Let's stop the flames on USENET

Paul Prescod papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca
Sun, 25 May 1997 19:19:00 -0400

cosc19z5@bayou.uh.edu wrote:
> My antagonization has nothing to do with this project.  LispOS is
> a project in its own right, and is independent of Usenet squabbles.

I am not talking about this project (though others might be).

> Those most offended by my rants are those who would never use
> LispOS, or who would do so with the intent of putting it down.

It isn't the people you are attacking that I am concerned about. There
are a few dozen of them. It is the thousands of people *reading* and
coming to opinions of various languages and groups that I am worried
about. Now, when any of us promote Lisp anywhere people's neurons snap
shut and they think: "Another Lisp fanatic -- they can't speak
objectively" -- just as they thought about Amiga users, OS/2 users, and
so on and so forth. Linux has escaped the fanaticism ghetto through
*code*, not flamage.
> No, but napalm does inflict casualties and that's what the majority
> of the Lispers are doing.  

Since when did the goal of a) comp. hierarchy or b) discourse more
generally become "to inflict casualties?" Take it to
alt.stupid.flame.wars . I go to the comp. newsgroups for ideas, not name

> Those who preach the drivel that is C++ over
> in unrelated newsgroups get a foot firmly planted in their posterior,
> and realize just how little respect they and their miserable language
> command.  I don't intend to improve PR, as far as I'm concerned the
> people I flame are already lost causes -- I do it to harass them and
> get them to think twice before opening their mouths anywhere near
> our newsgroups.

That is so incredibly naive as to make attacking windmills seem like a
profitable exercise. You *cannot* reform Usenet by attacking people for
so many reasons that I only have time to list a small subset:

#1. People who are attacked turn off their brains *even more*.

#2. People who are attacked feel a need to respond -- like little
children each of you will fight forever for the "last word" -- instead
of restricting the garbage you extend it indefinately.

#3. Usenet has constant turnover -- even if it were possible to "train"
this group of C++ people, the lesson is forgotten in two months.

#4. If the Lisp newsgroup is "enlightened" (your word) then the readers
there can separate the bullshit from the truth without your help.

As a free human being in a free medium you have every right to spew
whatever you want, but I feel the need to point out that if you believe
that you are helping anyone or anything then you are sorely mistaken.
Alaric B. Williams was more honest: "That's not a serious attempt to
save the world, it's just a hobby."

I'm not perfect: I've been pulled into my share of flame wars. Such is
the imperfect nature of human communication. But there is a difference
between getting pulled into one and *setting out to* antagonize people,
which can only result in long, vacuous threads of did-to, did-not speak.

This is my last post in this particular thread because I can't imagine
anything more that I could have to say on it.

 Paul Prescod