Phillip Smith

Getting to the root of Perl's perception problems

The interest in improving the perception of Perl is increasing every day (much to my surprise!). From Matt S Trout's initiative to feed patches back to the maintainers of perl.org to Jon Allen's TPF grant application to "Improve the visual design of Perl websites," to Gábor Szabó's "Measurable objectives for the Perl ecosystem," each step builds on the next. All of them are tangible and practical steps toward a Perl renaissance online.

Of even more interest is the approach. Like many Perl programs of the past, it appears like the first thought is "Let's just fix this fast," which sometimes can happen even before the problem has been well defined (ahem, spaghetti code anyone?). And while the speed of the "Just Freakin' Do It" approach works when trying to get people excited, it can sometimes miss the mark around harnessing a community's collective wisdom. In my experience, the Perl community has a lot of collective wisdom to tap in to and should be thinking as long term as possible when it comes to re-defining what the Perl community looks like to the outside world.

So, in the interest of pushing the conversation forward another step, I wanted to explore two questions:

  1. What is the Perl community "selling" to the outside world?
  2. Who is the Perl community "selling" its message to?

About

Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.

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