Subject: Re: aref inline?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2001 19:26:28 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

> By the way, the answers I have been getting in this forum have been very
> helpful, and I hope a lot of other people reading them are finding them
> helpful too.  Someone should go through these discussions sometime and
> write a reference book from them, or maybe put them in some kind of
> specialized search engine to find and browse discussions related to a
> particular question.

  This is actually a _very_ bad idea.  First off, the answers still belong
  to the authors, who have implicitly given their permission to be used and
  distributed in the context of a questions-and-answers style newsgroup,
  and not for any other purpose.  If you look around at the intellectual
  property discussions in the news media, you will find that journalists
  and other contributors demand extra payment for any "reuse" of their
  material.  Since contributors are _not_ paid on the Net, abusing their
  goodwill by "collecting" their contributions is very difficult legal
  territory.  Search engines are difficult enough to defend, but if anyone
  made money specifically on such collections, expect expensive.lawsuits.

  Second, the reason technical answers to technical questions work so well
  in this particular context is that anyone can, and usually does, correct
  any and all mistakes and problems in the answers.  In other words, it
  pays off to be imprecise and incorrect in order to produce the most lucid
  answers.  The most precise and correct an answer is, the less discussion
  it leads to.  The reason you see such high quality articles in this
  newsgroup in particular is that those people who care the most about
  technical precision and accuracy care enough to respond and clarify.
  Quite often on USENET, eager newbies respond with answers that are not
  actually _wrong_, but still misleading and uninformed, because the more
  experienced users have seen the same question thousands of times, and
  only step in to correct a misleading response from an eager newbie.  Some
  eager newbies are not quite ready for this, and insist that their answers
  are correct.  The higher quality the answers in the newsgroup, the fewer
  eager newbies, but also the fewer general number of posters, because few
  people have the guts to stand up in a crowd of people they believe know
  the answer better than them and speak.

  The answer to your implicit request is just to hang around here even
  after you tire of the repeated simple questions you know the answer to
  and cannot imagine that somebody else failed to pick up from the many
  available and high-quality sources.  Having people ask questions is one
  thing -- but a newsgroup thrives only when enough fearless newbies post
  wrong answers -- that is the only way that the question gets any _real_
  answers that lead to _understanding_.

  This necessarily means that USENET is _not_ an archivable medium, but a
  forum that lives in the precarious balance between experts and newbies.

  So instead of automated tools that violate people's willingness to share,
  just collect your own insights and bring them to the next "generation" of
  people who discover Common Lisp by answering the questions and correcting
  the mistakes made by other newbies who got it wrong in their eagerness.

  Travel is a meat thing.