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Newby Query Comment

by Mission (Hermit)
on Apr 11, 2001 at 17:46 UTC ( #71654=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I appreciate the fact that when I post a question to the monestary, not only do I get a quick response but also an accurate one(s). I appreciate a community that allows you to help one another for the benefit for all. I do understand the voting and the XP concept and I believe that it's a benefit to the entire community to have them.
I as a newby to Perl (about three weeks now), I frequent this and many other sites hoping to learn. My comment today is not meant to be spiteful, but rather a question to the 'elders' of the cloister. I have noticed that when one of the Initiate post a 'duh' question (myself included), the Initiate / newby's seem to get reprimanded either verbally from replys or through votes. Is that really for the good of the community?
I don't want to 'dumb down' the community, but perhaps there should be an area in the Monestary that would allow newby's to hang out and work out our basic Perl skills before wondering into things like the Obfuscation and other areas that are really meant for those with a strong overall understanding of Perl and the community. This would then hopefully limit our 'duh' questions to an area where they are expected, and hopefully keep the other posts clear of these questions.
As a parting note, I just wanted to thank all of the monks, even the ones that voted my 'basic' questions down. I learn from you all, and I thank you for that.

- Mission
"Heck I don't know how to do it either, but do you think that's going to stop me?!!"

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Newby Query Comment
by davorg (Chancellor) on Apr 11, 2001 at 17:56 UTC

    Warning: Gross Generalisations Ahead!

    The problem here is that Perl is historically based in the Unix culture - and that means that people are expected to make a certain amount of effort to solve problems themselves before asking others for help. Because of this heritage, Perl comes with the most comprehensive set of free documentation of any software I've ever seen.

    Most 'newbies' seem to come from a Windows background. The culture there seems to be to ask for help without doing even a minimal amount of research. When these two cultures meet, there's bound to be some kind of friction.

    You should therefore see the gruff responses that you'll sometimes get as a kind of 'tough love'. We're trying to encourage you to research the solutions to your problems before asking us to give them to you on a plate. I'll be the first to admit that it's sometimes difficult to read that into our responses, but rest assured it's always there :) If you want to see people being really rude to newbies then check out the comp.lang.perl.misc newsgroup some time.


    "Perl makes the fun jobs fun
    and the boring jobs bearable" - me

      I think you've put your finger on it. My background was/is IBM mainframe -> mac-> windows -> unix (sorta). The first time some unix guy told me to look at the man page I did. And then I sat there wondering what all that -a, -Xfile crap was. I couldn't believe that was the extent of the documentation, and the format in which it was delivered

      When I started learning Perl after almost 20 years of programming, I couldn't believe how stupid I had become because my brain hurt reading books like "Learning Perl" (sorry merlyn).

      My observation is that once you have gotten over the hump, man pages, perldoc, faqs all make sense and seem to be done the right way. But until you get over the hump, it often seems incomprehensible.

      While I think many of the initial responses like see perldoc -f blah are terse and off-putting, they are usually followed by several responses that spell out the answer. So the style of responses could sometimes be better, but in my case the help I get dwarfs any issues I might have with tone.

        I think you have and other's have me 'pegged' correctly. I am a Win/Mac guy attempting to learn Perl. Thanks for your advice. Also you provided an insight to a resource that I was not aware of: perldoc -f I wasn't even aware that it existed. I just found it on my system and now I've got lots of reading to do.
        Thanks again.

        - Mission
        "Heck I don't know how to do it either, but do you think that's going to stop me?!!"
      Great answer daveorg. I'm more of a Windows guy than a *NIX guy, though I see the same reaction amongst people who have put in a lot of time and effort into learning that are on the Wintel side. I think it comes from the fact that Windows is a OS for the masses, and the reason for this is because there's little thought required compared to *NIX systems usage.

      And to Mission, take what daveorg said and put it in this context. Perl is a community as well as a language. Part of the value system of the community is to research and dig into the language. I think that part of entry into any community is learning their value system. Call it hazing or an initiation, but it's the communities way of letting you know what's expected in the community.


      VERY nicely said davorg! ++ to you...

      Roy Alan

(Zigster) Re: Newby Query Comment
by zigster (Hermit) on Apr 11, 2001 at 18:02 UTC
    If you ask an honest question do so with no fear. Expect --for the following non complete list of offences:
    • Posting off topic, perl is the topic.
    • Posting a faq. User the Search and Super Search try to find the answer to your question first.
    • Not trying yourself, show that you have done some work post cut down code links to show your analysis of the problem.
    • HOMEWORK.. passing work onto PM will never be tollerated except when it is ;-)
    Dont hide around the monastary come post talk enjoy the community, I sure do. Having looked at the questions you have posed so far they all look find, the only dodge question is How do I reset an array? that could be seen as a FAQ. Keep on plugging, you will be a saint before you know.

    If you do get -- take a quick look to see why to try and learn from it but dont look to hard or long. Stuff happens dont let it fret you. PM is a very welcoming place, it is just a bits scary when you start.


      You might add one more bullet:

          Posting a question that's so vague as to be unanswerable.

      Admittedly, this is dificult for a "newbie" to avoid. But one still has to aim for "enough information and not too much".   (That seems to me to be more of the problem with How do I reset an array?.)

      But yea, most of all: Don't Sweat the Downvotes -- If they make sense, learn, but just keep going.

Re: Newby Query Comment
by Asim (Hermit) on Apr 11, 2001 at 18:04 UTC

    I'm fairly new to being an active participant here, and I'm not of a paticularly high level (yet?) Having done some small bits of helping on other lists, I can telly ou why I would downvote a question (aside from the excellent "how to vote" document Voting Guidelines (or 'How should I spend my votes?'), which should be a first read to understand what folks are looking for on here.

    What I think (and please understand that people's milage may vary on this issue) happens is simply the issue of seeing the same question over and over again, with the petitioner having NOT read anything like documentation. Perl comes with reams of pages of it. There is a obvious search box at the top of every PerlMonks page. Going to can bring up a montherlode of info.

    I say all this, because most of the notes I've seen along the lines you specify have been "read the documentation" notes, not "don't post that here" notes. Ask yourself why people should take the time to constantly go over issues, again and again, which are well-documented (and writing good docs isn't easy, trust me!) and easy to find. It's a waste of everyone's time, in my opinion.

    Now, a neophyte who doesn't understand what they are reading...heck, at least they tried. At least they made the effort to educate themselves. That's a horse of a different color.

    A newbie section? I'm really not sure it's kind of know that you'll get more of those in Seekers of Perl Wisdom than in, say Perl Poetry, on average. But it's worth a discussion, so far as I can tell.

    ----Asim, known to some as Woodrow.

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