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SQuirreL Monks

by Masem (Monsignor)
on Apr 09, 2001 at 23:33 UTC ( #71123=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Actually read that title as SQL Monks, but I think the former sounds better...

In any case, I know we strive here at PM to keep posts on topic, the topic being perl. I've helped voted many an off-topic post into NodeReaper's fate, and the like, and I fully agree that PM should be about perl...

But given that 90% of what most here seem to do is CGI applications with a database frontend, it would seem that SQL-related questions would fit well here, except that I can easily come up with SQL-related questions that have no perl aspect to them anyway. (Specifically, I do have a question on optimizing tables away related to my DBI and JOINs post). USENET is a wasteland in terms of trying to get decent help for SQL nowadays, and to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing like PM for SQL. It's also not something for passing in the CB. There's probably more than enough experience in using SQL here that I'm sure my question could be easily answered or at least sufficiently responded to to point me in the right direction. While I could go ahead and post it, and get answers, I'd rather not tempt fate and risk a bunch of new users posting more SQL than perl and wrecking the site after following my example.

So the question boils down to: would posting a purely SQL question be considered bad karma for PM?

Dr. Michael K. Neylon - || "You've left the lens cap of your mind on again, Pinky" - The Brain

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(Ovid - OT Posts) Re: SQuirreL Monks
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Apr 10, 2001 at 00:31 UTC

    It's kind of touch and go on this one. For the most part, OT posts are quickly downvoted and sometimes receive "this is not /(?i)VB|JavaScript|SQL/". Personally, I don't mind an occasional OT post so long as they are clearly labeled, infrequent, and made by someone who's been here a while.

    I suppose the last point may irritate a few, but I don't want some anonymous monk posting, say, a Javascript question. Personally, I think that you've been here enough and have a strong enough reputation (and I'm not talking about XP), that I am more likely going to treat an honest request seriously.

    It also might interest you to know that an off-topic section has been proposed before and vroom was rather interested in the idea. Perhaps there is hope?


    Join the Perlmonks Setiathome Group or just click on the the link and check out our stats.

      It also might interest you to know that an off-topic section has been proposed before and vroom was rather interested in the idea. Perhaps there is hope?

      That would be great. I too have been sitting on my hands w/r/t SQL and database queries - I've been trying to find somewhere more appropriate than PerlMonks to ask this type of question, but I've been unsucessful (so far).


Re: SQuirreL Monks
by Coyote (Deacon) on Apr 10, 2001 at 00:13 UTC
    I wouldn't vote down a question related to SQL as long as it was in the context of a perl program. I view SQL questions much like I view regex related questions in the respect that regexen are applicable to many tools outside of perl.

    I've spent a number of years as a *nix sysadmin and I've seen many bad CGI scripts cross my desk. The most common problems I see with CGI scripts are:

    • the programmer did not use
    • the programmer did not use strict and #!perl -wT
    • the programmer used very inefficient or sloppy SQL

    I can't tell you how many times I've seen a perl program come across my desk where the author used "SELECT * FROM some_table" and looped through thousands of rows to find a single value from a single column. So in summary, I don't have any problems with SQL related questions (or answers) in the monestary.

    I will be interested to hear what others have to say on this matter, I've been thinking about doing a review for Joe Celko's SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming. The book has no perl code or mention of perl in it whatsoever, but it has been an invaluable tool for me in the context of perl, PHP, and VB development. I haven't done the review yet as I'm not sure if a review of a SQL book is appropriate on PM.


Re: SQuirreL Monks
by PsychoSpunk (Hermit) on Apr 10, 2001 at 00:14 UTC
    Masem, it's pretty simple, in my mind. First, I think that if you are planning on posting an OT SoPW (this is the safest place, since all other sections are very specific), then you should label it as such. In the past, I have asked a couple of questions that were OT, and by posting them, I kept my second point in mind. That is, you have already shown that you knowingly posted an OT question (by title, and this PMD), so you have already shown that you are ready to accept the consequences.

    Oddly enough, the range of consequences is quite large. Your post could languish in Worst Nodes. It could be widely ignored. It could be answered by a helpful monk. It could generate an onslaught of angry reply nodes. That's just the tip of the iceberg. But, if you watch carefully, OT posts can and have been answered quietly without much of a fracas ensuing, as long as the OT posts remain the exception in the SoPW Newest Nodes.

    I am kind of curious where 90% comes from. To me, that number seems arbitrarily based on what you find interesting. I could likewise prove that 90% of what is discussed here is obfu, golf, and poetry (especially if I ignored duplicate questions over the entire history of PM). Anyway, that's of no real concern, just a little ponderance.

    So the answer boils down to: posting a purely SQL question would be considered possibly dangerous to your rep. and XP. Do you care more about those numbers than possibly finding an answer to your question is the determining factor of whether you should post. Your peers will determine if the question will be relegated to Hell.


Computer Monks
by Lexicon (Chaplain) on Apr 10, 2001 at 14:41 UTC
    I would love to see Perl Monks for everything under the sun. I personally don't see why this kind of community cannot be fostered with any programming language or technology. It may be, admittedly, probably more difficult than with Perl, but I'm sure at least 95% of our Brotherhood have extensive experience in another language, and Computer Science in general. I frequently come in and ask for OT advice in the CB and often get some good advice. Admittedly, there are some problems expanding to other language.

    • Most other languages aren't as well documented as Perl.
    • Other languages don't have the preexistnig culture that Perl has.
    • Other languages aren't as fun to code in as Perl.
    The answer to me seems to be renaming the monastery Computer Monks (or whatever) and producing Sections of the Monastery for each Language/Concept that gets enough traffic. Then we subdivide the Language sections just like we do with Perl and such. Also, there is the General section where we keep Meditations and Discussion and such. People turn on the languages they are interested in and, as usual, the subsections they want as well.

    To make it 5uP3r 1337, we give separate XP in separate sections, in keeping with the idea that XP = creadibility, so just because I'm a PerlHacker doean't mean anything when I start posting to the Prolog Section. Perhaps also different powers over different sections due to rank. C++ Saints can't even vote in HTML.

    Some problems:

    • Too much traffic.
    • Some languages generate more newbies than others.
    • CB has to have separate channels for separate sections to avoid annoying commentary from the Assembly nuts.
    • Vroom no longer has time to sleep at night.
    • We turn into \..
    I think traffic problems can be solved by turning off uninteresting sections. \. issues are already handled well by voting and NodeReaper. Everything's CB already has multiple channels, so perhaps the solution is there. Vroom doesn't need sleep. You can ignore sections you don't care about.

    In short, I feel that by this method we can slowly expand PerlMonks until it takes over the world. At least, if we can find a way to make this place economically viable.

    So, not to leap without looking, but, as a test, what does everyone think about adding a database board?

    Update: Bad haX0r script corrected by Boldra and azatoth.


      That's an interesting point.

      I know several monks, who would like to find other community like that (Javamonks,prologmonks???)
      beccause thay just like other languages too or beccause they HAVE to code in other language at the office.

      I see several arguments, against this idea :
      • Part of the spirit of the monastery is bind to the nature of Perl.
        <Flame bait> You just can't make obfuscation or poetry in Java </Flame bait>
      • Some monks will probably don't like the monastery change to become Just another programming site
        (and until you convince me I'll be in this camp)
      • It may make the monastery like slashdot : a lot of people but a lower info/noise ratio.
      • Vroom has zillions of more important (IMHO) things to do for the monastery
        (setting up a Paypal account for example ;-)

      If I have some questions non related to perl I sometimes ask in the CB (and often get an answer...)

      I'm not against this kind of site, I am just against anything that could harm the monastery.
      And I don't see why it should be done here (instead of making another site)

      Please believe me when I say I'm not opposed to the changes, I just take care to not alter something that works well.

      "Only Bad Coders Badly Code In Perl" (OBC2IP)
      Alternate proposal.

      Have PerlMonks continue to develop the XML feeds, and let people who want to start sister sites. Then let the people who are working hard on statistics and chatter clients build the ability to merge feeds from 2 or more sister sites to get a view of whatever combination they want.

      Perhaps chromatic's Jellybean in there (as it matures).

      I am with arhuman in wanting this to remain PerlMonks. And given the way that I walk the site, playing games with navigation won't help me filter what I see any.

      I understand the desire for more languages. But I don't think that a naive leveraging and spreading out will do this site much good. Indeed my observations of online communities over the years lead me to predict that the more diffuse you make any particular community, the more of a problem you have with trolls, flaming, etc. So I like seeing a fairly tightly focussed remit. I think it will keep the community healthy for longer.

        I had thought of separate sites, but it didn't strike me to bust out extra clients to tie them together, which is why I discarded it. Building a master site which customized your *Monks experience would be pretty awesome, and *ahem* an excellent addition to the Everything Engine. ;)

        The problem for now is proof of concept. Adding an extra section is relevant to PM and not nearly so difficult as setting up a new EveryBox with apropriate bandwidth. Although, if I had EveryDevel's blessing, I might be willing to do that when I return to the states.

        So it comes down to two things I suppose. Maintaining PM's user experience vs. Creating *Monks user experience. I am as worried as you about the former, since *Monks hasn't been tested or anything. But everyone seems interested. We should certainly consider it more. Of course, it comes back to PM being economically viable. There isn't as much incentive to do it if it's sucking a couple $$hundred$$ a month out of your bank account.


      Another problem with expanding into other languages:

      On perlmonks, HTML knowledge is assumed. Web experience is also assumed. If one site tried to include PASCAL or BASIC programmers, these assumptions would have to be dropped.

        I dissagree. I don't believe familiarity with anything other than Perl (or even Perl itself in our newbies) is really assumed. I think that statistic about 90% of our content being CGI related is rediculous. Probably less than half of our Monks could use the Document Object Model competently. That's an offhand guess though, as everyone is free to define 'competent' as they please. ;-)

        Conversely, if the monestary were to accumulate one new section at a time, it would certainly pick up HTML before Basic. I imagine a potential order might be: Databases, Security, HTML, Python, Java, C/C++, etc... but really, who's to say?


Re: SQuirreL Monks
by dws (Chancellor) on Apr 10, 2001 at 00:26 UTC
    With the caveat that I'm hardly in a position to hold forth on Monastery policy...

    I'm willing to give OT posts wide latitude if the solution to the poster's problem aids the Perl cause within their organization. For example: Web server configuration can be off-topic, but getting Perl CGIs working on IIS/PWS is often essential for Perl to gain a toe-hold. That can also extend to answering the occassional SQL question.

    I'm also happy to ignore OT-ness if the poster has developed a reputation here, particularly when they've gone out of their way to help others. What goes around should be allowed to come around.

    Other than that, burn 'em.

Re: SQuirreL Monks
by willdooUK (Beadle) on Apr 10, 2001 at 14:27 UTC
    Speaking as one who has already made some slightly OT posts, I understand the urge to tap into or add to the wealth of knowledge and experience here.

    I'd like to see somewhere on PM where OT posts are allowed - I'm always impressed by the quality of the discussions and attitudes here, and I still can't find any similar sites that deal with other web technologies with such a sense of community.

    For me (and I suppose a lot of people here), the holy grail is CGI coding. Maybe a CGI / web specific section of the site could be introduced, where discussions about CGI-related (but non-Perl) material are allowed? While I'd hate to see the site weighed down with anonymous requests for rollover code, I for one would like to share my JS code with the people here.

Re: SQuirreL Monks
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 13, 2001 at 14:22 UTC

    "USENET is a wasteland in terms of trying to get decent help for SQL nowadays"

    It really does depend where you are asking. The comp.database.* groups are really quite active.

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