Helping people not (yet) in the Perl community

In the Perl community we seem to be very proud of ourselves and how we have superb "support" channels. For example IRC channels, mailing lists, Perl Monger Groups and of course Perl Monks.

When I decide to learn some other technology I often try to look for the community or for some forum where I can ask questions. Recently Stack Overflow became quite a good resource where people from many different technologies can help you. Looking through the Perl related questions and the people giving the answers, it seems to be a good place.

Still there are lots of other web forums around the Internet and people seem to use them - among other things - to ask Perl related questions. As these sites are away from the community they often get no or incorrect answers.

For some time I have subscribed to Google Alerts that sends me daily messages about various keywords. I have alerts for Perl, for Perl windows, for Perl IDE and a number of other things.

Let me show you some of the links I got:

On LAMP tips I saw Do I need Linux platform to install Perl? and the much more explosive Has Perl been replaced by some other scripting language?

What is a good free IDE for perl ? was asked on Experts Exchange. Apparently it is some sort of paid site where you can get answers from, well, experts. There are a bunch of Perl related questions. I have not checked too deeply how this site works or if the answers are reasonable.

I also often see Perl related comments on Daniweb. The most recent one was about Perl Encoding??

Familiarity

You might wonder why people ask Perl related questions on those less Perl-related forums. I think the main reason is familiarity and maybe laziness. It's much easier and personally safer to go to a forum you are already familiar with, where you might already know some people than to go to some strange place.

Better value from Perl

Sinan Ünür, wrote in a recent post about The Economic Perspective of Marketing Perl that the main thing people in the Perl community could do is just to be better in Perl.

I agree that it would be very valuable to each one of us and to the whole community if each one of us and the whole community would give better value to the "users". Who can be real end-users, clients, bosses etc. This also means IMHO we should ensure that other users of Perl also improve their knowledge. You know. The other 400,000 or so who are using Perl but don't interact with the core Perl community.

Help them

Earlier I submitted some answers to some of these forums but I am far from being an expert on all these subjects and I also have limited time. So why not get more people from the Perl community involved in it?

If a few more people subscribed to these Alerts and if they answered at only one question every day each, we could help a lot more people using Perl better. Which in turn would improve our own world.

Published on 2010-12-17 by Gabor Szabo
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