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From: Greg Bacon <gbacon@cs.uah.edu>
Subject: [comp.lang.perl.moderated] Welcome - read this first!
Date: 15 Sep 1998 14:51:48 GMT

Archive-Name: perl-faq/moderated/welcome
Comp-lang-perl-moderated-archive-name: welcome
Posting-Frequency: weekly
Version: $Id: FAQ,v 1.33 1998/09/15 14:48:27 gbacon Exp $
URL: http://www.plover.com/clpm/welcome
Maintainer: Greg Bacon <gbacon@cs.uah.edu>
Copyright-Notice: see Section 9

[ A recent copy of this document can be obtained via anonymous FTP as
  rtfm.mit.edu:/pub/faqs/perl-faq/moderated/welcome.  If you do not have
  access to anonymous FTP, you can get a copy by sending email to
  mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with the command
  "send faqs/perl-faq/moderated/welcome" in the message. ]


Subject: 0. What is this document?

This document contains information for everyone interested in posting to
or simply reading the comp.lang.perl.moderated Usenet newsgroup.

This document DOES NOT answer any questions you might have about Perl.
For a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Perl language itself,
please see


In the interest of brevity, `clpmod' will be used throughout the rest of
this document to refer to the comp.lang.perl.moderated Usenet newsgroup.
Similarly, `clpmisc' will be used throughout the rest of this document
to refer to the comp.lang.perl.misc Usenet newsgroup.


Welcome to clpmod!

1. Do we really need a moderated Perl newsgroup?
2. What topics are appropriate for clpmod?
3. Are there any resources I should consult before posting?
4. How do I post to clpmod?
5. Why do I have to register to post?
6. Won't registering make me an easy target for spammers?
7. Isn't header munging prohibited by the RFCs?
8. Who are the moderators?
9. About this posting


Subject: Welcome to clpmod!

The following is a list of questions that you may have or that may arise
as you participate in clpmod.  We the clpmod moderators hope to make this
document as useful as possible for everyone.  Please assist us in
achieving this goal by mailing the maintainer of this FAQ if there are
subjects you feel should be covered but aren't or if coverage of some
subjects is not adequate.


Subject: 1. Do we really need a moderated Perl newsgroup?

This is the rationale Mark-Jason Dominus provided for the creation of

    The comp.lang.perl.misc group presently has very high
    traffic: typically about 250 articles per day.  Much of this
    traffic is given over to people asking off-topic questions,
    and questions answered in the FAQ.

    In these circumstances, a number of regular posters to the
    group have stopped reading comp.lang.perl.misc, while new
    readers can find it difficult to find relevant posts.  The
    result is reduced usefulness of the existing
    comp.lang.perl.misc newsgroup.

    This comp.lang.perl.moderated group is proposed as high
    signal-to-noise group where readers will not be subjected to
    the types of articles described above. The intention is to
    provide a useful resource for inexperienced Perl programmers
    and to attract and retain experienced programmers who can
    make a substantial contribution to the group.

    comp.lang.perl.misc would still be left in place for more
    general discussion, and for those topics that no one seems
    to agree on a place for.

However, if you're asking this question or don't buy the above rationale,
there is no reason for you not to continue using clpmisc.  The existence
of clpmod has no bearing on clpmisc.


Subject: 2. What topics are appropriate for clpmod?

This is outlined in the group's charter, which you can read at


If you're unsure about a submission's appropriateness, you can either
post it and wait for a moderator's decision or you can contact the
moderation panel's policy discussion mailing list at



Subject: 3. Are there any resources I should consult before posting?

Yes.  Thanks to the hard work of many, a myriad of excellent information
about Perl is available free of charge!

Consider this list compiled by Nathan Torkington <gnat@frii.com>:

1. comp.lang.perl.moderated is for questions on the Perl language.  If
   you're interested in reading the group's charter, please go to


   Don't forget that there is also an unmoderated group for discussion
   of the Perl language, comp.lang.perl.misc, for topics that do not
   fall within the bounds of clpmod's charter.

   Try comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi for questions on the CGI part
   of CGI scripts.  The two leading blocks of reusable code for CGI
   purposes are CGI.pm, at



   and cgi-lib.pl, at


   You might also want to check out libwww-perl at



   If you are having problems with a CGI script, look through


2. Are you using the following?

        #!/usr/bin/perl -w
        use diagnostics;
        use strict;

   "-w" turns on all sorts of warnings about probable errors (see the
   perldiag manpage), "use diagnostics" causes the "-w" warnings to be
   explained in greater detail (with the explanations from the perldiag
   manpage), and "use strict" generates compile and run-time errors for
   certain unsafe variable, reference and subroutine constructs (see the
   strict manpage)

3. Have you read the Perl FAQ?  Many questions on sockets programming,
   an important and common problem with Solaris, text manipulation and
   the jargon of perl are answered in the FAQ.  As well as being posted
   regularly to comp.lang.perl.misc, the FAQ is on the web at:

4. Have you read the man pages?  Here are some subjects and the man
   pages to look in:

        Objects         perltoot, perlref, perlmod, perlobj, perltie
        Data Structures perlref, perllol, perldsc
        Modules         perlmod, perlsub, perlmodlib
        Regexps         perlre, perlfunc, perlop
                        (not a man-page but still useful)
        Moving to perl5 perltrap, perl
        Linking w/C     perlxstut, perlxs, perlcall, perlguts, perlembed

   The man page for "perltoc" provides a crude table of contents for the
   perl man page set.

5. Have you tried archives of Usenet?  http://www.dejanews.com/
   maintains an archive of postings to Usenet dating from March, 1995.
   Be sure to include "Perl" in your search.

6. Are you checking the return values from the functions built in to
   perl?  Most of the file and system functions set $! and have return
   values that you can test thus:

        open(PASSWD, "</etc/passwd") or
            die "error opening /etc/passwd: $!\n";

   $! will contain an error message that will give you more information
   on where your program is going wrong.  The perlfunc man page will
   give you more information on the return values from functions.

7. Have you looked at http://www.perl.com ?  This is a great
   online reference, with documentation, pointers to modules in the
   Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN), articles on the inner
   workings of many bits of Perl, and more.

7.5. Have you checked to see if a Perl module satisfies your needs?
   Many reusable modules are available for immediate download and use.
   See http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/00modlist.long.html for details.

8. The latest version of the "Camel Book" ("Programming Perl"),
   updated for version 5.003, is available from your bookstore or from

   Another excellent dead tree resource is the first and only periodical
   devoted to Perl, The Perl Journal.  In fact, several moderators have
   even contributed to TPJ.  Find it on the web at http://www.tpj.com/.
   Check out (free!) example code from past issues at


9. Perl 5.004_04 is the latest and most stable version of Perl.  Many
   bugs have been fixed with this release, several useful new features
   added, and much more documentation has been provided.  You can
   download it as


   (look in ftp://ftp.perl.com/perl/ for a list of FTP-based mirrors).

10. Remember, USENET newsgroups are based on the idea of mutual aid.
   USENET only works if we put as much into it as we get out of it.
   Good luck with your Perl work.


Subject: 4. How do I post to clpmod?

Posting to moderated newsgroups should be no different than posting to
unmoderated newsgroups.  In case the configuration at your site is
broken, you may email your submission directly to


If you're not sure whether the moderation panel has received your post,
feel free to contact the moderation panel's administrative address:


New posters will automatically receive a list of Perl resources and a
registration form to fill out and return.  All submissions from a new
or unregistered poster will be held in escrow until their registration
form has been returned and accepted, after which all articles will be
distributed to members of the moderation team for consideration.


Subject: 5. Why do I have to register to post?

Since the recent Internet explosion, the typical Usenet poster has
changed somewhat.  For example, many sites used to require people to
read the periodic posts in news.announce.newusers before they could post
to Usenet at all.  These days, it seems like no one even knows what the
purpose of news.announce.newusers is.  People didn't always think of
Usenet as their free helpdesk to which they should send their urgent
questions.  This isn't the fault of the new users, but their sheer
volume makes it very difficult to educate them.

The registration system has a few advantages.  One of which is new
posters receive a nice list of Perl resources.  This is good because it
increases their chances of finding an answer as well as increases the
quality of the answers they'll find.  Some weeks on clpmisc feature a
set of posters of whom half have never posted to the group before.  This
suggests that they probably haven't browsed through many Perl resources.
Holding posts in escrow also makes the lives of the volunteer moderation
panel a little easier.


Subject: 6. Won't registering make me an easy target for spammers?

Many potential readers raised this concern during the process of
creating clpmod.  It is our desire to make clpmod as useful as possible
to as many people as possible, and the threat of spam outweighs the
potential usefulness for some people.  We promised to support header
munging until a better solution to the spam problem comes along.

After posting to the group for the first time, the response you receive
will outline exactly how to go about arranging to munge your From:
header.  To register a munged address before posting, bug a moderator.


Subject: 7. Isn't header munging prohibited by the RFCs?

Though some readings of the RFCs (RFC stands for Request for Comment--
these documents serve as Internet Standards; see
<URL:http://info.internet.isi.edu:80/7c/in-notes/rfc/.cache> to search
for RFCs on a certain subject) prohibit spam blocking or header munging,
the desire to avoid spam is legitimate.

We realize that there are many positions on this sometimes controversial
topic.  In fact, if you do not wish to see posts with a munged From:
header, feel free to killfile those posts.  All posters who register
under a munged address will have the following header included in all
approved articles:

    X-Unverified-Address: yes

Newsreaders with decent killfile functionality will allow people who
don't want to read articles with unrepliable addresses to avoid hair

Keep in mind, however, that an article that does not contain the
X-Unverified-Address: header is not necessarily automatically
repliable.  People's addresses do change and configuration errors do
occur.  If an article does not have the X-Unverified-Address: header,
that means we were able to send mail to it once--the address may no
longer be valid.  An easy rule of thumb is the X-Unverified-Address:
header (or lack thereof) is merely an indication and not a definitive


Subject: 8. Who are the moderators?

The most up-to-date list of members of the moderation panel lives at


Those moderators whose addresses are on a line beginning with an
octothorpe (#) are not currently receiving articles for review.  They
may be on vacation (although not necessarily together), for example.

Subject: 9. About this posting

(c) Copyright 1998 by the clpmod moderators, all rights
reserved.  Redistribution of this document is hereby freely granted so
long as the document is redistributed in its entirety (here
interpreted as all text which were not automated generated by software
as part of the distribution process); in particular, with attributions
and this copyright notice.  We would appreciate hearing about any
interesting redistributions.

Comments about, suggestions about or corrections to this posting are  
welcomed.  If you would like to ask us to change this posting in some 
way, the method we appreciate most is for you to actually make the  
desired modifications to a copy of the posting, and then to send us the 
modified posting, or a context diff between the posted version and your 
modified version (if you do the latter, make sure to include in your 
mail the "Version:" line from the posted version).  Submitting changes 
in this way makes dealing with them easier for us and helps to avoid 
misunderstandings about what you are suggesting.

Many people have in the past provided feedback and corrections; we 
thank them for their input.  Remaining ambiguities, errors, and 
difficult-to-read passages are not their fault. :) 

 -- The clpmod moderation panel