moderation of abuse?

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Blake D

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Feb 3, 2004, 4:07:44 AM2/3/04
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With Respect,
I have seen some number of posts in this newsgroup that seemed to me to be
less than friendly and helpful. It is possible that I have misinterpreted
some people.

Some common themes seems to be:

Newbie:
"How can I do X in lisp?"
(X being a seemingly reasonable to me thing to want to do.)

Responder:
"Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in C.
X is not needed.
(Now that you feel very small, <-- This part is a possible interpretation.)
Here is some information about lisp that may or may not help you."

Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place where some
standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?

Possible goals:
-Newbies can ask questions without fear of being reprimanded for their
stupidity, even if the answer is: "This question gets asked a lot. Here is a
link to the part of the FAQ that answers it better than I can. -link-"
-Blatant abuse is blocked.
-Not so blatant implications of stupidity are blocked or discouraged.
-Attacks are blocked.
-Friendliness is encouraged.
-Visibility: the place needs to be one with a lot of exposure, maybe a
moderated newsgroup, or at least get a link on ALU, CLiki, etc, etc.

A newsgroup, email list, bulletin board, yahoo group, etc could all work,
but to be moderated, we would need quite a few moderators.
Any thoughts?
Does this place already exist?

Sincerely,
Blake


Bulent Murtezaoglu

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Feb 3, 2004, 4:23:21 AM2/3/04
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>>>>> "BD" == Blake D <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> writes:

BD> With Respect, I have seen some number of posts in this
BD> newsgroup that seemed to me to be less than friendly and
BD> helpful. It is possible that I have misinterpreted some
BD> people.

You probably haven't. This is usenet, all kinds of behaviour exist
here. That's not a bug, it is a feature.

[...]
BD> Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
BD> comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place
BD> where some standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?
[...]

I would avoid it unless regular cll disappeared. I imagine most of the
regulars here would also.

cheers,

BM

Christopher C. Stacy

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Feb 3, 2004, 4:46:50 AM2/3/04
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>>>>> On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 02:07:44 -0700, Blake D ("Blake") writes:
Blake> Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
Blake> comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place
Blake> where some standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?

I would do it, depending on how much you think subscription revenue
would be and, and how much of an overhead cut I'd get for moderating
the replies from the consultants.

Henrik Motakef

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Feb 3, 2004, 4:59:18 AM2/3/04
to
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> writes:

> A newsgroup, email list, bulletin board, yahoo group, etc could all work,
> but to be moderated, we would need quite a few moderators.
> Any thoughts?
> Does this place already exist?

I don't think it's moderated, and it seems to be mostly dead, but
there is a lisp-newbies mailing list at
<http://lists.unlambda.com/mailman/listinfo/lisp-newbies>.

Pascal Bourguignon

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Feb 3, 2004, 7:38:08 AM2/3/04
to
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> writes:
> Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
> comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place where some
> standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?
>
> Possible goals:
> -Newbies can ask questions without fear of being reprimanded for their
> stupidity, even if the answer is: "This question gets asked a lot. Here is a
> link to the part of the FAQ that answers it better than I can. -link-"
> -Blatant abuse is blocked.
> -Not so blatant implications of stupidity are blocked or discouraged.
> -Attacks are blocked.
> -Friendliness is encouraged.
> -Visibility: the place needs to be one with a lot of exposure, maybe a
> moderated newsgroup, or at least get a link on ALU, CLiki, etc, etc.
>
> A newsgroup, email list, bulletin board, yahoo group, etc could all work,
> but to be moderated, we would need quite a few moderators.
> Any thoughts?
> Does this place already exist?

Perhaps not a moderated, but a comp.lang.lisp.beginners ?

--
__Pascal_Bourguignon__ http://www.informatimago.com/
There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he doesn't
want merely because you think it would be good for him.--Robert Heinlein
http://www.theadvocates.org/

Barry Margolin

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Feb 3, 2004, 8:50:45 AM2/3/04
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In article <rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>,
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Responder:
> "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in C.
> X is not needed.

Just tell the newbies to killfile Erik Naggum and they'll be spared this
indignity.

--
Barry Margolin, bar...@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***

Erik Naggum

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Feb 3, 2004, 9:48:22 AM2/3/04
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* Barry Margolin

| Just tell the newbies to killfile Erik Naggum and they'll be spared
| this indignity.

There is no need for this. I won't post here again. Everybody blames
me for the misbehavior of other people, anyway, and I just don't have
the energy to fight that extremely unfair insanity, anymore.

It must be so simple for you people to have a Devil you can blame.

--
Erik Naggum | Oslo, Norway 2004-034

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.

Hannah Schroeter

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Feb 3, 2004, 10:46:13 AM2/3/04
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Hello!

Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> wrote:

> There is no need for this. I won't post here again. Everybody blames
> me for the misbehavior of other people, anyway, and I just don't have
> the energy to fight that extremely unfair insanity, anymore.

That would be very sad. Just killfile those "everybody" who blame you
and have a happy life.

Kind regards,

Hannah.

Jacek Generowicz

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Feb 3, 2004, 11:45:03 AM2/3/04
to
Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> writes:

> Everybody blames me for the misbehavior of other people, anyway,
> and I just don't have the energy to fight that extremely unfair
> insanity, anymore.

So _don't_ fight the "extremely unfair insanity". But does that prevent
you from continuing to post excellent articles on Common Lisp ?

Sashank Varma

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Feb 3, 2004, 1:04:54 PM2/3/04
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In article <barmar-A220DF....@netnews.comcast.net>,
Barry Margolin <bar...@alum.mit.edu> wrote:

> In article <rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>,
> "Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > Responder:
> > "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in C.
> > X is not needed.
>
> Just tell the newbies to killfile Erik Naggum and they'll be spared this
> indignity.

Barry, in the two previous threads started by Blake D, Erik contributed
no posts. S/he is apparently sore at Steve Haflich and Kaz Kylheku.

Sashank Varma

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Feb 3, 2004, 1:02:52 PM2/3/04
to
In article <rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>,
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> With Respect,
> I have seen some number of posts in this newsgroup that seemed to me to be
> less than friendly and helpful. It is possible that I have misinterpreted
> some people.

Google shows this is "Blake D"'s third post to comp.lang.lisp.

Your first one on January 1st of this year started a thread of
28 message, all of them helpful and informative.

Your second post of February 1st brought five replies. In
it, you asked for methods for overriding the traditional
names of Common Lisp operators. This is a typical newbie
mistake in all contexts -- I remember defining Unix commands
such as "cd" and "ls" when first faced with VMS in the late
1980s. Three replies answered your question, two explained
the downfall of taking this track. Steven Halflich, who I
believe leads the ANSI committee on Common Lisp, explained
the consequences of your requested change in terms of the
many Common Lisp namespaces. Kaz Kylheku pointed out that
idiosyncratic naming conventions will make your code hard
for others to read and suggested other places to translate
terminology. Neither comment attacked you. Why did you
feel attacked? Given that you did, did you look up the
posting histories of these two regulars to see if the abuse
you perceived was a mere figment?

I suggest you stick around, keep asking questions, and learn
the local culture. If you find some parts of it abrasive,
change it by example. Forking the community based on three
posts will get you nowhere, whether in comp.lang.lisp or
any other newsgroup.

> Some common themes seems to be:
>
> Newbie:
> "How can I do X in lisp?"
> (X being a seemingly reasonable to me thing to want to do.)
>
> Responder:
> "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in C.
> X is not needed.
> (Now that you feel very small, <-- This part is a possible interpretation.)
> Here is some information about lisp that may or may not help you."

Newbies often don't know enough to properly frame their
own questions. These kinds of responses are designed
to draw from you the situation you face so that your
question can be crystallized in Common Lisp terms and
proper solutions proposed. Think of it as a service --
folks around here are willing to give you more than a quick,
one-off response that works in black-box form. They're
willing to teach you (Lisp needs more converts!) in
Scoratic fashion.

Kaz Kylheku

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Feb 3, 2004, 1:25:35 PM2/3/04
to
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>...
> With Respect,

True respect doesn't require such introductions. Where there is
respect, it need not be mentioned.

> I have seen some number of posts in this newsgroup that seemed to me to be
> less than friendly and helpful. It is possible that I have misinterpreted
> some people.

Or maybe you have misinterpreted the compensation model of Usenet. As
in, there isn't any compensation. So you can't demand ``service with a
smile''.

> Some common themes seems to be:
>
> Newbie:
> "How can I do X in lisp?"
> (X being a seemingly reasonable to me thing to want to do.)
>
> Responder:
> "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in C.
> X is not needed.
> (Now that you feel very small, <-- This part is a possible interpretation.)
> Here is some information about lisp that may or may not help you."

Nobody can make you feel small without the cooperation of your
existing psychological problem.

There is nothing in the above answer that I would even remotely
interpret as insult or condescension. In the past, I have almost
invariably profited whenever I was told to stop thinking in terms of
X, but instead use perspective Y.

The way I see it, people like you are are nothing but
passive-aggressive, do-gooders who are hell-bent on controlling the
behavior of better people.

Hey look, it's the third of the month. Don't you have some girlfriend
to guilt-manipulate into paying your rent?

jblazi

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Feb 3, 2004, 1:41:11 PM2/3/04
to
On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 14:48:22 +0000, Erik Naggum wrote:

> There is no need for this. I won't post here again. Everybody blames
> me for the misbehavior of other people, anyway, and I just don't have
> the energy to fight that extremely unfair insanity, anymore.

Once you hurt my feelings very deeply and behaved callously. At least this
is how I saw it. (Remember my grandparents?)

But later I learnt what that meant and now I believe that you did not mean
it.
I think it would be a pity if you left as your postings are very
enjoyable and often you prove that your insight is deep (as far as I can
judge this). (Though it also happened to me that following you advice
proved unfortunate for me.)

So please stay. The main reason I am still reading this group is because I
enjoy your postings.

Janos Blazi


----== Posted via Newsfeed.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet News==----
http://www.newsfeed.com The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World! >100,000 Newsgroups
---= 19 East/West-Coast Specialized Servers - Total Privacy via Encryption =---

Harag

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Feb 3, 2004, 1:41:36 PM2/3/04
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"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04...
<SNIP>

> Responder:
> "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in
C.
> X is not needed.
<SNIP>

That kind of information is priceless as a newbie I find that learning the
language (syntax, builtin operators etc) is one thing but learning to use
LISP "correctly" or get the "most" from it by "thinking" in LISP is what
really helps.


jblazi

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Feb 3, 2004, 1:48:04 PM2/3/04
to
On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 02:07:44 -0700, Blake D wrote:

> Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
> comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place where some
> standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?

This has been discussed several times. I think, the main problem was that
nobody would do it. There are many people here who could do it, for
example TB or KT or PC, to name but a few, but none of them would do it
and for good reason.

The other point is, that I really think that the advice that the poster
should stop thinking like a C programmer, is often heard in this group but
I also think that it is usually a good piece of advice.

jb

Darius

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Feb 3, 2004, 2:21:09 PM2/3/04
to
On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 12:02:52 -0600
Sashank Varma <no...@vanderbilt.edu> wrote:

> In article <rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>,
> "Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > With Respect,
> > I have seen some number of posts in this newsgroup that seemed to me
> > to be less than friendly and helpful. It is possible that I have
> > misinterpreted some people.
>
> Google shows this is "Blake D"'s third post to comp.lang.lisp.

[a bunch of irrelevant argumentation]

> Neither comment attacked you. Why did you
> feel attacked?

Where did he say he was (or felt) attacked? He said, he has -seen- some
"less than friendly and helpful" posts, this in no way implies that they
were directed at him and given his later (elided) remarks it, on the
contrary, looks like he's talking almost exclusively about other posters
he's seen.

> Given that you did,

It looks like you need to check your assumptions. Ironically*,
assumptions like this (or the appearance of them) are very likely the
thing that makes some posts seem "less than friendly".

* Wait... that isn't very ironic.

Sashank Varma

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Feb 3, 2004, 3:35:56 PM2/3/04
to
In article <20040203142109.00001ce2@derek>, Darius <dda...@hotpop.com>
wrote:

> On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 12:02:52 -0600
> Sashank Varma <no...@vanderbilt.edu> wrote:
>
> > In article <rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>,
> > "Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > > With Respect,
> > > I have seen some number of posts in this newsgroup that seemed to me
> > > to be less than friendly and helpful. It is possible that I have
> > > misinterpreted some people.
> >
> > Google shows this is "Blake D"'s third post to comp.lang.lisp.
>
> [a bunch of irrelevant argumentation]

You think it's irrelevant? It documents that (1) Blake D has
not been in this newsgroup very long and probably doesn't know
the local culture and (2) neither of the two posts that used
the argument he dislikes were hostile (IMO).

> > Neither comment attacked you. Why did you
> > feel attacked?
>
> Where did he say he was (or felt) attacked? He said, he has -seen- some
> "less than friendly and helpful" posts, this in no way implies that they
> were directed at him and given his later (elided) remarks it, on the
> contrary, looks like he's talking almost exclusively about other posters
> he's seen.
>

> It looks like you need to check your assumptions. Ironically*,
> assumptions like this (or the appearance of them) are very likely the
> thing that makes some posts seem "less than friendly".
>
> * Wait... that isn't very ironic.

Yes, Blake D phrased his post from the perspective of a third-
person observer. I assume this was rhetorical, you assume
otherwise, and only Blake D which one of us is correct (or if
the answer is a bit of both).

Anyway, the larger point of my post was for him to stick around
and to see the question which irked him not as a reprimand but
as a prompt for useful background information so that a better
solution to his problem can be formulated.

n++k

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Feb 3, 2004, 4:23:28 PM2/3/04
to
Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> wrote in message news:<2004-034-4...@naggum.no>...

> * Barry Margolin
> | Just tell the newbies to killfile Erik Naggum and they'll be spared
> | this indignity.
>
> There is no need for this. I won't post here again. Everybody blames
> me for the misbehavior of other people, anyway, and I just don't have
> the energy to fight that extremely unfair insanity, anymore.
>

That would be a shame.

Besides, no-need to "fight" this behaviour, (it is actually more
harmful than useful) ignoring it shall be perfectly sufficient.

Marco Gidde

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Feb 3, 2004, 5:14:17 PM2/3/04
to
Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> writes:

> There is no need for this. I won't post here again. Everybody blames
> me for the misbehavior of other people, anyway, and I just don't have
> the energy to fight that extremely unfair insanity, anymore.

That would be really sad. While I post almost nothing on cll I read a
lot, usually those threads, that I'm interested in, but there are a
few posters whose articles I read almost unconditionally and you are
one of those.

> Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
> Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.

This is a very good advice but don't expect everybody would
agree. Please stay and share your knowledge with those, who are
interested.


Kind regards,

Marco Gidde

Blake D

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Feb 3, 2004, 5:13:27 PM2/3/04
to
Hello All,
This is a collection of responses to many posts in this thread.

>Just tell the newbies to killfile... (insert individual(s) that one finds
offensive here)
This is great advice for existing posters. For newbies, I don't see a way to
tell or warn them of anything before they arrive.

I see it as inevitable that some people will come, look, and leave. I would
just see it as better if less of them left because they were offended than
more of them leaving for that reason.

>comp.lang.lisp.beginners?
Sure, neat idea... I wonder if it would be very different? Since it is a
"free for all" environment, anyone who wanted to could make rude posts
without consequence, but since the newsgroup has an expressed beginners
focus, it's possible that the rudeness could be less common.

I also wonder if many of the more experienced people in this newsgroup would
prefer that newbies were a separate forum, or if they would not prefer that?

>Yes, Blake D phrased his post from the perspective of a third-
>person observer. I assume this was rhetorical, you assume
>otherwise, and only Blake D which one of us is correct (or if
>the answer is a bit of both).

Some people have asked if I am responding to post that were made to me
personally, or post to others?

I'm responding mostly to post to other people. Although I have interpreted
similar perspectives in posts made to me, I didn't have any to me that I
interpreted as blatantly rude until one post in this thread, quoted below.

>Nobody can make you feel small without the cooperation of your
>existing psychological problem.

.....


>The way I see it, people like you are are nothing but
>passive-aggressive, do-gooders who are hell-bent on controlling the
>behavior of better people.

>Hey look, it's the third of the month. Don't you have some girlfriend
>to guilt-manipulate into paying your rent?

Since I have not heard any expressed interest in a moderated newsgroup, and
I don't know how to set one up myself, I guess there is little point in
persuing that now.

I'm grateful that this newsgroup exists, with all of its "bugs" and
"features". Without some sort of support for the occasion when one can't
figure out a sticky problem themselves, any programming language would
suffer in usability.

Sincerely,
Blake


Stefan Scholl

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Feb 3, 2004, 5:28:33 PM2/3/04
to
On 2004-02-03 10:07:44, Blake D wrote:

> I have seen some number of posts in this newsgroup that seemed to me to be
> less than friendly and helpful.

I've seen worse.

cll is one of the better newsgroups. There's still room for
improvement, though.

Stefan Scholl

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Feb 3, 2004, 5:35:07 PM2/3/04
to
On 2004-02-03 14:50:45, Barry Margolin wrote:
> "Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Responder:
>> "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in C.
>> X is not needed.
>
> Just tell the newbies to killfile Erik Naggum and they'll be spared this
> indignity.

This could be the right thing for newbies of live, not newbies of a
programming language.

It's not kindergarten.

Nils Gösche

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Feb 3, 2004, 5:42:52 PM2/3/04
to
Barry Margolin <bar...@alum.mit.edu> writes:

> In article <rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>,
> "Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > Responder:
> > "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop
> > thinking in C. X is not needed.
>
> Just tell the newbies to killfile Erik Naggum and they'll be spared
> this indignity.

Being a newbie and being told about one's thinking mistakes has
nothing to do with indignity. It is the best way to learn things and
stop being a newbie. If Blake D wants to avoid this he'll have to
killfile just about everybody who might tell him something
interesting. Maybe it would indeed be a good idea to create a special
newsgroup for people with such desires, one called
comp.lang.lisp.cuddle. In there, every newbie spouting

# # But having to use FunCall sucks. How could the designers of LISP
# # be so stupid?

will be given a group hug and lots of encouragement:

# Yes, look how smart you are! Who would have thought of that? I
# would really like to thank you for bringing such an alternative
# perspective into our community. None of us have ever used C or
# Scheme and we will be so delighted sitting in a circle and listening
# together to your visions of how things should be in an ideal world
# created by someone who was actually able to read and understand C
# For Dummies. Your idea of using K&R indenting style in Lisp^WLISP
# seems very promising, too. Things look /so/ much more readable this
# way, and all the newbies^Wdifferently-abled seem to love it! Isn't
# it wonderful how much these youngsters can still teach us? Just how
# do they come up with all these great ideas? I think children should
# rule the world, it would be /such/ a peaceful place, then. Can we
# sing We Are The World together now?

I am beginning to see how grade inflation came about...

Regards,
--
Nils Gösche
"Don't ask for whom the <CTRL-G> tolls."

PGP key ID #xEEFBA4AF

pj

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Feb 3, 2004, 6:33:03 PM2/3/04
to
> There is no need for this. I won't post here again.

That be a bloody shame.

pj

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Feb 3, 2004, 6:46:35 PM2/3/04
to
This is Usenet.
Get over it.

I dont understand adults whining about usenet abuse. You should be able to
handle some abuse (ignore it, kill file it.. whatever..) , while sorting out
the wealth of information. Thats the nature of the beast.

You need to grow up and move on.


"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04...

Marc Spitzer

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Feb 3, 2004, 11:57:56 PM2/3/04
to
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> writes:

> Hello All,
> This is a collection of responses to many posts in this thread.
>
>>Just tell the newbies to killfile... (insert individual(s) that one finds
> offensive here)
> This is great advice for existing posters. For newbies, I don't see a way to
> tell or warn them of anything before they arrive.

Well lets look at this:

Through out most of history doing something stupid got you killed.
In CLL it gets pointed out to you, potentially in a pointed manner.
Which BTW is designed to help you fix you mistake. Because this
benefits you you are offended, for some odd reason.


>
> I see it as inevitable that some people will come, look, and leave. I would
> just see it as better if less of them left because they were offended than
> more of them leaving for that reason.

If they are that thin skinned they will be a problem no matter how nice
we are. And if they are that easily swayed by: Your Idea was stupid the
when proposed the last 10 times(by other people) why don't you use google
before you post?

>
>>comp.lang.lisp.beginners?
> Sure, neat idea... I wonder if it would be very different? Since it is a
> "free for all" environment, anyone who wanted to could make rude posts
> without consequence, but since the newsgroup has an expressed beginners
> focus, it's possible that the rudeness could be less common.

Ok, there is a group for beginners. How would you get help from
the masters, who are some where else? Why should they go there?
Are you going to pay them to show up?


marc

Nicolas Neuss

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Feb 4, 2004, 4:44:26 AM2/4/04
to
han...@schlund.de (Hannah Schroeter) writes:

I second this. To have driven you away would be too much honor for this
"Blake D" (and also for Barry Margolin _if_ he really meant to support that
weak contribution).

Nicolas.

Tayssir John Gabbour

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Feb 4, 2004, 6:04:38 AM2/4/04
to
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<rxJTb.19611$QJ3.2661@fed1read04>...
> Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
> comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place where some
> standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?

> A newsgroup, email list, bulletin board, yahoo group, etc could all work,


> but to be moderated, we would need quite a few moderators.
> Any thoughts?
> Does this place already exist?

Some of us newbies thrive on having our assumptions challenged. (We
are all newbies WRT something.) A world that doesn't challenge
assumptions is soulcrushingly boring.

When I went through the usenet wayback machine, I often wished
previous posters like Erik were still around. I am comfortable with
articulate, engaging people; it helps balance one. I am less
comfortable with those who hide their thoughts behind politeness.
Sure, I meet them all the time, but it's faintly disturbing to be with
someone who desires odd rules to emprison themselves under.

You can build your comp.disney.lisp. Usenet is not needed; you can
install a shockingly ez-2-use message board on the web, and I can
point out candidate software/ISPs. If I may be unpleasantly engaging,
people who have a need for politeness make odd logical errors in what
they expect from people. Humans are not code; they won't do what you
want if you simply have some nice plan. It takes work to build a
community. It's sometimes amusing to see poor Ehud Lamm twist
peoples' arms in order to keep Lambda the Ultimate's standards up.

(Of course if he just ditched that clunky Userland backend...)

You do not need an army of people to moderate. You're not as big as
Amazon yet. An overwhelming number of posts to moderate is unlikely
to be your problem. Do you have a lisp group near you? People tend
to be more pleasant in person.

Daniel Barlow

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 8:02:55 AM2/4/04
to
"Blake D" <BlakeT...@yahoo.com> writes:

> Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
> comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place where some
> standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?

The last attempt to try this was <http://lambdawizards.com/>. I
haven't looked at it lately, but my observation from a few months ago
was that it enforced a standard for politeness that mostly served to
ensure its standard for technical accuracy was shockingly low.

(And its spelling, but maybe I'm pickier about that than most)


-dan

Pascal Bourguignon

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 7:15:25 AM2/4/04
to
Marc Spitzer <mspi...@optonline.net> writes:
> >>comp.lang.lisp.beginners?
> > Sure, neat idea... I wonder if it would be very different? Since it is a
> > "free for all" environment, anyone who wanted to could make rude posts
> > without consequence, but since the newsgroup has an expressed beginners
> > focus, it's possible that the rudeness could be less common.
>
> Ok, there is a group for beginners. How would you get help from
> the masters, who are some where else? Why should they go there?
> Are you going to pay them to show up?

First, I'm happy with the current setup. As it has been said, people
should take what they like and leave what they don't, killfiles can be
used.

The idea of a "beginners" newsgroup would be that "masters" going
there would be reminded that they're adressing beginners and would be
prepared to reply nicely to them. Any rude answer would be strongly
frowned upon in that newsgroup. Also, a "beginners" FAQ could be sent
automatically quite frequently on the beginners newsgroups (weekly).

On the other hand, I see only three "beginners" newsgroups, this may
not be such a useful notion.

Henrik Motakef

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 8:42:45 AM2/4/04
to
Pascal Bourguignon <sp...@thalassa.informatimago.com> writes:

> The idea of a "beginners" newsgroup would be that "masters" going
> there would be reminded that they're adressing beginners and would be
> prepared to reply nicely to them. Any rude answer would be strongly
> frowned upon in that newsgroup. Also, a "beginners" FAQ could be sent
> automatically quite frequently on the beginners newsgroups (weekly).

Both a newbie-friendlier discussion style and a weekly FAQ posting do
not depend on a new newsgroup. The former could be enforced by
enforced by creating a moderated ng, but personally I don't think that
it's worth it. The latter could be done by anyone who cares by simply
posting it, and while many newbies won't read it anyway, it surely
wouldn't do any harm.

A simple thing to do would be a frequent posting that just points to
the various existing FAQs, the cl-cookbook, cliki pages like
alu.cliki.net/Implementations and/or
http://www.cliki.net/Common%20Lisp%20implementation etc. Over time,
that could evolve into a proper FAQ by integrating information from
these sources as needed.

Comments?

Will Hartung

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 1:36:03 PM2/4/04
to
"Henrik Motakef" <usenet...@henrik-motakef.de> wrote in message
news:x7r7xbh...@crocket.internal.henrik-motakef.de...

> Both a newbie-friendlier discussion style and a weekly FAQ posting do
> not depend on a new newsgroup. The former could be enforced by
> enforced by creating a moderated ng, but personally I don't think that
> it's worth it. The latter could be done by anyone who cares by simply
> posting it, and while many newbies won't read it anyway, it surely
> wouldn't do any harm.

A moderated group would simply take on the flavor of the moderators. If you
like that flavor, you like the group, if you don't, well, your stuck. Just
like now.

A newbie newsgroup would be dead quiet, as basically newbies would live
there. Then, in Google you'll see a zillion single post questions with no
answers, because they're all newbies and don't know the answers. The
"oldbies" wouldn't necessarily hang around there because it's mostly a one
way interchange.

There seems to be this feeling that the newsgroup name defines the
atmosphere of a newsgroup, and not the people participating in it. I
disagree.

> A simple thing to do would be a frequent posting that just points to
> the various existing FAQs, the cl-cookbook, cliki pages like
> alu.cliki.net/Implementations and/or
> http://www.cliki.net/Common%20Lisp%20implementation etc. Over time,
> that could evolve into a proper FAQ by integrating information from
> these sources as needed.

You mean like this one?

Cliki is all over this newsgroup. If someone sits and lurks here for a day
or two, inevitably someone will mention the name "Cliki", or even a link.

Anyone even REMOTELY curious will Google or click the Cliki, and voila. We
need a frequent "generic" Cliki post as much as we need a frequent Google
post. And anyone who posts "What is Cliki" has pretty much immediately
disqualified themselves as a Net Citizen. Barring a 12 year old in their
first week on the internet who just happened to be captivated by the threads
in c.l.l, "What is Cliki" style questions are simply inappropriate here in
this day and age.

Google has freed USENET from a lot of these issues simply because it's beome
the hive mind and Net dump. Why wait for a newsgroup FAQ posting when LISP
FAQ in Google gets you the (an) answer that much faster?

Some concepts are difficult to query on, but many are not, and can be
resolved through archives and web searches. Most are much more willing to
answer questions that someone has not found the answer too before coming to
c.l.l.

Just like any other newsgroup, new participants needs simply spend a couple
of days (or read a couple of days on Google) to get the flavor and links to
resources that can be used before they ask anything.

If anything, a consolidated, updated, Lisp FAQ, perhaps posted on Cliki or
ALU, would help resolve numerous issues. The goal being that whenever
someone types "LISP FAQ", in a search engine, it should be near the top of
the results list. So, feel free to take that project on.

Regards,

Will Hartung
(wi...@msoft.com)


Henrik Motakef

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 5:17:31 PM2/4/04
to
"Will Hartung" <wi...@msoft.com> writes:

> A newbie newsgroup would be dead quiet, as basically newbies would live
> there. Then, in Google you'll see a zillion single post questions with no
> answers, because they're all newbies and don't know the answers. The
> "oldbies" wouldn't necessarily hang around there because it's mostly a one
> way interchange.

I agree, and there are more reasons for newbies no to ask
there. Generally, I think that it only makes sense to create
newsgroups based on topics, not on intended audience. If some change
in the comp.lang.lisp.* hierarchy would be in order, it would be the
removal of legacy groups like comp.lang.lisp.franz, ...x, ...mcl and
comp.lang.clos, all of which only contain some crossposted spam on my
server (except cll.franz, where some poor newbie did ask a question,
but apparently didn't get any answer.)

Having both the existing cll and a cll.moderated/cll.newbies would
only create confusion, without helping at all. I do not understand the
behaviour of some regulars towards stupid/frequently-asked/trollish
questions (just ignore them if they annoy you ferkrissake!), but I
don't think that creating a new group would be the right way to solve
this problem, or that this problem is in that desperate need of being
solved, actually (I also don't really understand the behaviour of some
newbies/frequently-asked-question-askers/troll either - if you get 1
helpfull and 2 annoying responses, get over it and appreciate the
helpful one, this is not paid customer support!).

> Cliki is all over this newsgroup. If someone sits and lurks here for a day
> or two, inevitably someone will mention the name "Cliki", or even a link.

Yes, but nobody lurks here for a day, or would even read a FAQ. At
least not everybody does.

The trick with having a good FAQ is not only that people do not ask
annoying questions, but that you can answer them with a single line
like "This is discussed in the FAQ, "3.1.24 Is there a free Lisp IDE
for Windows?"

Posting a FAQ regularly might help, because the smarter newbies might
actually have a look at it, but many won't. Big deal. The gain of very
few people reading it is small, but still bigger than the hassle for
everyone else - I expect cll regulars to be able to adjust their
scorefile appropriately if they are annoyed by periodic postings - I
have never seen any complaint about the monthly statistics posting,
for example, although it isn't exactly an interesting contribution to
discussions about the Lisp family of languages in the strict sense.

> Anyone even REMOTELY curious will Google or click the Cliki, and voila. We
> need a frequent "generic" Cliki post as much as we need a frequent Google
> post.

I did not think about a "generik" cliki post. I just wanted to imply
that, given a periodic FAQ-like posting, it would be stupid to include
anything but pointers to the two cliki pages listing available
implementations for the questions "What Lisp implementations are
available?".

> Google has freed USENET from a lot of these issues simply because it's beome
> the hive mind and Net dump. Why wait for a newsgroup FAQ posting when LISP
> FAQ in Google gets you the (an) answer that much faster?

Googling for "lisp faq" points you to the "old" cll faq, last updated
in 1997. It does answer a lot of questions I have never seen asked,
and fails to answer those that I have.

Searching for specific topics is still hard and inefficient, even if
Google made it better that it was before. The result for "lisp native
executable" certainly do not explain how to build native executables,
let alone explain why this might not be as important as a newbie might
think.

An up-to-date FAQ, periodically posted in this newsgroup, would
probably at least help with the former.

> Some concepts are difficult to query on, but many are not, and can be
> resolved through archives and web searches. Most are much more willing to
> answer questions that someone has not found the answer too before coming to
> c.l.l.
>
> Just like any other newsgroup, new participants needs simply spend a couple
> of days (or read a couple of days on Google) to get the flavor and links to
> resources that can be used before they ask anything.

In principle, I agree. But I have given up hope that people will
actually do this. People might spend half an hour researching
themselves before just asking whereever they expect an answer, but not
a couple of days. The problem is that this is more annoying for us
then for them, so the only sensible strategies are to either arrange
for them to find an answer in half an hour, or arrange for us to
provide an answer without creating an annoying endless megathread by
being able to just point to the relevant FAQ entry.

Will Hartung

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 6:48:38 PM2/4/04
to

"Henrik Motakef" <usenet...@henrik-motakef.de> wrote in message
news:x77jz2i...@crocket.internal.henrik-motakef.de...
> "Will Hartung" <wi...@msoft.com> writes:

> > Just like any other newsgroup, new participants needs simply spend a
couple
> > of days (or read a couple of days on Google) to get the flavor and links
to
> > resources that can be used before they ask anything.
>
> In principle, I agree. But I have given up hope that people will
> actually do this.

In reality, writing instructions for those who don't read them is basically
folly.

Back in the day when a persons access to USENET was perhaps the last week of
posting available on their news server, periodic postings made great sense,
but with the web and search engines, that necessity is gone.

For those who are aware of a concept of a FAQ, and who are willing to
actually read them, they will find them on their own. For those unwilling to
read them, no amount of the FAQ posting will fix the problem.

None of these FAQ attributes disqualifies that one should exist, and be
maintained, I just don't think it requires regular posting in the news
group. FAQ Updated messages are handy, I think, or even perhaps a
lightweight FAQ link, but other than that, not the whole thing in its
entirety.

Regards,

Will Hartung
(wi...@msoft.com)


Gareth McCaughan

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 6:29:07 PM2/4/04
to
"Blake D" wrote:

> Newbie:
> "How can I do X in lisp?"
> (X being a seemingly reasonable to me thing to want to do.)
>
> Responder:
> "Your question is wrong. Why would you want to do /X/ ? Stop thinking in C.
> X is not needed.
> (Now that you feel very small, <-- This part is a possible interpretation.)
> Here is some information about lisp that may or may not help you."

Being told that you're asking a wrong question can be
tremendously helpful, and I don't see why it should
involve the slightest intention of making anyone feel
small. If someone gets an answer of that sort and is
offended or upset, then it's either because the answer
has been given in an unpleasant *manner* or because
the person in question is too easily offended. (I have
seen both happen in c.l.l.)

> Does anyone have an interest in working to set up a
> comp.lang.lisp.moderated, or some other solution for a place where some
> standards for posts can be encouraged and enforced?

I have none. Moderating a newsgroup is a lot of work.
For a smaller amount of effort the same people could
give helpful and polite answers to newbies' questions,
which would be a much better use of their time. Anyone
unable to do that is likely to be, or at least to be
thought, unsuitable as a moderator.

> Possible goals:
> -Newbies can ask questions without fear of being reprimanded for their
> stupidity, even if the answer is: "This question gets asked a lot. Here is a
> link to the part of the FAQ that answers it better than I can. -link-"

Anyone who *fears* being reprimanded in a Usenet newsgroup
is already somewhat messed up. I agree that it's best to
avoid messing them up further, but I don't think their
needs are sufficient to make up for the downsides of moderation.

Perhaps "fear" there was a figure of speech, and what you
meant was: "... without any possibility that they will be
reprimanded for their stupidity". It's not clear to me
that this is a worthwhile goal. I think it's inevitable
that a moderated newsgroup would be used less than an
unmoderated one, and no sensible newbie would choose to
have fewer helpful responses as the cost for eliminating
the unhelpful ones.

> -Blatant abuse is blocked.

That would be a good thing, at least if we could agree on
what constitutes blatant abuse, but even at c.l.l's worst
I don't think it's a major issue.

[SNIP: various other goals, variations on the above.]

--
Gareth McCaughan
.sig under construc

Henrik Motakef

unread,
Feb 4, 2004, 7:11:18 PM2/4/04
to
"Will Hartung" <wi...@msoft.com> writes:

> None of these FAQ attributes disqualifies that one should exist, and be
> maintained, I just don't think it requires regular posting in the news
> group. FAQ Updated messages are handy, I think, or even perhaps a
> lightweight FAQ link, but other than that, not the whole thing in its
> entirety.

I think we pretty much agree about this. Posting a multi-megabyte FAQ
every week does not help any more that posting a two-line pointer to
one. I used to think that periodic postings would be a requirement for
approval by *.answers (which in turn would automatically arrange for
presence on www.faqs.org, where some people, me for example, tend to
start looking for FAQs), but after re-reading their guidelines, it
doesn't seem to be neccessary after all.

The important thing would be having a FAQ, and that is /one/ FAQ that
is considered good enough by the regulars of cll to actually refer to
it when FAQs are asked. Not four FAQs that nobody cares about because
they are either out of date or lack any important information.

I'm not entirely sure how this could be done, since cll is of course
not a homogenous community, and