# interactive help on the base object

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Tue Dec 10 06:10:27 CET 2013

```On Mon, 09 Dec 2013 20:32:06 -0800, rusi wrote:

> On Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:49:46 AM UTC+5:30, Steven D'Aprano
> wrote:
>> On Mon, 09 Dec 2013 05:59:29 -0500, Ned Batchelder wrote:
>
>> [...]
>> > And the cycle continues:
>> [...]
>
>> > Maybe we could just not?
>
> Thanks Ned for your attempts at bringing some order and sense in these
> parts of the universe
>
>> A reasonable request, but just because it's reasonable doesn't mean it
>> is a no-brainer that we shouldn't engage with Mark.
>
> Some basic statistics
>
> Suppose a random variable X takes 2 values x and y with probabilities p
> and q=1-p. Then expected value of X
>
> E[X] = px + qy
>
> p = probability of some good result from an interaction

Define "good result".

> q = 1-p = No good

Define "No good".

> x = benefit value
> y = harm value
>
>> Even if Mark is a crank and beyond the reach of logic, reason or facts,
>> and I'm 90% convinced his is, consider that he's not the only one
>
> So you are pegging 'no-good-probability' at 90% and so p at 10%. Ok lets
> accept these.

Certainly not. I'm pegging my confidence that Mark is a crank at 90%,
which is not the same thing.

For example, although Mark is (presumably) a crank, nevertheless I have
brought some enjoyment into your life as it has given you the opportunity
to regale us all with your opinion on off-topic posts, and show off your
advanced knowledge of probability *wink* That counts as a good result.

> And in the benefit value you include the possible benefit to Mark, to
> whoever engages with him and the random [no relation of random variable
> X] lurking reader. So far so good
>
> And in the harm-value y, are you including the harm done to the random
> reader from a disorderly, abusive, fruitless and almost completely OT
> conversation?

You are conflating the magnitude of harm with the probability of harm.
topic conversations, I'm sure that we're all learning either something or
possibly nothing from it.

>> If just one person learns something useful or new from a reply to Mark,
>> I believe that it is worthwhile.
>
> And if 3 people drop out because the levels of bullshit have crossed
> their thresholds?

I don't know. If twelve people are moved to drop out of this group
because of your post complaining about my post, how would you react? I'd
probably feel between 0 and 1/4 times as good.

By the way, I'm curious. Why are discussions about object oriented coding
off-topic to Python? This is not a rhetorical question.

--
Steven

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