While in Lisbon at YAPC::EU::2009 I was fortunate enough to talk to Aaron who is an avid Perler and member of the Edinburgh Perl Mongers. Without going into too much detail it is enough to say that Aaron is a member of the Reg team and we had a discussion about pushing the Perl envelope. Specifically how to get Perl back into the consciousness of the wider world. What we decided was to try and get regular articles about Perl out into the world. We decided to start with the Reg as Aaron felt sure he could get a positive response.
Well he went away and he did get a good response. If we can produce the articles the Register may print them, but we will need to keep up a steady flow, about one a week.
Now we have to fulfill the other part.
Here’s the basic upshot. I need authors. A lot of them, the reason I need a lot is to cut down the strain and I’ll explain why. Aaron and I have managed to get the opportunity for a weekly article on a Perl subject to be printed on the Reg. If 4 people take on this task they will each have to write at least 13 articles in a year, if it is 8 the figure halves and so on. So I want 52 people, minimum :)
If we have 52 authors we can pair up on articles, two authors working with each other to write/edit their work and get an article turned around in good speed. So we would have 2 articles a year each and the possibility of editing another 2 – and I’ll cover that in a minute as we think of peer editing and article groups.
Of course if we have 104 people or more it becomes 1 a year and the task gets so much easier for all.
Editing and Themes
The idea of writing the articles is that they would be short pieces. Maybe 500 – 3,000 words in each maximum and I think it would be good if we set ourselves themes to cover. These themes would be things such as:
Begining Perl - articles on how to get started in Perl
Windows Perl - articles on setting up and running Perl on Windows
Projects - a series of articles introducing some of the bigger projects – Moose/Catalyst/Padre/Raduko/Mojo/Dbic etc. – with the idea that we can introduce and explain how to use these projects
Using Perl – companion articles to the begining/using Perl with the idea of using specific projectsd to achieve aims
There are obviously others but this is a start.
We would assign groups of people to one ‘theme’. So if we had four articles on Moose Roles we would attempt to assign 8 people. This working group would be responsible for writing/editing the 4 articles between them (hopefully drawing on their respective different strengths) and thereby reducing the stress even further from one pair.
These are my initial thoughts.
I will be returning to this theme in my next post when I want to talk about the conditions the Reg requires and what we do with the articles once we have them published/written and in one place.
What I really need is…
Stop thinking that you couldn’t do a task like this. You can. You will not be alone. You will be at least one of a pair, in a working group of maybe six or eight and part of a wider group who can help you. And you will be helping the community in a huge way. If there are people who want to write articles on their own, that is also cool, we will work with peer review and editing in the same manner. All contributiuons will be useful. I will also need people to help me control who is writing what, where and when. Controlling submissions and tools for co-operative collaboration – so you people who think you can do that should also be raising your hands.
So sign up now. Or else I will find you…
Please email Mark Keating at: