A blog post about blog posts

Folk's in the world of Perl have been making amazing efforts to blog more and even to produce video content. That's awesome! Keep it up!

Risking sounding like a mandatory training video from HR, I want to remind budding authors of some high level criteria you should review before completing a post:

  • Does it welcome new people to Perl?
  • Does it welcome people back to Perl?
  • Does it lift, encourage and praise them?
  • Is it respectful to people who's use case, experiences and journey with Perl is different to yours?
  • Is it respectful of peoples lifestyle, politics, background, and differing lived experiences?
  • Does it grow the Perl community and celebrate our diversity?
  • Does it teach people something new about Perl?

The answer in all cases should be yes.

Here are some examples that aren't inspired by any specific post but are based on content or comments I have read.

Using system perl is stupid, it's not real perl

There are lot's of good reasons for using the system perl, some of which include that the distribution packagers spend much time bundling and patching them, the security advantage of system perl packages being digitally signed (plenv and perlbrew don't have any such mechanisms), or using mod_perl that comes with the distribution.

Folks may also be using perl for utility scripts in a perl averse company.

Disparaging comments about which perl interpreter people use and how it's installed don't persuade, inform, or encourage people to do more with perl, nor do they respect the different circumstances that other people may be working under.

Unless you use objects you're not a real programmer

Many people in the world of perl are self taught or casual coders (both?). As such they may not have mastered objects sufficiently well to confidently use them when solving problems. This example is based on people I have come across, but might well be regular expressions or creating modules - skills I have also found people to not have mastered.

People who haven't mastered perl like you have may be deriving their livelihood from perl regardless - they are just as welcome. The opportunity for your blog is to teach and lift them, offering them a path to greater mastery and involvement.

Any "joke" or comments that relate to identity, politics, or nationality

I think as a community we are good at respecting identity, but struggle with respecting people's politics and nationality.

It's a good idea to keep your political commentary and perl blogs (and social media) in separate accounts. Even posting quotes you enjoy from political figures may create an avoidable controversy, as you may not appreciate how other people view that figure or the context of the quote.

Let people judge you for your perl content not for what they think of your political positions or views on their country.

I really do sound like a HR training video, but now really is the time to be a genuinely welcoming community.

1 Comment

I think I've read most of what is posted here, but I haven't seen the blog posts you mention full of quotes from unspecified political figures which are offputting for some reason or another. For example a search of this site on Google for "Donald Trump" gives zero hits:


It might be better to actually post your issues with individual bloggers as comments under their posts so they can work out what is going on.

I also don't remember seeing posts about system perl. When I searched on Google about that I found about one post from 2011:


Actually your blog post came above that in the search results.

Are you sure it's a real problem here?

I don't think there are that many "newbies" in Perl these days, it seems like people prefer to learn Python or other languages like Go or Rust rather than Perl. Perl seems to have become more like Lisp or something where there is a coterie of people who think it's good and the vast majority of people who avoid it, and prefer something easier to learn. Similar thing seems to have happened to Ruby. We probably should stop worrying about the needs of the "Perl newbies" in my opinion. There used to be lots of Perl newbies in the 1990s but those people probably aren't coming back unless Perl does something dramatic.

There was a discussion on Perl5 Porters mailing list the other day where someone was arguing that it was not a good idea to make "use strict;" default, because it would confuse the "Perl newbies". I think these Perl newbies are just a convenient excuse for various people these days!

If Perl wants to have any newbies, the best way is to remove all these insane legacy things like File::Find which people are keeping there for the sake of all the imaginary newbies.

Leave a comment

About Dean

user-pic I blog about Perl. I am now in California