|Keep It Simple, Stupid|
Summing up recent ideas into a concept: Code vs. Proseby deprecated (Priest)
|on Apr 29, 2001 at 20:30 UTC||Need Help??|
Folks, I've been mulling this about in my head for two weeks now. mothra noded something about the quality of perlmonks vs. irc vs. newsgroups. I initially thought, "pfff, maybe /s?he/ doesnt get very much out of perlmonks, but I sure do..."
So let me tell you, then, where this started really becoming foremost on my mind. I'm a real unix nut. I know several different flavors, I'm fluent in shell, and even know the internals of the various config files pretty darn well. My skillset and knowledge has pretty much kept me employed as a Unix/Networking weenie. Through being a Unix guy, I learned perl. My resume includes mentions of Unix, Perl, Shell, Apache, Cold Fusion, DB2, and MySQL. So when I go out looking for a new contract, I get offers from lots of places. Recently, I was brought on with an organization to do a number of things, but mostly, I am a perl hacker.
This is where mothra's post comes in. I was at work, taking a break from some code that was hurting my brain. I thought I would go and slip into some perlmonks, and also get some new code into my head, hoping for some insight or a novel way to approach what I was doing.
I didn't find a thing. I'm a pretty good perl programmer. I get what I need done, done. I even manage to sometimes come up with novel ways to do things myself. I'm at a precipice as a programmer. I have all the books I could about perl, and I'm starting to pick up books on Computer Science and other languages instead. I can't find any higher-level information. I am not getting any deeper into programming, perl, or computer science through Perl Monks.
Instead, I find that I'm stagnating here. I'm reading nodes, and theyre almost all prose. Only two of the Best Nodes of last week are actually code. I'd like to be electrified like the first time I read Lincoln Stein's code. I want to read nodes that shake my brain up and insert new ideas for how to code and ways to approach things.
I see a good parallel in WebHick's excellent recent post, Perl Enlightenment and Personal Journey To It. I'm knee deep in the water, it feels great, and I want to go scuba diving. The harder I look, though, the more I see that I have to go looking to other places to find new things in programming. For example, I've got these books in my shopping cart on amazon:
I'm already a professional. I dont have the luxury of going back to school full time to learn more about programming, and to learn "deep code." So I rely on the community. I'm getting nowhere. I had hoped perlmonks could push me past this speed bump. I learned some new things, but I'm still just a perl hacker. I'm still just somebody who writes code. Heck, I even dream (literally) solutions for code problems I have. But its just putting legos together, not envisioning the whole picture.
I discussed this with several people in the CB. While le correctly mentioned that this is something that gets tossed around a lot. Signal vs. Noise. I've been on USENET and BBS's and Mailing lists for 11 years now. We hear this over and over. I dont know what can be done about it, but I am venting particular observations in the hope we can do something about it this time.
While I was whining, Petruchio brought up an interesting term, "reputation inflation." This is, I think, to a large extent true. We see a lot of posts with HUGE reputations. This is due to the massive population growth of the monastery. As an abbot, I get 25 votes a day. I've only been here for six months, and made a bit less than 100 posts. I didnt really mean to, but I have made a whole lot of pretty useless posts. I try real hard to make sure that the post is useful and on-topic, but when I look back, I see that I havent contributed much of anything.
Perhaps Ovid's recent post, Stubborn as a Saint is indicative of this. I dont know what specifically got his attention, that he felt compelled to tell people to read his code more carefully. In fact, I dont think a lot of people here are reading code at all. We read conversation and discussion because its interesting. It is, however, junk food. We have no incentive to post code, nor to review code. "Code" posts get very low (usually < 35 ) reputations. This post, while full of rhetoric and interesting thought provoking ideas (okay, maybe I flatter myself), will probably score at least that within a couple days.
Why is this?
I dont know. I wish I had a solution. The thing is, we have had zillions of good suggestions proposed in Perl Monks Discussion, but few of them are ever implemented. This isnt a slight to vroom, but I think we could be fixing this problem and making better programmers.
We dont need to revamp the Voting/Experience System, because we can't agree on how to do it. And besides, thats a symptom, not a cause. People like me should not be getting to level 7 in six months. Its not because the voting and experience system is off, its because we're all posting these saccharin, brain junk food nodes.
Ugh. I cant come up with anything more to say useful on the subject. I think I made my point clear. I wanted to post this (despite the obvious irony of bitching about this specific kind of post) because we have users here who are capable of providing solutions for the monastery and maybe, just possibly, solutions for me. Yeah, tell me where to find enlightenent.