Subject: Re: CLOS is hard. Let's go shopping  (Was Re: Lisp in Python)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 17 Oct 2002 18:46:29 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Alan S. Crowe
| shows that `main' has been affliced by `nuisance'.

  Excellent example.

| My main qualification for writing tutorials is that I am learning Lisp
| myself.  Thus I an intimately acquainted with the confusions that assail
| and distress newbies.

  The problem with this is that you meet these things in a totally random
  order.  The point of a tutorial is to make order of the chaos.  I am
  fairly strongly convinced that the best way to make that order is to be
  very knowledgeable and very observant when you try to teach a lot of
  people the same material and have time to follow up on them to see how
  they do and to correct your own mistakes.  Hence I am extremely doubtful
  of teaching material that has been written by other than teachers and
  much prefer to fight my way through reference works when I have enough
  glimpses of the order to at least not get lost in the chaos.  However, as
  a shining example of an excellent instruction on CLOS that helped me sort
  out the order of the dense specification, Sonya Keene's book only gets
  higher commendations from me as time goes on while the misnamed «ANSI
  Common Lisp» by Paul Graham gets lower.

| There is plenty of enthusiasm for spotting technical errors in short
| postings put directly on comp.lang.lisp.  However, if I write some
| lengthy tutorials, etiquette will require that I put them on my website
| and post the URL to the list.  Are there enough folk willing to follow a
| link, read a long tutorial and then point out the technical errors?

  People who did you this kind of service deserve to be co-authors at the
  very least.  But when you do this, you implicitly argue that none of the
  existing material is good enough and ask people who may think it is
  better than yours to help make yours better than everything else.  This
  may be a tall order.  I doubt that you want to make this argument
  explicitly, however, so I instead wonder what tutorials and other works
  on CLOS you have read before you decided to write your own tutorial.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

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