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RFC: Off-Topic Links

by footpad (Abbot)
on Apr 23, 2001 at 19:17 UTC ( #74726=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Many monks have mixed feelings regarding off-topic posts. The general consensus seems to be that we'll allow them if they're clearly flagged as such (by prepending OT to the subject lines) or are somehow linked (however obliquely) to the use of Perl.

Proposal: Create and maintain an Off-Topic Links node similar to Outside Links. (Yes, I'm volunteering.)

The idea being to collect a variety of links pointing to information obliquely related to Perl. For example, many monks normally wouldn't point folks to this site, unless the problem involved troubleshooting a problem using MIME::Lite so send email messages from an NT/Win2K system. Yet, we periodically posts starting with "I know this isn't Perl related, but I know that some of you know something in this area..."

Arguments For:

  • Perl serves many uses. Such a resource could help others increase their use of Perl and/or solve other problems encountered in their work.

  • Each of us has (I believe) a stable of links we use on a regular basis. Sharing those could help all of us improve our efforts to provide quality services to our respective clients

  • Perl is generally not used in a vacuum. Indeed, it's very nature as a glue language almost ensures that you're going to need some non-Perl knowledge to get your work done. For example, merlyn has described the use of cron jobs in his articles. The first time I read such a discussion, my first question was, "So, um, where's a good tutorial on setting up cron jobs?"

  • Help document the references and knowledge we tend to assume that people have. For example, one of my earliest discussions with merlyn revolved around the terms "bad meme" and "cargo-cult programming." While appropriate links were posted in response, that occurred after requests for clarification. Having such a resource available might reduce the number of such posts.

  • I believe it would help reduce the line noise that some periodically complain about in CB.

  • Since most of us are trying to better our skills and our services, this may also help target such efforts more effectively, preventing those wanting to learn from wasting time on useless sites.

  • It might help combat the exclusivity image that turnstep recently brought to our attention.

Arguments Against:

  • Risk of added line noise.

    Counter: I don't think this would be a problem, because I see the adminstration being handled through private /msg's.

  • Duplication of effort. You should be able to find good links using a decent search engine

    Counter: I disagree. Consider, for example, the quality of the hits on this query. I believe this would help focus OT education and problem-solving by providing links that have already helped someone, not just random hits selected by a keyword parser.

  • It's not Perl Related

    Counter: That's true...but the problem being solved may be surfaced with a Perl script. Also, the skills may be ones that most experienced Perl Hackers take for granted.

  • It's not really a problem

    Counter: No, but it might help anyway.

  • It's a distraction

    Counter: Perhaps, but since I'm volunteering, that shouldn't be a problem.

  • Others?

If you like the idea, what would you like to see? How would you envision the structure of the node? What categories would be useful, which ones would be useless? (Let's agree to set aside the advocacy issues in advance; I'm assuming that a good forum for getting ODBC answers would help someone.)

Initially, I'd like to see it contain links to tutorials, books, reference material, coding practices, support sites, and so on. I'd even like to see a good lists of general reference information.

Thoughts? Comments?


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: RFC: Off-Topic Links
by TStanley (Canon) on Apr 23, 2001 at 20:08 UTC
    I think that this is a very good idea, because as you pointed out,
    the knowledge of the people here covers an extremely wide area of
    the IT industry. We are either programmers, system admins, database
    admins, Web designers, etc.

    For the structure of node, how about something similar to the categories
    that we see in Q&A? It's well laid out, and you can always add/delete
    categories as needed.

    In the end, there can be only one!
Re: RFC: Off-Topic Links
by neophyte (Curate) on Apr 24, 2001 at 13:27 UTC
    This is a very good idea.
    As you all might know Outside Links already contains a lot of Off-Topic Links. Take the links to different browsers, for example.
    So adding Off-Topic Links might take some weight off Outside Links making it both, easier to maintain and faster to load.


Re: RFC: Off-Topic Links
by little (Curate) on Apr 24, 2001 at 18:18 UTC
    I wouldn't call that Off topic links but rather sort these links alike the sections in the code area for example, so you get in the end to a link directory for Administration (Unix->Solaris, Linux->Redhat, Debian, Windows->NT, 2K) and so on and you might end up with links to general IT related problems. I mean this operlmonks doesn't need to be the IT's open directory, but ok, it could be :-)
    Just 2 cents

    Have a nice day
    All decision is left to your taste

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