A couple of ideas for improving commenting/reviewing CPAN modules

I love browsing and/or buying books on Amazon.com. Part of the reason is that there are no lack of ratings/reviews on the books, helping me decide on which books to choose on a certain topic. On CPAN however, despite cpanratings.perl.org having been online for more than a decade, most modules have no reviews.

I've done my share of commenting/reviewing modules, but some things could be improved.

First, whenever some other modules are mentioned in a review, it should perhaps be shown as reviews/mentions for that module. For example, just minutes ago I added four reviews each for Text::ASCIITable::TW, Text::CharWidth, Text::VisualWidth, and Text::VisualWidth::PP. Basically I just wanted to say that Text::CharWidth is my preferred way. I should've been able to enter just one review article, which mentions all 4 modules, which cpanratings could show for all those 4 modules.

Second, there should perhaps be an indexing service to index blog/web articles which mention Perl modules. Neil's articles, for example. All in all, those articles could translate to hundreds of module reviews/comments.


I think if we were able to submit/view reviews from MetaCPAN.org we'd see and be encouraged to review more the distributions.

The disconnect now is that the consumption ( MetaCPAN/CPAN ) is split from the generation (CPAN raitings). Probably what needs to happen is cpanratings.perl.org to publish an API and MetaCPAN.org to start consuming it and showing it on the modules.

The disconnect now is that the generation (cpanraitings/PrePAN) is split from the consumption (MetaCPAN/CPAN). I think if both where at the same place we would see much more modules being reviewed.

I think what needs to happen is cpanratings to publish an API and MetaCPAN to start using it.

I just added a review (thanks for the push), and perhaps will add a few more.

Many of the modules I use and feel like I have a review of are related to modules I've written. This makes me nervous about writing reviews, as there was a reason I wrote my own module. Writing a review like "this module is fine for toy examples, but for real data use MyModule" is crass. I'd be interested in hearing what others think. Clearly one would like to note to others that there may be a superior module, on the other hand I've also had mostly good experiences just talking directly to other module owners to get improvements made for the biggest issues I have.

I've been thinking I would like to do some reviews of a few module areas like Neil B. and others have done, but again when I own one of the modules, someone is going to take issue with any comments I make. I'm also seeing it from the point of view of one of the module creators so will have the same priorities and blind spots.


As you know I'm keeping track of many review articles, but yes, it'd be great if the modules' metacpan entries linked to reviews thereof.

If there were a cpanratings API, we would love to integrate it with MetaCPAN.

Yes, we all are lazy. Having to log in with yet another account is a barrier. Much reviews are brief and quick, so they could be written ad-hoc like comments in a blog. I don't comment many blogs which require to create an account first, do you? (this comment is written signed in with OpenID by the way). Everything but login via Google/Facebook/Twitter/GitHuB/OpenID adds another barrier.

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About Steven Haryanto

user-pic A programmer (mostly Perl 5 nowadays).