sorting ascending/descending with operator.attrgetter

Steve Holden steve at
Thu Apr 1 01:50:02 EDT 2010

Patrick Maupin wrote:
> On Mar 31, 11:28 pm, Steven D'Aprano 
> <ste... at> wrote:
>> I wouldn't so much say "literal" as "precise".
> Being precise in your own words is an admirable trait.  Asking others
>  to be more precise can be done politely when necessary, but in this 
> case it obviously wasn't necessary, since even you, who deliberately 
> misinterpret everything I write, knew that I was really talking about
>  lists.
>> If you think I'm pedantic, you should see some of the guys I work
>> with.
> I can well imagine that everybody who has to work with you thoroughly
>  enjoys proving you wrong as often as possible.

I am glad I wasn't drinking when I read this. Liquid in one's nose is so

> I would expect they are probably much gentler to each other in your
> absence.  OTOH, if I am wrong, I certainly wouldn't last long there
> -- I've left less poisonous workplaces for less cause.
>> I'm frequently on the receiving end of technical corrections. Yes,
>> it's annoying to be in full flow explaining something, only to have
>> somebody point out that you've made a silly mistake, or totally got
>> something wrong, or what you've been calling a NAT device
>> (including to the client) for a week is actually a NAS device
>> *cough*. Annoying or not, if somebody had corrected me earlier, I
>> wouldn't have looked quite so ignorant for quite so long, so all
>> things considered I'd prefer to have my mistakes pointed out so I
>> can stop making them.
> There is a (not very subtle) difference between saying "Oh, you meant
>  a list, not a string" (especially when the context was a discussion
> of list processing), and printing a traceback for something that
> nobody was discussing, based on a single word slip.
>>> It's a geek thing.
>> Heavens, geeks on a programming forum! Who could possibly have
>> expected such a thing?
> Mr. Holden was being unfailingly polite, in trying to point out that 
> many individuals who have a reasonably high intellect, yet zero
> social skills, will gravitate toward technical fields.  When he was
> asking you to admit that you "tend toward the literal" (which
> naturally you refused to do) I think he may have been trying to
> gently explain that introspection is not just for Python anymore.
Nicely put (though I have to question the accuracy of "unfailingly
polite" if it was intended as a generic description of my behavior.

I guess we have to value the good that's in Steven (few would deny that
he *is* technically very competent) and try and ignore his more annoying

I have toyed many times with the idea of giving a presentation at PyCon
called something like "Humanity 101". It would include such advice as
"When I say 'use soap' I am not talking about the Simple Object Access
Protocol" and "Being wrong is usually survivable; offending a homicidal
maniac often isn't".

Perhaps I should just add it to the Holden Web course schedule?

Steve Holden           +1 571 484 6266   +1 800 494 3119
See PyCon Talks from Atlanta 2010
Holden Web LLC       

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