has been doing it on a consistent basis since May.

      Nobody likes feeling conned. I implore you to prove otherwise. And I would ask princepawn to give us another explanation, one that doesn't involve scheming and veiled insults.

        Conned? How were you conned? If the posts stand on their own, how did not knowing it was princepawn "con" you. How is one psuedonym ok but two are bad? More than one person on here has multiple logins (can think of two off the top of my head.) And your belief in "schemes" shouldn't require him to deny it. Prove he had a prior motive to slam perl or stop maligning him by implying otherwise. That in particular is the sort of behavior I'm objecting to, casting him as a pariah. His actions have been marginal, but calling jihaad against him won't help him improve at perl or social contact, you'll martyr him.

        I'm having to fight off using religious metaphors in this discussion...

        $you = new YOU;
        honk() if $you->love(perl)

      ...snidely pretending to discuss a matter when you are really attacking the person...
      extremely, I am sorry you feel that way about my post. While you may not believe it, it was not my intention to attack him. That I used his behavior as a springboard ensures that my comments can be taken as directed towards him, but that was not what I was trying to do. I mentioned what was going on in the first couple of paragraphs and then used the rest of the post to make my point:

      Don't go to Utah if your sole intent is to make fun of Mormons

      That's it. That's all I was trying to say.


      Update #3: I have deleted my previous updates as I don't want a flame war. I do agree with extremely's comments about downvoting past nodes to teach someone a lesson. I haven't done this and I hope no one else would.

      Join the Perlmonks Setiathome Group or just click on the the link and check out our stats.

        Then delete the first paragraph. The rest of your post stands on it's own without sending the troops off to downvote him.

        And downvote or upvote away, there is only blame in voting if you are voting the person and not the content. Which brings us nicely around to what princepawn and merlyn have both complained about. =) If you disagree with me vote the post down, don't go seek out every useful post I've made in the last 2 weeks and downvote all of them to "teach me a lesson" or some such nonsense.

        $you = new YOU;
        honk() if $you->love(perl)

(Ovid) Re: Consider Your Audience
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Nov 27, 2000 at 10:42 UTC
    I had no intention of starting flames here, though I see how this could come about. Personally, I don't think that princepawn had any nefarious motive. I just think he displayed poor manners. However, that is just my opinion and in the real world, that doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

    There's been some interesting chatterbox commentary on this brouhaha and what I've gotten out of it is this: it's not important, folks. As one monk put it: 1Million XP and .89 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.


    Join the Perlmonks Setiathome Group or just click on the the link and check out our stats.

Re: Consider Your Audience
by thealienz1 (Pilgrim) on Nov 27, 2000 at 20:37 UTC

    Now don't take this the wrong way, but I think you guys are a little obcessive over this whole level thing. I mean it would be great to have3 a title of "superiority over puny monks" but spending this much time on the issue... argh!

    Just ask questions and help people out, and I thank you all for your help.

    I am the first overweight, very tall munchkin... be very amazed.
Re: Consider Your Audience
by curtisb (Monk) on Nov 26, 2000 at 23:25 UTC
    Well said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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