[Masak’s recent post on use.perl.org](http://use.perl.org/~masak/journal/39090), called “How can we scale kindness?”, boils down my frustration with anti-helpful behaviors like geek pissing contests, [telling newbies “RTFM”](http://perl.plover.com/yak/12views/samples/notes.html#sl-33) and [calling people “fuckhead”](http://petdance.com/perl/geek-culture/).
> Every day, we contribute to shaping our community.
By extension, I think it’s fair to say that allowing anti-helpfulness to stand unanswered is part of shaping our community. I might even expand it to say:
> Every day, through action and inaction, we contribute to shaping our community.
I understand that every community will have jerks, and the Perl community is no different. However, it’s possible to balance the bad signal with good. Answering hostile behavior doesn’t have to be, and in fact shouldn’t be, a flame war. Instead, bypass the damage of the hostile participants and address the topics as they should be.
If a newbie in IRC asks a “dumb” question, and is beaten down by the regulars in the channel, go ahead and answer the question for him. It’s a far better response than ragging on the beaters.
How do you handle the negative in the Perl community?