to RG - Lisp lunacy and Perl psychosis

Xah Lee xahlee at
Wed Mar 17 20:17:28 CET 2010


On Mar 10, 9:17 am, Ben Morrow <b... at> wrote:
> Also, flamebait language-comparison xposts involving Lisp are one
> of Xah Lee's trademarks. You might want to look into not imitating
> him/her/it.

being a professional programer today, typically you know more than
just one language. Practical questions, discussions, involving more
than one language is natural, and in fact happens more and more often
in online forums over the past 15 years i've seen. Partly due to, of
course, the tremendous birth of languages in the past decade.

In the 1980s or 1990s, you don't typically use more than one lang in a
project. Today, probably majority of projects requires you to use more
than one well known general purpose language. In those times,
discussion of more than one language is usually academic comparison.
Today, honest post as “i know this in X but how you do in Y” is a
common need.

The reason they become flame wars is mostly not about the message
content. More about tech geeker's sensitivity, with the carried over
old school netiquette that any person mentioning lang x in group y
must be of no good intentions.

If you look at online forums today, in fact most comp lang forums have
no problem in mentioning or discussion different languages in context.
The problem occur more frequently in free-for-all type of forums where
the know-it-all tech geekers reside (the in-group argot is “hacker”),
each thinking they are justice kings and queens, take opportunities to
ridicule, flame, any post that mention other lang or any thing that
doesn't seem to be protective of their lang. This is comp.lang.*
newsgroups, with good as well as mostly bad aspects. Of course, the
free-for-all nature is precisely the reason most tech geekers stay in
newsgroups. A good percentage of them, if not majority, are old

Most newsgroup tech geekers consider cross-posting wrong. I consider
such taboo in this convention being a major contribution to the
redundant creation of new languages, flaws, and foster the hostile
faction nature of programing language groups we see.

It is sad to say, comp.lang.lisp today is 90% machine generated spam.
You see that each time this is brought up in the past 3 years, the
regulars are too busy boasting about how they've set up some tech geek
system so that spam don't reach their eyes, and sternly sputter about
web browser using idiots, with, profuse suggestions from their
infinite knowledge about what newsgroup reading software people should
be using.

To the comp.lang.python people, i think perhaps it is fruitful now to
think about de-coupling the newsgroup from the mailing list... am not
very involved in the comp.lang.python or python community in recent
years, but my thought is that, i got the feeling that most practical
posts happen in the mailing list and the newsgroup ones tend to be
more free flow of thoughts... so perhaps de-couple them is good,
because python is main stream now and mailing list is sustainable
large, is good for more practical, concrete questions and answers, and
philosophical free thoughts still have a place to go, in newsgroups.

further readings:

• Proliferation of Computing Languages

• Tech Geekers vs Spammers

• Cross-posting & Language Factions


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