|Perl: the Markov chain saw
People in the Monestary almost never encounter the sort of behavior that Mr. Kohanski brings up - what I want to know is why ?
I think that there are numerous reasons we could point to in explaining this... but the most important one is, because we want things that way, and work to keep them that way.
Of course, the main topic of conversation here is rather abstruse, and not to likely to appeal to your average Slashdotter. And we're not a totally open community... we've got some controls on the system, to limit crass and abusive behavior.
But we've also got a culture which values courtesy; not only moreso than does the Internet at large, but moreso than you'll find in most of the streets of America, or on television or in the newspapers. It's different, and many people here like it a lot; so much so that they often show a taste for gratuitous displays of ettiquette.
And actually, all displays of ettiquette are gratuitous. They go beyond what's needed to express the information at hand; peppering your message with "please" and "thank you" and "in my opinion" and "but I understand your view" does not make it any clearer. It simply conveys respect.
In my opinion, that's also largely why this place is a useful technical resource. I have no reason to spend my time answering other people's questions; sure, I like to have mine answered, but that's different. Neither does anyone else have a good reason help out... so just as good a question is, why does anyone bother? Why are we, thus far, doing pretty well at the prisoner's dilemma?
I think because we enjoy answering questions; which is because we mostly like each other; which is because we accept the conversational overhead involved in treating other people well.
Why are we different? Because I treat people with courtesy. Because tilly does, and because ybiC does, as do too many others to mention. Because people care enough to ask questions like yours. Because we help and enourage newcomers to learn our ways.
In short, we care and we work at it; for which I thank everybody here.