Subject: Re: OT: Usenet lack of civility (was Re: Logical pathname hosts.)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/01/01
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* (William Barnett-Lewis)
| Erik, get a life, please, and then _share_ it with us.

  this is making the kind of assumption I try to kill every time I see it:
  you guess something in an area where you know nothing, projecting your
  unchecked and unobservant assumptions onto others and reality in general,
  and then make a _statement_ of purported fact.

| I think we'd all like to see you actually enjoy something.

  suppose you see "||||   ||||".  do you ask "where are the missing |||?"
  or do you refrain from making conclusions based on your assumptions?  I
  want people to stop basing anything on the stupid, one-dimensional junk
  thoughts that requires zero intellectual effort.  I enjoy people who find
  it unconscionable to make junk thoughts, almost whatever they are,
  because they don't make stupid assumptions.

| Including Lisp.

  huh?  this puzzles me greatly.

| You have so many real and good and true things to say, why do you have to
| make them be in such a nasty format?

  because nothing good or true ever comes from complacency.  I believe that
  creativity is a response to being "sufficiently annoyed".  if you don't
  think there _has_ to a better way, you wouldn't bother.

| My wife is a nurse; far too many times when a young nurse fresh out of
| school has a question

  I don't flog people for questions.  I flog them for their assumptions.  I
  guess you don't know the difference, just as Barry Margolin doesn't.

| All I would like tonight is some evidence that you actually _like_ Lisp.
| When I see you get hateful, I don't believe that.  G*d help me, but I
| cannot...

  then discard your god and try again.  there is no hatefulness, either.

  on many occasions, I have expressed enjoyment over properties of Common
  Lisp, the language and the standard, of the Allegro CL system, of the
  support I get from Franz Inc, of the people I work with at my current
  client, of the ability to solve problems very elegantly in Common Lisp,
  of the very rich lore in the Lisp community, etc, etc, etc.  yet you have
  never seen it.  why did you tell me this about yourself?  aren't you even
  _aware_ that you discard information that doesn't fit in your silly
  little one-dimensional view of things?

  suppose you now see "    |||    ".  will you now assume that you have
  found the missing "|||" from earlier, and _still_ ignore the stuff that
  doesn't trigger your emotional responses, and conclude that you have
  found the _one_ string that satisfies your desire for one-dimensionality,
  or will you bother to review that desire and go back to the "observation
  state" that most people have before their "assumption state", and perhaps
  invoke the option that you were wrong and that the information is in what
  you have _not_ bothered to remember or respond to at the time?  most
  intellectual progress happens when people realize that they have ignored
  the signal and have focused on the noise.  to see clearly _means_ to be
  able to separate noise from signal, and get them right, respectively.

  I think the way people handle noise says something important about them.
  I get annoyed by it there and then, and voice my concerns, in the hopes
  that the _cause_ of the noise would go away.  like fixing a machine that
  makes a weird sound, you would normally have to make more sounds and
  perhaps cause some disruption of its service to fix whatever caused it,
  but the desire is to remove the weird sound.  then, when the noise is
  gone, it's gone, and who the hell _could_ care about noise past?  in
  contrast to this, I see people who remember _only_ the noise and they
  even fail to grasp _that_ there's a pattern to its rise, much less _what_
  that pattern could be or when it occurs.  I really don't understand such
  people.  and when their desire is to _reduce_ noise, they go out and make
  _more_ noise and fail utterly to understand that they are the cause of
  the noise that they remember, because they forget there's supposed to be
  a signal, and noise is all they _know_ how to create.

  on the other end of the spectrum, some people view _silence_ as the best
  way to respond to things they don't appreciate or like.  they optimize
  for a high silence-to-signal ratio and frown on all forms of noise,
  because to them, silence is what this communication thing really is
  about.  silence is what would be if people were omniscient and all the
  conflicts of the world were resolved and all of us agreed on everything,
  and perhaps we'd all be dead, too, who cares?  so this ideal of
  non-conflict becomes a desire to see more of its measurable quality in
  the hopes that silence will _cause_ conflict to go away.  I really don't
  understand how people can think this way.  I know a few people who do.
  it's _impossible_ to know what they would like or dislike, what would
  please them and what wouldn't.  with a _little_ effort, I don't think
  anybody would have any problem figuring out what I like and dislike,
  despite the fact that a few people clearly are wholly incapabable of even
  _observing_ anything that doesn't fit their already set patterns, but at
  least that has an explanation of its own.

  the best part of not being silent is that you get to learn which people
  see signal and which see noise.  I think that's so invaluable information
  that I accept the "cost" that those who see noise occasionally motivate
  me to write something good and true.  and if "sufficiently annoyed" is
  indeed the cause of creativity, I ought perhaps be grateful for them.

  anyway, happy new year, folks.

  if people came with documentation, could men get the womanual?