CPAN is for experimentation and I hope that never changes

This post is a response to Neil Bower’s post Don’t release experiments to CPAN.

Neil, respectfully, I disagree.

The huge success of CPAN is, I think, in large part because it encouraged experimentation and alternatives.

Suggesting people upload elsewhere (Github) and have module installers use that just creates barriers to participation and barriers to participation are the last thing that Perl needs.

At one time we had the “registered modules” list. That fell out of favor and usage. Why? I think, in part because it couldn’t keep up with the pace of innovation on CPAN. (Possibly, because the approvers couldn’t keep up or became a bottleneck themselves.)

We have a search problem and a problem finding “recommended” modules. But that’s an output issue, not an input issue.

Think about Amazon. They offer the “long tail” of books, but make it easy to find things. Bestseller lists. Recommendations. Reviews.

We should be focusing on helping people find recommended modules. Task::Kensho. Your own excellent review articles.

Suggesting people not upload code because it’s not “worthy” is a recipe for disaster.

I’m the acting PAUSE admin for ID approvals (by which I mean I’m the Turing test to make sure applicants are people and not bots or spammers). Every week I see a regular trickle of brand new CPAN authors. I see their ideas when they apply for an account.

Are all ideas brilliant? Are they going to replace some existing module or revolutionize something on their first try? Probably not. But they are contributing. They are motivated by the idea of giving back to the community.

Some of these authors, someday, will start contributing things that do matter.

Telling them not to upload to CPAN until they have something good enough is a terrible idea. Telling them to keep their ideas on other forums until they’re good enough is a terrible idea.

If we do that, we might as well just tell them to go away.