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blogs, longbets.org, and education of sociology

 
 
xahlee@gmail.com
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      05-25-2008
For about the past 10 years, i have been concerned in the programing
community's level of education in social issues.

I have found that recently, a news that would be of interest to
programers.

There was a bet at longbets.org (run by Long Now Foundation) regarding
the importance of blogs. The bet was made in 2002. The prediction has
a resolution date in 2007.

In 2008, the bet is resolved. See

“Decision: Blogs vs. New York Times” (2008-02-01) by Alexander Rose
http://blog.longnow.org/2008/02/01/d...ew-york-times/

I'd like encourage, for many of you, who have lots of opinions on
technical issues or social issues surrounding software, to make use of
longbets.org. It can help shape your thoughts from blog fart to
something more refined. In any case, your money will benefit society.

here's some examples you could try:

• I bet that Java will be out of the top 10 programing languages by
2020.

• I bet that the top 10 programing languages in 2015 (as determined by
requirement from job search engine), the majority will be those
characterized as dynamic languages (e.g. php, perl, python,
javascript, tcl, lisp. (as opposed to: C, Java, C++, C#, F#,
Haskell)).

• You bet that Linux as a desktop system will or will not have a
market share of such and such by the year xyz.

(I'm not sure the above “predictions” are candidates on longbets.org,
since one of their rule is that the “predictions” should be socially
important. Looking at existing entries on their site, the social
importance of the above items pale in comparison. (however, many of
their existing “predictions” are somewhat fringe))

* * *

Note, in almost all online forums where tech geekers gather (e.g.
newsgroups, slashdot, irc, etc), often they are anonymous, each fart
ignorant cries and gripes and heated arguments, often in a
irresponsible and carefree way.

One of the longbets.org's goal is to foster RESPONSIBILITY.

In recent years, i have often made claims that the Python's
documentation, it's writing quality and its documentation quality in
whole, is one of the worst.

Among all the wild claims in our modern world, from the sciences to
social or political issues, my claim about Python's technical writing
quality or its whole quality as a technical documentation, is actualy
trivial to verify by any standards. When presented to intellectuals of
the world at large, the claim's verifiability is trivial, almost as a
matter of fact checking (which are done by interns or newbie grads of
communinication/journalism/literature majors, working for journalism
houses). However, when i voiced my opinion on Python doc among
programing geekers online, it is often met with a bunch of wild cries.
Some of these beer drinking ****heads are simply being a asshole,
which are expected by the nature of online tech geeking communities (a
significance percentage are bored young males). However, many others,
many with many years of programing experience as a professional,
sincerely tried to say something to the effect of “in my opinion it's
good”, or voice other stupid remarks to the effect of “why don't you
fix it”, and in fact find my claim, and its tone too fantastical, to
the point thinking i'm a youngling who are bent on to do nothing but
vandalism. (the tech geekers use in-group slang for this: “troll”.)

The case of the Python doc is just one example. I have also, in the
past decade, in _appropriate_ online communties (e.g. newsgroups,
mailing lists), voiced opinions on Perl's doc, emacs's doc, criticism
on lisp nested syntax, “software engineering” issues (e.g. OOP),
various issues of jargons and naming (e.g. currying, lisp1 vs lisp2,
tail recursion, closure), emacs's user interface issues, criticism on
the phenomenon of Open Source community's fervor for bug reporting,
criticism on IT industry celebrities such as Larry Wall and Guido von
Rossum, opinions on cross-posting, ... and others. Some of my claims
are indeed controversial by nature. By that i mean that there is no
consensus on the subject among its experts, and the issue is complex,
and has political implications. However, many trivially verifiable, or
even simple facts, are wildly debated or raised a ruckus, because the
programers are utterly ignorant of basic social knowledge, or due to
their political banding (e.g. a language faction, Open Source) or
current trends and fashions (e.g. OOP, Java, “Patterns”, “eXtreme
Programing”, ... , OpenSource and “Free” software movement, ...).

I think, the founding of Long Now Foundation with its longbets.org,
shares a concern i have on the tech geeking communities. In
particular, tech geekers need to have a broader education on social
sciences, needs to think in long term, and needs to foster personal
responsibility, when they act or voice opinions on their love of
technology. (note: not reading more mother****ing slashdot or
mother****ing groklaw or more great podcasts on your beatific language
or your postmodernistic ****head idols)

(One thing you can do, is actually take a course on philosophy,
history, law, economics, in your local community college.)

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Long Now Foundation.

* * *

See also:

“Responsible Software Licensing” (2003-07) by Xah Lee
http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/w...e_license.html

“On Microsoft Hatred” (2002-02-23) Xah Lee
http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/w...hatred155.html

Xah
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
http://xahlee.org/


 
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Joshua Cranmer
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      05-26-2008
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> For about the past 10 years, i have been concerned in the programing
> community's level of education in social issues.


[ Adjusts killfile as necessary. ]

> I have found that recently, a news that would be of interest to
> programers.
>
> There was a bet at longbets.org (run by Long Now Foundation) regarding
> the importance of blogs. The bet was made in 2002. The prediction has
> a resolution date in 2007.
>
> In 2008, the bet is resolved. See
>
> “Decision: Blogs vs. New York Times” (2008-02-01) by Alexander Rose
> http://blog.longnow.org/2008/02/01/d...ew-york-times/

^^^^^^^^^^

Recently? Also, work on that spelling of yours.

> I'd like encourage, for many of you, who have lots of opinions on
> technical issues or social issues surrounding software, to make use of
> longbets.org. It can help shape your thoughts from blog fart to
> something more refined. In any case, your money will benefit society.


I am getting this sense that you have some sort of monetary connection
to said site.

> • I bet that Java will be out of the top 10 programing languages by
> 2020.


FORTRAN was first used in the 1950s. IIRC, it's still in the top 10.
Languages die hard.

> • I bet that the top 10 programing languages in 2015 (as determined by
> requirement from job search engine), the majority will be those
> characterized as dynamic languages (e.g. php, perl, python,
> javascript, tcl, lisp. (as opposed to: C, Java, C++, C#, F#,
> Haskell)).


Right, once again Java-bashing in a Java forum. There's one (actually
two, but that's a different story) too many trolls in here!

I'd also like to point out that determining language use by "job search
engine" requirements is setting one up to certain biases and is not
sufficiently representative of the true patterns.

> Note, in almost all online forums where tech geekers gather (e.g.
> newsgroups, slashdot, irc, etc), often they are anonymous, each fart
> ignorant cries and gripes and heated arguments, often in a
> irresponsible and carefree way.


Okay, we already know that most /. users tend to act immature, but that
can hardly be said about newsgroups or IRC. Just read c.l.j.p's postings
for the last month to disprove your proposition.

> One of the longbets.org's goal is to foster RESPONSIBILITY.


How does making a bet make one responsible?

> In recent years, i have often made claims that the Python's
> documentation, it's writing quality and its documentation quality in
> whole, is one of the worst.


.... Are you trying to be ironic on purpose?

> Among all the wild claims in our modern world, from the sciences to
> social or political issues, my claim about Python's technical writing
> quality or its whole quality as a technical documentation, is actualy
> trivial to verify by any standards.


Quality is subjective, so it's not trivial to verify.

> Some of these beer drinking ****heads are simply being a asshole,
> which are expected by the nature of online tech geeking communities (a
> significance percentage are bored young males). However, many others,
> many with many years of programing experience as a professional,
> sincerely tried to say something to the effect of “in my opinion it's
> good”, or voice other stupid remarks to the effect of “why don't you
> fix it”, and in fact find my claim, and its tone too fantastical, to
> the point thinking i'm a youngling who are bent on to do nothing but
> vandalism. (the tech geekers use in-group slang for this: “troll”.)


Right, so in response to your complaints that something is poor, people
who try to (IMHO validly so) claim otherwise, or suggest that you take
the initiative to change the status quo makes them blithering idiots.
Although I'm sure that I have already lost all credibility with you, I
would like to point out one of the defining features of open source: if
you don't like it, you can change it. No one is pointing a gun at your
head and forcing you to use python's documentation.

Besides, you claim that longbets.org is fostering "responsibility." If
you want to change the world, take some responsibility and do it yourself.

> By that i mean that there is no
> consensus on the subject among its experts, and the issue is complex,
> and has political implications.


I think all concerned would agree that crossposting a message to several
groups (one of your examples) with the intent of criticizing those in
one group and providing information at best tangential to the charters
of other groups is of no merit, and is bad form.

> I think, the founding of Long Now Foundation with its longbets.org,
> shares a concern i have on the tech geeking communities. In
> particular, tech geekers need to have a broader education on social
> sciences, needs to think in long term, and needs to foster personal


Lesson 1: in public fora, screaming and using the most vulgar language
at someone is poor social form. In olden times, such language as you
have presented here might merit punishments like lashings, but in our
more modern egalitarian society, the worst punishment you will receive
is a stern glare.

Besides, I think in the long term. I'm already sorting out my retirement
funds and I've not received a college diploma yet.

> (note: not reading more mother****ing slashdot or
> mother****ing groklaw or more great podcasts on your beatific language
> or your postmodernistic ****head idols)


I read /. more to amuse myself on the idiots there, I don't read
groklaw, and I don't listen to podcasts. What I do do is program, read,
espouse my opinions on the current economic and political conditions,
read, check my email, read, read the newspaper, read, and pick up
another of McCullough's wonderful books and read some more.

> (One thing you can do, is actually take a course on philosophy,
> history, law, economics, in your local community college.)


And you should also take a course on Manners 101 at your local community
college.

I would finally like to add that you seem to put yourself on the
pedestal of being the sole person who is righteous in a quagmire of a
world, while the truth could not be further. Anyone who must resort to
base name-calling and mere obscenities when criticizing others has
problems of their own. (In my defense, I do not place myself on such a
pedestal: I respect the opinions of others in this newsgroup far above
myself and would also like to add that they are capable of restraining
themselves when reading provocative banter while I am not).

--
Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not
tried it. -- Donald E. Knuth
 
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j.oke
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      05-26-2008
On 26 Mag, 01:25, "(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> For about the past 10 years, ...


Q: How many comp.lang.X trolls does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One, and Superman. One to hold the bulb, and Superman to screw the
planet.

-JO
 
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George Sakkis
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      05-26-2008
On May 25, 7:25*pm, "(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> For about the past 10 years, i have been concerned in the programing
> community's level of education in social issues.


Yet another great sample of delusional self-importance from the master
of mental masturbation.
 
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szr
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      05-27-2008
j.oke wrote:
> On 26 Mag, 01:25, "(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> For about the past 10 years, ...

>
> Q: How many comp.lang.X trolls does it take to change a light bulb?
>
> A: One, and Superman. One to hold the bulb, and Superman to screw the
> planet.


Are you saying Superman is harming the planet?

--
szr


 
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