Yaakov is right: sometimes we define merit in technical communities too narrowly.
I want more programmers in the Perl world who don't look like me (middle class, Caucasian, male, stubborn, autodidact, far too well versed in nerdy pursuits like math, Unix, comic books, video games, British humor, Japanese cartoons, and science fiction) not because there's anything wrong with those things but because I like being around people who aren't exactly like me sometimes. I like helping people with problems different from my own. Sometimes writing software for people who write software to help them write software isn't nearly as satisfying as helping a free speech attorney organize her cases or an eight year old boy catalog his collectable card game cards or a working mother download and print recipes for a son with special dietary needs.
I spent the past several days as a camp counselor with my eight year old nephew instead of attending yet another technology conference where rich old white men tell an audience of $1200+ per ticket attendees to spend their time "working on things that matter" because helping a bunch of eight year old kids spend time outdoors and realize that some adults really do care about them and want to help them grow up safe and happy and healthy is awfully satisfying, especially when compared to arguing over whether it's a sin from a technical sense to use XML in a templating system.
Take the ever-present idea of tutorials, for example. If you want to write a tutorial for an audience of purely system administrators with several years of experience managing Unix systems from the command line and really target that tutorial for people who'll never write a program of more than a couple of dozen lines where it only has to work once and no one will ever read it again and getting something mostly working is more important than everything else, go right ahead. Working system administrators need good tutorials. Blessings on you for helping such an audience.
Me, I have different people in mind—not better, not worse, not even necessarily more deserving, just different.
There can be many ways into the world of programming, and there are many places within that world: casual, professional, dilettante, perpetual novice, dabbler, whichever. I'd like to remove some of the barriers that keep people who don't look like me out.
How do we do that?