I am currently running a survey looking at the Perl community specifically and I am looking for people who joined the Perl community within the last two years. I am equally interested in hearing from people having had either positive or negative experiences as newcomers.
Perl subcultures and newcomer experience in Perl
The Perl community has been a growing and evolving multi-faceted entity that is now comprised of a large number of social groups (for example, 262 Perl Mongers groups as of 10/10/12) and various sub-projects that all have their own history and subculture.
Some projects are very newcomer conscious while others are not. Projects may rely on different strategies and means when trying to integrate new recruits. Younger projects like Mojo or Dancer may do things differently compared to older projects such as Catalyst or Moose. Depending on a project's subculture, there may be more or fewer resources dedicated to helping newcomers, people may be more or less supportive, or people may or may not voluntarily mentor newcomers. We could also debate about the differences between Perl 5 and Perl 6 when dealing with newcomers.
There is then a lot of variation in the way newcomers of the overall Perl community are handled making each person's newcomer experience pretty unique.
Among all these different types of experience, some of them will lead one to become a valued sustainable contributor (from the Perl community perspective) while others may simply end up in people slowly giving up or even running away.
This study tries to identify the important aspects of one's newcomer experience in Perl that have a positive influence in generating "good" contributors—"good" in terms of being good citizens for the Perl community.
How is it going to help Perl?
The data will help gain insights about the experience of newcomers within the Perl community. In addition, it will allow to understand how to design effective newcomer initiatives to ensure that Perl will remain a successful and healthy community.
Where is the project going after that?
This survey is the first step of the research project as a refined survey will be later administered to other FOSS communities at the same time. This will allow to generate cross-community results that will be to some extent generalizable. This research project overall aims at helping FOSS communities to design newcomer initiatives in line with their well-being and sustainability.
About the survey
This survey is anonymous, and no information that would identify you is being collected. I expect the survey to take around 20 minutes of your time.
The survey is available at https://limesurvey.sim.vuw.ac.nz/index.php?sid=89971&lang=en. It will be available until Monday, 22 October, 2012.
If you know members of the Perl community who you think would be interested in completing it, please let them know about the survey.