November 16th, 2006

the internet and common lisp

I frequently search blogs for mentions of Common Lisp, and there are a few general themes:

  • Enthusiastic happy ignorance: people who don't know Lisp but really want to learn it and are eager to repeat good things they heard about it, even if they don't know if it's true or not. See also: Brucio.

    I imagine they are writing for their friends, who know nothing about Lisp and will be easily impressed by gobbledygook, or to their future self, who will be impressed with how hip and with-it younger self was.

    I find these a little entertaining, and I try to watch people and see if and how they progress. It's encouraging to see that more people are starting off with Practical Common Lisp than ANSI Common Lisp lately; the former makes them less likely to act like smug super-geniuses while not actually knowing big chunks of Common Lisp.

  • Enthusiastic hateful ignorance: people who don't know Lisp and are eager to show happy Lisp people that they are stupid and deluded. This depresses me somewhat, because they are sometimes partly right by accident rather than by strength of rhetoric. How can you correct something like that?

Anyway, Slava Pestov wrote a nice rant about the latter group of people:

I can rag on Java all I want because I know it better than most Java advocates. But if you were first exposed to Lisp 2 weeks ago, then don't make yet another blog posting about parentheses, even if you work for Google. You're just wasting bandwidth.