What are the Perl Monger groups for?

In the age of Perl Monks, Stack Overflow, IronMan and plenty of topic specific Perl mailing lists I wonder what do you people see as the value of the (location specific) Perl Mongers?

There are plenty of web forums and generic mailing lists where people can get answers to their technical questions in English and probably also in the other major languages as well.

I can see an advantage of the Hungarian Perl mailing list as some people there don't speak any other language than Hungarian and even some of those who can read English have hard time expressing them in English.

OTOH the Israeli Perl mailing list is in English anyway for several reasons. One of them is that it is hard to write plain text going right to left with embedded code going left to right. So there does not seem to be any advantage to use it. (Even though I am sure there too, are several people who have hard time expressing them in English).

There are a few things I can think of:

Coordination of events. If you have face-to-face meetings those are usually very location specific.

Distribution of news. While people can go and read Perl related news on plenty of feeds, many still don't do. The local groups can pick specific items and distribute them among their members. There are currently about 250 Perl Monger groups. If on average they have 50 members then sending out the call to participate in the Perl survey could easily reach 12,500 people.

More comfortable. I think most of the people are more comfortable when talking in small groups with friendly faces. Asking a question on a very public web forum might be intimidating to many people. Asking the same question in your local mailing list might a bit easier. Especially if you know some of the people involved. Which leads us (back?) to the face-to-face meetings.

Communicating with local companies. One of the biggest things IMHO we in the Perl community are not doing well enough is talking to companies using Perl. We should ask the managers (CTOs, VP RnDs, CEOs) what do they need that we can help them solve. The local Perl Mongers could do that much better than The Perl Foundation with its limited man power.

What do you think? What are the values in the Perl Mongers? What do you think the Perl Mongers could do more or better?

Published on 2010-05-26 by Gabor Szabo