Better Perl

Denny at
Mon Apr 7 12:37:05 BST 2008

On Sun, 2008-04-06 at 13:50 -0500, Jonathan Rockway wrote:
> FWIW, I think #perl on Freenode is pretty nice to newcomers.

That wasn't my experience 10 years ago (back when it was, before it was OPN) - they were so unpleasant then
that I haven't bothered going back in the intervening 9 or 10 years,
even though I'm now staff on the network and spend 3/4 of my waking
hours connected to it.

That said, now that I think about it the number of complaints about
abusive ops and regulars in there has dropped noticeably over the last
year or two - I'll start lurking there again and see how it's looking
these days.

> > Is the Perl community noticeably worse than others?
> I don't know much about a Ruby or Python community, but the Lisp
> community is much worse than the Perl community.

##php on freenode generates more 'abusive ops' complaints than every
other channel combined.  #debian used to give it a run for its money,
but seems much better since their official presence moved to OFTC -
probably this is due to less newcomers 'bothering' the established
channel residents on freenode with their (entirely understandable)
ignorance.  #perl did used to be either third or fourth on the list, but
as I say this may not be the case any more now that I think about it.

In general, large channels for large/popular projects almost invariably
generate complaints about abusive ops and/or regulars.  This is almost
always due to a clash between newcomers asking rather basic questions
(many of which will be answered in web FAQs that can be easily found
using Google), and the long-term channel residents who seem to regard
the first group as an inconvenient nuisance that should be driven away,
usually by making it jump through a set of largely arbitrary hoops
(#debian used to kick people for saying 'u' instead of 'you'...  a piece
of written shorthand which drives me crazy too, but kicking people for
it (often automated and sometimes without explanation) really isn't
going to help with building a community which is perceived as open and
welcoming).  There are obvious long-term disadvantages to driving
newcomers away from your community.

Ideally the 'gurus' would make themselves a nice #perl-experts channel
and hang out there, and the people who happen to like helping newcomers
could lurk in #perl and be helpful.  Unfortunately this seems unlikely
to happen, as the gurus generally seem to have a strong feeling that
they 'own' the virtual space for their chosen field.  Reversing the
solution (#perl and #perl-beginners) doesn't work, because the newcomers
won't know about the -beginners channel and will still go into #perl,
where they will be made to feel even more unwelcome (/kick ask

I've been very interested to note that #ubuntu on freenode (our largest
channel afaik, with ~1000 users connected at any given time) seem to
deal quite well with a fairly high volume of very basic questions from
apparently technically incompetent users...  I'm not sure if this is by
design or whether they just happen to be a nicer, more tolerant group of
people.  I am not aware of a single abusive ops complaint about them
since I joined the staff team a few years ago.


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