How to Help without being a Rockstar

I think a lot of people who use perl have the idea that to help the perl ecosystem be they must be rockstars who churn out exorbitant amounts of code that is well tested and well factored. That is just not true!

The easiest thing one can do to help out in the perl ecosystem is to create tickets for any issues you have with modules on RT. It’s not really that much of a hassle and it can help authors out a lot. Make sure that you include enough information for the authors to at least understand what went wrong. I won’t explain all that as my audience is comprised of programmers.

in that same vein, sometimes people forget about RT, or they have so many RT’s that they don’t know which ones are fixed and broken. Well, a small nudge via email can convince them to fix a longstanding bug. Of course, if it’s reasonable sending a patch wouldn’t hurt either…

Another thing which I’ve mentioned before is to use CPAN ratings. Again, this is super easy, but if the module works for you and you have no complaints, 5 stars can really tell other users a lot!

And then of course there is communication on IRC. Often on IRC, after a user asks for clarification, developers will ask for a doc patch. Although this is easy for the user to add (depending on the subject of course) it will help future users significantly.

How many RT’s have you submitted this week? CPANRatings? Doc Patches?

Posted Wed, Aug 26, 2009