September 03, 2004
The wiki page SocialProblemsOfLisp is one of the worst c2 wiki pages I've ever seen. Which is really too bad, because Lisp does have some serious social problems and we could use real attempts at fixing those.
Posted by jjwiseman at September 03, 2004 08:49 AM
I wear multiple Trojan layers when coding, or even thinking in Lisp.
I think the rise of planet.lisp.org shows that the social problems are being alleviated. With more newbies, lots of fully-rounded individuals blogging, and more general-purpose Lisp porgramming, things are getting better.
That, and Naggum leaving c.l.l again. ;-)
It's a wiki page. Just fix it. Or zap it! ;-)
Naggum leaving c.l.l is a loss, not a win.
I agree with ng pheng siong. CLL is a desert since Naggum left.
Nonsense. C.l.l was a slimepit when Naggum held his regularly scheduled, childish tantrums there.
How about refactoring the "Social Problems of Lisp' page from the perspective of a veteran Lisp social worker?
"Lisp is a computer language, a tool; Lisp doesn't have social problems, people do. These include both acknowledged Lisp experts as well as those those new to Lisp, and all users of Lisp of whatever degree of experience who may find themselves newly frustrated from time to time with their understanding of Lisp.
This understandable frustration with the difficulty of fully mastering an admitedly complex and powerful language is easily misplaced on the Lisp community, and with reason.
Because of the Lisp community's decison to underspecify many details of any Common Lisp implementation, necessary design decisons of any Common Lisp implementation fragment the community to a degree unparalleled by other languages. Smaller communities have less resources, fewer experts with less spare time overall (compared with more popular languages) to donate to helping newbies.
Remember, Lisp predates both the Internet and the Open Source movement and the community of Lisp experts is only beginning to adopt the tools which communities of users of more popular languages have used for years: not only the venerable mediums of ftp, newsgroups, and mailing lists, but also wikis, blogs, and up-to-date repositories of well-documented and well-maintained open source code, how-to documentation, tutorials, and open forums for both expert and novice. We aren't all there yet -- the state of our free documentation and dated, under-documented code repositories is a mess and there is still no newbie-friendly learning forum. There is no particular need for all of these community-building tools to be written in Lisp when so many mature solutions already exist in Python, Perl, even PHP, but we have a hard time believing that. We could use your help, too."
Bear with us: we are trying to stop playing with our powerful and elegant tool long enough to help you.
I recently wrote up a page on the c2 wiki and within a day it had been changed into something that made a good deal less sense than what I started with. That was kind of discouraging.
At least some of the replies (well, at least mine and Christophe's, and probably some of the others I forget now) to Arthur Lemmens' survey talk about things like this:
(the "Do you see any obstacles to further Lisp growth" question, mostly).
Christophe's answer says pretty much exactly what I was trying to say in mine...
I don't see the problem. Incredible lies are being spread, with a strong focus on human issues. What does that mean? Propaganda/PR/marketing/whatever is dominating.
Therefore it should be treated as a PR issue, and the techniques of modern consent manufacturing are needed -- just to spread the truth.
Therefore I took a heavy hand to organize:
It took a little time, but it's much better than the endless bullshit of correcting the worst sorts of lies, from people who could educate themselves for free. And this is so "turnable": every lie spread is another chance to repeat the word 'lisp', and no press is bad press when it can be turned.
Not that I care; the lisp world isn't so bad as-is.
Incidentally, I keep hearing there's some huge Lisp/Scheme flamewar going on in usenet, but I don't see it in google groups. Another lie?
In response to the "no newbie-friendly learning forum" comment, I've found the Lisp Newbies list to be very helpful, albeit very low traffic. http://www.cliki.net/LispNewbies
That part of wards wiki would most profitably be served by a "nuke the place from orbit" style of refactoring, really.
I did start the ObjectiveAdvantagesOfCars page as a token gesture, though. If you're reading this comment more than 24 hours after I wrote it, it will probably have changed beyond recognition, so I should explain that it was a pastiche of the first paragraph of ObjectiveAdvantagesOfLisp, and compared modes of transport instead of programming languages.