in reply to don't be nervous about OT

A good post might be off topic for what this site is about, but it might still worth to be front paged, as it is good.
The problem with this reasoning is, where do you stop? Since there is a lot more to say about non-Perl subjects than there is about Perl subjects, a lot more "good" articles can be written about non-Perl subjects than about Perl subjects.

Which means that if people agree with you and people continue to frontpage off-topic articles, within a few months people will start asking "why is this site called perlmonks, there are hardly any discussions related to Perl".


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Re: Re: don't be nervous about OT
by calin (Deacon) on Nov 09, 2003 at 17:13 UTC
    I believe the negative feedback will take care of it. When (if?) the discussion will really degenerate, people will get annoyed and strike back, and the massive downvoting wave will kick in, possibly followed by more drastic measures like node-reaping.

    People bash at XP. Yes, I agree, it's a good attitude, wearing a button that reads "I don't give a f*** about reputation" gives one's person a romantic, rebellious aura. But don't forget that this system contributes to PerlMonks' excellent signal-to-noise ratio. Yes, you can post controversial material if you feel it's your moral duty to do so, but here at PerlMonks you can't have your cake and eat it too. Good? Bad? I believe it helps to separate diamonds from glass, real issues from trolls.

    Look what happened to this fellow (and my explanation).

Re^2: don't be nervous about OT
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Nov 09, 2003 at 15:17 UTC

    Just a bit melodramatic there, aren't we.

    So long as it doesn't become a trend, I don't see any reason to sweat it. If it does, it'll be addressed way before the "why's the site called Perlmonks" point (even if that's by renaming the site).

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      I agree wholeheartedly with Abigail-II on this.   Speaking out against OT posts is the best way I know of to address a strongly potential problem *before* it becomes an actual and substantial problem.

      I don't dislike OT posts out of arbitrariety, rather because they invite a trend toward slashdot-ness.   One of the things I really like about the Monastery is that interaction here is mostly reasoned, civil, and mature, which contrasts tremendously with anything-goes sites.   S/Nr++

      I believe that the Monastery's fairly narrow focus plays a primary role in keeping this community a positive and enjoyable place to frequent.   Personally, I have no end of (SQL|*nix|bash|win32|hygeine)-ish questions that I'd *love* to be able to post here.   But I recognize that it would be detrimental to the community to do so.   Hence, I bite my tongue, and spit dat chat in de CB.

      For any who advocate a more laissez-faire approach, I'd encourage reading through some of Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet.   I don't agree with everything he writes, but his commentaries on 'net communities and scaling make a lot of sense.   Here's a couple notables, there are more.

      To summarize, I submit that it's better for the Monastery as a community if off topic posts are gently, firmly, persistantly, and consistantly discouraged, and done so *before* adverse affects manifest.   The CB provides a great facility for non-perlish discussions, with few-to-none adverse affects on the site.


        striving toward Perl Adept
        (it's pronounced "why-bick")

        It might be worth remembering that Perl's strength is amalgamating foreign cultures.

        The distinction is not always clear either. If someone has a problem with their mod_perl stuff, they may not even be able to tell whether it's on the Apache end or the Perl side. Likewise someone's trouble with a database - and if it turns out to be something like a bug in a DBD it might even be arguable that it belongs to both sides of the fence.

        Now don't think I'm advocating OT posts and broadening the focus - far from it. I'm firmly in favour of clearly labelling OT stuff as OT as a way of reinforcing the focus. But attempts to actively control OT stuff tend to drive down the very SNR you're concerned about as people start debating the merit of posts and the meta-ness of threads increases.

        I've led a community before and learned a number of lessons in this area. The most important one is that rules cannot be enforced; they can only be suggested. Improving the quality of contributions does not happen by forbidding undesired content; it can only be brought about by making the community reinforce itself in encouraging desired content. This is a very indirect process that works ever better the fewer direct interventions happen. The articles you cite are a good place to start if you're interested in understanding these kinds of mechanics. :)

        So all I'm saying is to remember that while Perl's the site's focus, that means there are other things on the blurry fringes of the picture. So long as people are reminded that these areas are off-focus, they will not divert their sight.

        Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Re: don't be nervous about OT
by DrHyde (Prior) on Nov 10, 2003 at 09:15 UTC
    A problem with *this* reasoning is also, where do you stop? That is, how do you define what is off-topic? It's always going to be a matter of personal judgement, and if I think something is marginally off-topic I'm not going to start whining that it should be deleted, because it might meet someone elses idea of on-topic. Also, if the question as posted is off-topic but I can make an interesting on-topic reply then I'd probably approve the original post even though I think it's off-topic.
      It's always going to be a matter of personal judgement, and if I think something is marginally off-topic
      There is no such thing as marginally off-topic. Things are either on topic, or not (and keep in mind appropriate sections). That particular node may be perceived as OT on the surface, but once you see that it's in the "meditations" section, you realize that it is exactly on topic. It is a meditation and it is applicable to perl. Now if this was posted in SOPW asking what's the best C++ development environment it would clearly be OT.