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Re: New Monks

by frag (Hermit)
on Jun 09, 2001 at 04:48 UTC ( #87132=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to New Monks

Some thoughts:
  1. People have acquired the instinct to delete anything long that comes into their mailbox as a result of filling out a "sign me up" web form. So, I'd like to argue that this doc should be as lean, and as to the point, as possible. Don't try to explain or point out everything; that's an unreasonable goal for this sort of auto-sent welcome message. If a better introduction is needed, then maybe the PM FAQ or other doc pages should be revised.

    Or else, as perigeeV suggests, maybe it should be the page that pops up after creating a new user; label it "New Monk Info Page" and stick in the right column under "Information". Or even situate the link somewhere at the top of the home node of all users during their first 2 levels.

  2. Item #12 should top the whole list. Also, note that the first link under #12 makes all of item #3 redundant. Item #3 is fairly confusing in this context anyway.

  3. After #12 should come #9, followed by a combined list of links to FAQs and manpages under a generic and brief, "If you're looking for help, have you tried any of these sites yet?"

  4. After all the hubbub, you just can't leave out!

  5. The formatting on the links is a little mixed up in places. (I assume that you won't be sending HTML-format mail?) Here's what I'd recommend:
      name of URL, indented slightly (no tabs):
        full URL, indented slightly more, 
        maybe surrounded by one species of bracket or another 
        (if that won't break an HTML-based reader)
    This especially includes the Perlmonks node links that you've included.

  6. Is "have you read the man pages" really necessary? I'd have thought that Perlmonks was relatively obscure enough that to have found it, you'd already know about the existence of man pages. However, one thing that I have found to be obscure to some novices is the perldoc command; you should touch very briefly on this along with the FAQ/man stuff. (Even just a hint to try typing 'perldoc perldoc' would be great.)

  7. "Generating its own *superior* FAQ"...I don't want to knock Hubris, but I think this will come off as too smarmy for a greeting message.

  8. "At the risk of being branded a heretic" - I don't know if that's just your own parenthetical comment, but this should probably be dropped from the final message.

  9. I second the emotion: drop #13. Either completely, or replace it with a Saints link. Let them explore the Monastery in their own sweet time; if it matters to them, they'll come to know the Saints and their home nodes soon enough, and if it doesn't, it's just more noise in the message, drowning out signal.

I hope this doesn't come off as too harsh. This is a good idea, but I just think it should be lean & mean; otherwise, most people won't give it the full attention it deserves. In fact, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to have this as a web page rather than (or in addition to) an email; that way, people can bookmark it (rather than losing it to the depths of their inbox, or automatically hitting the 'd' key), and people can merrily click away to browse all of those Perl/Perlmonks documentation sites before they jump into posting.

-- Frag.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Re: New Monks
by tachyon (Chancellor) on Jun 09, 2001 at 22:08 UTC

    Last point first. Definitely not too harsh. All good points. Many thanks for your time.

    1. Looks like the consensus is to send a link to a node on Perl Monks rather than a big spam mail. Link via password email, /msg, home node or in a prominent place on the site. New Monks Information Page is a good self explanatory title. The into has been re-worded to reflect its possible final position as a node here.

    2-3. I've reordered as you suggest with Monk stuff now first.

    4. Added the link to

    5. The linking is now consistent with Perl Monk links inlined and external links on their own line. Practical if not as pretty as you could get.

    6. I've changed the whole tone to a mellow and consistent Q&A style i.e.:

    Have you discovered the man pages yet?

    Followed by links to them and a few hints as to how to find the local ones for *nix and Win32 including perldoc.

    7. In line with new more mellow tone *superior* de-materialised into a cloud of sub atomic particles condemed to float forever in the endless null void of cyberspace. I didn't like it much either when I reread it.

    8. Heretical reference gone and replaced with a personal opinion.

    9. Saints link now under heading of "Just who/what are the Perl Monks?" with a suggestion why someone might care to visit their home nodes - good free stuff!

    As a node the requirement to be lean and mean is lessened but it still needs to be tight and to the point.

    Thanks again


      Looks good. My one remaining comment is that #4 still seems out of place under "Monastery-Specific Information". You're not providing enough context to the newbie by saying "Please^3 use the following". Maybe something like "Before you post, be sure that you've tried the following things", just list 'em, and point them again to How to get the most of your question from the monks for a more complete discussion.

      -- Frag.

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