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A reflection or two on PM life

by mt2k (Hermit)
on Dec 13, 2002 at 00:55 UTC ( #219479=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hello once again fellow monks. It is I, the mt2k of perlmonks.

I've been doing some thinking lately about my current position
on this site. To be honest, I'm starting to bore a bit...
Lots more info below. Lots of text babbling, so enter at your own risk!

First of all, let's start with statistics:

How long have I been a monk on the site?

A quick look at my homenode suggests I started
my 'career' here March 31, 2000 at 5:20 PM central time.
That is the better half of 2 years. (ie: 2 years, 9 months)

So what? You've been around a while. Big whoop. What's your point?

My point is, I'm actually quite a veteran on perlmonks.
When I registered my username (at that time 'maleteen2000'),
there were only 470 top-level nodes. There are now 29773 of them.

Now really, what your point? Why did you post this node?

Well, after nearly 3 years of hanging around the Monastary,
I'm beginning to lose interest in the site. Why? Because I find
that I'm not contributing to the community as much as I would like.

Once again, big whoop! Post more nodes, write some modules!

Because I'll admit: even after being around the site for 3 years
and using Perl as much as I do, I'm nothing of a Perl guru.
So it's pure fantasy to believe that I can contribute by posting
answers to SoPW (besides the numerous newbie questions that pop up
every now and then).

Mmm... perhaps this is a small problem... why don't you fix it?

That's what I'm trying to do with this post.
A couple of months ago (I really can't recall exactly when)
I got myself promoted to being a member of the pmdev usergroup.
I was floating high when this happened, as I was happy to move up.

Sounds great! So why aren't you happy with being a pmdev member?

I love being part of the action behind the scenes, but pmdev
just isn't right for me. Like I said, I'm not a Perl guru.
So looking for things to improve on the site isn't such a good
place for me to be. I could always find new things to add to the
site, but I would have difficulties in implementing them. Besides,
I just don't find a lot of fun in looking for bugs in the system.

You're a liar! You've found bugs/problems before and exploited them!

Yes, no need to remind me of that. If I could go back and change one
thing, it would be to not exploit those things. I would have mentioned
them to others and helped work on a fix. There is one thing I stand by
in regards to anything and everything I did with these 'features':
I never made an attempt to do serious or permanent damage. Was what I
did annoying? Perhaps (ok, YES). Did it hurt anybody/anything? NO.

For the last time, get to the goddamn point!

Yes. To the point. Like I said above, I enjoy working behind the scenes.
Rather than posting answers to others' questions, I prefer to do
maintenance. It's the same as at my real-world job. Right now, I'm
just like most of the other regular employees. But I've already got
my application in to be promoted to management, because I'd much
rather work behind the scenes of the place.
Okay... but isn't pmdev a "behind-the-scenes" group?
Yes is it. But just not the right kind of group for me.
As soon as I looked and read through what the editors group
does for a job here, my heart raced a little bit. It's what I want.
(Okay, I lie. I want to be higher than that, but it's unlikely to ever happen)

Reading New site editors, I laughed at the line that says:
High level (they've spent enough time and energy here to destroy their playground)
I find it funny, because I may not be such a high level (1343 XP), level 7,
but the second part of that sentence is true. You think that after nearly 3
years spent wandering the Monastary, I'd want to cause it any harm?

Um, but you've used new-found power for evil purposes before...

I admit it: yes I did. Though I'd say "in an unwise manner" as opposed to
"evil purposes". So why did I ever behave in those unwise things?
The best answer I can come up with from within myself is this: boredom.
I've never really done much around the Monastary and I still don't, because
in all honesty, there isn't much for me to do. So when I find something different
to do, I go ahead and do it, just to spice up my internet life a little bit.

So why do you suddenly think that being a member of editors would help?
Won't you get sick and tired of being an editor as well?

As far as I can tell right now... no. It's my hope that it would give me a
little bit of soemthing else to do. It would give me a chance to actually
do something else on the site than use the CB and waiting for new 'features'
to appear. It might even let me make a tiny bit of a difference.

Why stop at editors? Why not go for power users or gods?

Nothing would make me happier than being lifted up to heaven and becoming
a member of these elite groups. But that's the problem.
Over the past couple of years, I've done numerous things that are apparently
horrible enough to hold me back. I was permitted to enter pmdev because at least
all I could do was look at code and dig through the source, as well as provide
patches that could maybe one day make it into the system. But I suppose the powers
that be were happy to let me in because I couldn't directly modify anything on the site.

Okay, so why not request to be a member of editors, power users, and/or gods?

As a matter of fact, I did make a request to be made an editor.
I was shut down immediately with an ".. not inclined to add you ... it's an elite group ..."
So I am stubborn enough to seek opinion from fellow monks (you).
Do you think I deserve to be promoted?
Do I deserve to be held back because of past stupidness?
Should I have to somehow prove (and how?) that I can do the job
without getting carried away and using the power for ruining things for everybody?

Yes, I have done some very stupid, selfish, childish, idiotic things here,
but I'd really rather look to the future instead of the past.
I'd really like to hear your opinions on this. Do it as Anonymous Monk if you must.

Any last comments before I vote you to death with --s?

Sure, just a few bits of information that I find ironic:
(Ironic because it's really my fault it's like this)

1. I have been a part of perlmonks longer than ~ 59% of the editors.
2. I have been a part of perlmonks longer than 60% of the power users.
3. I have been a part of perlmonks longer than 50% of the gods.
4. Indeed, I became a perlmonks user 3 1/2 months before the great tye did.
5. Those who have been here longer arrived between only 1 day and 4 months earlier than me.

Okay Nathan, quit your bitching and go away.

Okay fine. I'm hungry anyhow. BTW, how do you know my name?
P.S: I'm not looking for votes here (of the ++ or -- kind). I'd prefer it if you would please not vote either way on this node.

Update: As for having posted the original thread in Meditations over PerlMonks Discussion, I debated putting it in Discussion, but decided against it as the post does not deal with perlmonks directly. It does, but it doesn't.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: A reflection or two on PM life
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Dec 13, 2002 at 01:16 UTC

    Just as being a god or an editor is not related to XP, it is not related to the amount of time you've been a member of the site. Any bozo can hang around for a few years. It takes a special kind of bozo to do the right thing at the right time.

      I'm starting to believe this is kind of funny. I'm thinking I might have typed this up more for me than for anybody else. I'm not even sure if I was truly looking for input on this, even though I explicitly asked for it.

      The whole matter of "look at how long I've been here" isn't about seniority being important above all else. If anything, I think I'm just drowning myself in my own stupidity. Yes, it's "look at how long I've been here", but twist it any way you need to in order to read it as "look at how much time I've wasted not accomplishing anything". I just went back and looked at the titles of all 177 nodes I have posted... and realized that at least 50% of them are complete junk that never should have been posted in the first place.

      I'm blaming myself here. Over 2 1/2 years have gone by since I started out here, and I've done absolutely nothing to truly contribute in the ways other people have. All I've ever really done here is use the chatterbox and thrust my nose here or there, but I've always wanted to do more. But for some reason, I just can't seem to motivate myself to do something that I deem as important.

      And bingo, that's the key here: everything depends solely on what *I* believe is important. Only *I* can create an impact on my life, only *I* can make the important decisions that will take me somewhere. It's all me... yet at the same time, I feel so helpless! There is absolutely no way that anybody understands how often I think about what I've done here, about the countless events that *I* have chosen to create and partake in.

      There have been several occasions where I have thought of ditching the mt2k username and starting out fresh, with nobody the wiser. My chance to do everything the right way, and to earn the respect I wish I had earned myself the first time around.

      You might even be thinking "well if perlmonks causes you so much trouble, then why don't you leave the site?". Well... I already tried that once, and it just didn't work. I just couldn't leave the one place in my life (yes, I'm talking about real life, not some cyber-adventure) that has taught me many lessons.

      At the moment, my life isn't exactly at its peak. I'm not even getting started, but believe me, my life is nothing like that of your ordinary teenager. And I know that it is oftentimes the honesty, whether inviting or biting, of several of you guys (I'm talking about the people behind the usernames, not the online appearance), that sometimes make me think about the meaning of life. (Yes, even the most annoying teenager can get philosophical every once in a while).

      "It takes a special kind of bozo to do the right thing at the right time."
      Yes... I suppose it does. Maybe I'll have to work on becoming special. And as for that statement, I recall having said that before. It might seem that I haven't changed much in the past 2 1/2 years, but I disagree. I've learned so much in my time here that I can't help but be thankful for some of you. As a short list (in no way complete and in no particular order), I would like to thank the people who I feel have made an impact on my life. This is in no way a complete list. I may (probably) have left out a couple of key people, as well as those of you who have made small (but significant) differences.

      chromatic, tye, Petruchio, theorbtwo, Ovid, Zaxo, belg4mit, ybiC, Corion.

      Sigh. Seems I've started up an online diary here... perhaps I should reflect about life somewhere else rather than throwing it in a public place. Sorry about all that. I just needed to get that out of my system. Like I said, everything about life is off for me lately.

        And bingo, that's the key here: everything depends solely on what *I* believe is important. Only *I* can create an impact on my life, only *I* can make the important decisions that will take me somewhere. It's all me... yet at the same time, I feel so helpless! There is absolutely no way that anybody understands how often I think about what I've done here, about the countless events that *I* have chosen to create and partake in.

        Not exactly. Sure you play an important role in what happens because you are the one making the decisions. However, you are not the only one who has an impact on your life! Everyone that you come into contact with has an impact on your life, no matter how seemingly insignificant an impact that may be. Over time, *everyone else* helps mold who you become.

        As far as the hopelessness, I think that everyone experiences that. Some people more than others. Mr. Muskrat stands up and announces "Hi, I'm Mr. Muskrat and I too have felt so hopeless." I'm sending you a private message mt2k.

        I am new here. I love the place.
        I had many things I typed to answer, and deleted ...
        I cannot find anything to say besides : you touched me in a way by writing this post. Isnt this sufficient? Knowing that you affected somebodys life, helped him understand things?
        <Do you knopw this book, the catcher in the rye ?
        Thats how I see It.
        This post looks like a madman talking but who cares? I dont.
        Have a good night.
        You have an excuse. You're Canadian.
Re: A Reflection on Perl Monks
by cjf-II (Monk) on Dec 13, 2002 at 11:05 UTC
    I'm beginning to lose interest in the site. Why? Because I find that I'm not contributing to the community as much as I would like.

    First off, why would that make you lose interest? This site's (mainly) about learning Perl, not solely about tweaking the everything engine. Secondly, there are 50+ people in pmdev, 25+ editors, and 10 gods. That's a fair number of people to run a website. Maybe your attention would be better focused on other open source projects?

    Because I'll admit: even after being around the site for 3 years and using Perl as much as I do, I'm nothing of a Perl guru.

    So who's a Perl guru? Okay, now that you've thought of a few, think of why you consider them Perl gurus, what skills give them their imaginary status? Now do you have those skills? If so, move on to the next skill. If not, learn it.

    Another thing to think of is: do you really want/need to know Perl that well? Do you really have to know every little detail, or just enough to get the job done well? Maybe it's time to learn another language (or another completely different subject)?

      You've got a good point, cfj-II. But another path to mastery: start from the top of the seekers of perl wisdom section of newest nodes, and go down to the bottom. Answer those that you can answer off the top of your head. Research those that you've got a clue on. And come back, and keep reading those that you have no clue on until somebody else answers. Do likewise on the CB.

      Eventualy, you'll find that questions tend to move into earlier catagories.

      And never be afraid to guess -- just make sure people know you're guessing. People didn't always know I was guessing, so I added the disclaimer below.

      Oh, and I'm just tickled pink to be included on your list of people who made a difference around here, but I really havn't so much. I try to answer people on the CB, even if I don't really know what I'm talking about. I try to fix things that I see as broken, when I can -- normaly, I can't. I don't understand Everything, and I've submitted a lot of bad code to pmdev. Fortuneatly, tye has caught most of it.

      Warning: Unless otherwise stated, code is untested. Do not use without understanding. Code is posted in the hopes it is useful, but without warranty. All copyrights are relinquished into the public domain unless otherwise stated. I am not an angel. I am capable of error, and err on a fairly regular basis. If I made a mistake, please let me know (such as by replying to this node).

Re: A reflection or two on PM life
by talexb (Chancellor) on Dec 13, 2002 at 19:11 UTC

    I could write a long essay but I'll condense it (so rare for me): you need to get out of the house.

    Find some interests outside of PerlMonks, the Internet and computers in general. Just as balancing on one foot can become tiring after a while, so can focussing your energies on one thing -- you get stale.

    My solution is family (two step-sons, 11 and 15 years old), friends and music (I sing with a group called the Toronto Northern Lights, silver medallists at the last two International Conventions).

    I don't know if you belong to a church -- you can get great solace and sense of community from going to church. Maybe take some night courses in something totally unrelated to your main interests. Make a habit of getting books or CDs from your local library. Volunteer somewhere.

    Life is short. Get busy!

    --t. alex
    but my friends call me T.
Re: A reflection or two on PM life
by richardX (Pilgrim) on Dec 14, 2002 at 06:36 UTC
    No one can tell you what is right for your life; only advise on what has worked for themselves

    Here are my immutable laws of cyber life

    1. Never compare yourself to others accomplishments
    2. Making no decision is a decision
    3. Keep balance in your life; work, hobbies, spiritual, family life
    4. Seek joy in cyberspace where ever it takes you
    5. Donít live in the past; you donít burn ashes in a fireplace
    6. Donít loose who you are through deceit, take a chance and reveal who you really are


    There are three types of people in this world, those that can count and those that cannot. Anon

Re: A reflection or two on PM life
by Ryszard (Priest) on Dec 13, 2002 at 11:17 UTC
    An interesting conundrum, not happy, but cant make the change. IMO, there could be a deeper issue than perl here.
So don't spend your life here.
by Seumas (Curate) on Dec 18, 2002 at 19:17 UTC
    I've been here 14 days longer than you have and I still enjoy the place. The secret is not to make it your life. I show up now and again. I certainly drop by when I need to research a problem and see what other people already have had to say on the issue, if it has already been dealt with. That's about it.

    Any place gets old and boring when you spend much of every day around it. Slashdot, K5, Perlmonks, Everything, Everything2, Usenet and anywhere else.

    Just make yourself drop by once a week (or when you have a problem) instead of once an hour. Spend the extra time to brush up on the things you feel you are under-knowledged in.

    Most of all, don't look at a position you're in from the point of "I don't deserve this - I'm not qualified to be here". Instead, approach it as "What a great place to observe, learn and improve myself". I prefer to be the least experienced, least knowledgable person in all places of my life. I don't want to be the work-campus-guru where I work. I want to be the person who has the most to learn in any division of my company, for example. Constantly seeking positions where you are the one with the most to learn assures that you're always improving instead of stagnating.

    You have to be able to hold a humble attitude, but if you can - you can far exceed yourself. Focusing on how little you know instead of doing something about it doesn't accomplish anything for your attitude. And other people who are your superior will respect and appreciate your sincere effort and enthusiasm far more than anything else.
Re: A reflection or two on PM life
by Cody Pendant (Prior) on Dec 19, 2002 at 03:57 UTC
    I have to agree with talexb, mt2k -- the fact that this website, and your feelings about your place in it, and the crisis you're undergoing in relation to it, mean so much to you isn't necessarily a negative thing, but it does indicate that you're too heavily invested in one thing and place.

    I'm not about to say "I think you should seek counselling because you spend a lot of time online and have found friends there" because I'm the same. But you might like to think about it, because you are definining yourself so strongly in terms of your presence and your reputation here.

    I know nothing about your age or circumstances or skills or anything else about you -- maybe you can't leave the house -- but I do think you should ask the question; is it unhealthy for you to care quite so much about your relationship with PerlMonks?

    ($_='jjjuuusssttt annootthheer pppeeerrrlll haaaccckkeer')=~y/a-z//s;print;
Re: A reflection or two on PM life
by mt2k (Hermit) on Dec 21, 2002 at 03:29 UTC
    Following the suggestion of a couple of fellow monks, I've created an online journal at If anyone's interested in the slightest, it's at, where I'll hopefully keep it up to date.

    eval reverse@{[lreP
    =>q{ tsuJ\{qq},' rehtonA'
    ,q{\}rekcaH },' tnirp']}[1+1+

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