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Comment Re:Give me a break (Score 1) 70

Ah yes: avoidance of second-person is of course critical to the process of writing good articles. Why did I not see this?

Re-writing that phrase as something like "When writing a piece, the author should consider--" would be trivial, provided the concept of "authorship" didn't violate the house religion.

It certainly is fun to think of ways to counsel against including personal biases when writing, when you're supposed to pretend that there is no person doing the writing.

Comment Re:So much goddamn bureaucracy. (Score 1) 70

It boggles my mind how much goddamn bureaucracy there is at sites like Wikipedia and Stack Overflow. It's nearly as bad as in government.
It's also curious to note that such sites lean very much to the political left.

Why's it curious? Right-wing thinkers almost by definition lean toward strong centralized control by authority figures. The left is constantly looking at more distributed systems with more bottom-up control, in the hope of empowering individuals (you know, democracy and freedom and all that).

It is admittedly a little peculiar that no one ever seems to learn that there are problems with "consensus decision-making" until they actually try it-- it seems like every single arts organization, activist group, and half of the teams of Silicon Valley programmers think they can use "consensus", even though anyone whose ever tried it runs screaming from the endless meetings and open-ended discussions and political wrangling-- there are breakdown modes where the process is hi-jacked by crazed passive-aggressive dictators-from-below, and you would think those would be well-known by now.

Comment Re:Give me a break (Score 1) 70

The one I like is insiting that "writers" and "writing" has to be termed "editors" and "editing". I was trying to work on the "guidelines" once upon a time, and you're essentially forbidden from using phrases like "When you're writing a piece like this, you need to ask yourself--." No one ever writes anything at wikipedia, the words just magically appear to be hacked up by editors-that-aren't-really-editors.

Another good one is "weasel words": the wikipedia meaning of that phrase was essentially made up by Evan Promodoru. For example: "War and Peace is widely regarded as Tolstoy's greatest work." See how weaselly that is? It's also true, and not disputed by anyone who knows anything about the subject, a set which does not include your average wikilawyer.

And slapping a "Weasel" tag on someone's work should by no means be regarded as insulting, because, uh....

Comment Re:Notability would ban that subject in the 1st pl (Score 1) 70

Wikilawyering. That is one of the primary reasons people hate contributing to Wikipedia.

Yup. Locked in a little room with madmen and shills, the "conflict resolution process" is a fancy name for "the runaround", and if you do get some sort of moderator intervention they do the most shallow reading of the situation possible, and display all the even-handed wisdom of an old irc-moderator defending territory...

Oh, and you're supposed to pretend that you're treating everyone with respect, consequently you're typically surrounded by people making a great show of being politely reasonable though their sincerity is, shall we say, suspect.

What was that Jimmie Wales used to say? Working on wikipedia is supposed to be fun?

Comment Lingua Franca (Score 1) 181

Hardly a lingua franca - JavaScript is used because it's the only language web browsers understand.

And French was the Lingua Franca for awhile because Francs was a dominant country, and English has been Lingua Franca for awhile because Great Britain and then the US became dominant counties...

The phrase "lingua franca" means it's in common, widespread use and it's easy to find someone who speaks it. It does not imply excellence of any sort. If you guys want to fight about something, maybe you could think a little harder about what you're fighting about.

Comment Re:Mother of all Demos (Score 1) 37

Somedays I feel like anyone allowed to post on slashdot needs to show they have watched Doug Englebarts "mother of all Demos"

Or just read a book (or two) about Englebart and what he was up to-- the usual tag-line, "inventor of the mouse", doesn't get any where near describing what Englebart actually did. While the computer science intelligensia was lost in dreams of Artificial Intelligence, Englebart went after a vision of computers as interactive partners to human beings. He started working in the direction of computers as neworked tools for collaboration among teams of workers back before TCP/IP...

And there was quite a bit that was lost when Englebart's ideas went to Xerox and then Apple-- Englebart was thinking about tools for intelligent human beings, the later versions were intentionally dumbed down to be Easy To Use for everyone, and in consequence they developed limitations we're all still struggling with.

Comment Re:It's both because Javascript developed in 10 da (Score 1) 181

In the case of R, there's a sub-universe of it's own using the Hadley Wickham (and his cohorts) packages tidyr and so on. If you buy into the hadleyverse (he prefers the name tidyverse).

I'm particularly interested in the new packages for reading data readr and readxl, which are supposed to be much faster with saner defaults. The old read packages had a habit of treating all strings as though they're a database enumerated type, it would try to "tokenize" everything on the fly...

I think what you're talking about with R is a symptom of any long established language-- there's bound to be lots of oddities, cruft, workaround for misfeatures, and a bewildering array of competing libraries to do things in slightly different ways.

Personally, I wouldn't complain about R favoring vectors ops (it's better then struggling along implementing your own the way you need to in most languages). There's plenty of oddities: first of all, the "." is not a method call, though it's used everywhere in names (just like "_"): R does however *have* method calls, they're implemented with an arrow, just like perl5 ("->"). The type system is a little strange, where if you've got an aggregate of items all of the same type, the aggregate is regarded as being of the same type...

Anyway there's a new Wickham book "R for Data Science" that's supposed to be pretty good. Let me give you a link to it, O'Reilly has broken their website (e.g. they no longer have the word "book" visible on it's front page):

Comment Re:This lines is truly hillary- ous! (Score 1) 21

I got taken by that one for a minute, because i don't follow crap news, and I thought the EFF was a serious political organization, not a bunch of idiot teenager wannabes like slashdot. I know better now.

April Fool's Day: they tell you it's about "having a sense of humor" and "being a good sport", but really it's an excellent custom for identifying news sources that should never be taken seriously, April or not.

Comment Re:They lost me at 3.0 (Score 1) 118

Been using icewm for nearly twenty years now, I rarely know what you guys are talking about.

One of the nice things about icewm is no one ever re-designs the UI on you, so there are still keyboard alternates for everything.

And no one had the bright idea to shove everything one click down in the hamburger.

What I want to see is a cranky-old farts distro that maintains old versions of things any time someone changes the UI.

Comment Re:I could not agree more (Score 1) 1001

"swap" could be a macro, such as a C function-like macro which gets converted to inline code. Or the swap procedure could be flagged as "inline".

Sure, the point is taken. (It's been a few decades since I've needed to program in C).

I'd hardly be making criticisms if you don't know this.

But this point is emphatically rejected. The question at hand is whether the CS curriculum is somehow fundamental, or a repository of knowledge concerning sub-specialties that most of us don't need to know.

I certainly don't know every wrinkle of this sub-specialty, since the cases where it's actually of use are actually rather tightly constrained.

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