flaming vs accuracy [was Re: Performance of int/long in Python 3]

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info
Thu Mar 28 06:20:19 CET 2013

On Wed, 27 Mar 2013 20:49:20 -0700, rusi wrote:

> On Mar 28, 8:18 am, Ethan Furman <et... at stoneleaf.us> wrote:
>> So long as Mark doesn't start cussing and swearing I'm not going to get
>> worked up about it.  I find jmf's posts for more aggravating.
> I support Ned's original gentle reminder -- Please be civil irrespective
> of surrounding nonsensical behavior.
> In particular "You are a liar" is as bad as "You are an idiot" The same
> statement can be made non-abusively thus: "... is not true because ..."

I accept that criticism, even if I disagree with it. Does that make 
sense? I mean it in the sense that I accept that your opinion differs 
from mine.

Politeness does not always trump honesty, and stating that somebody's 
statement "is not true because..." is not the same as stating that they 
are deliberately telling lies (rather than merely being mistaken or 

The world is full of people who deliberately and in complete awareness of 
what they are doing lie in order to further their agenda, or for profit, 
or to feel good about themselves, or to harm others. There comes a time 
where politely ignoring the elephant in the room (the dirty, rotten, 
lying scoundrel of an elephant) and giving them the benefit of the doubt 
simply makes life worse for everyone except the liars.

We all know this. Unless you've been living in a cave on the top of some 
mountain, we all know people whose relationship to the truth is, shall we 
say, rather bendy. And yet we collectively muddy the water and inject 
uncertainty into debate by politely going along with their lies, or at 
least treating them with dignity that they don't deserve, by treating 
them as at worst a matter of honest misunderstanding or even mere 
difference of opinion.

As an Australian, I am constitutionally required to call a spade a bloody 
shovel at least twice a week, so I have no regrets.


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