Community Influences Language Adoption

I promised myself I would never write about Lisp again after accidentally stumbling into a mob in search of a flame war. But Aaron Swartz's account of an irrational Lisp community sounded too familiar to ignore:

The idea that there is something better than Lisp is apparently inconceivable to some, judging from comments on the reddit blog. The Lispers instead quickly set about trying to find the real reason behind the switch.

One assumed it must have been divine intervention, since "there seems to be no other reason for switching to an inferior language." Another figured something else must be going on: "Could this be...a lie? To throw off competition? It's not as though Paul Graham hasn't hinted at this tactic in his essays..." Another chimed in: "I decided it was a prank." Another suggested the authors simply wanted more "cut corners, hacks, and faked artisanship."

So it's not just me. Turns out Reddit's post followed the same path as my own. It was posted on Lemonodor, without context, and with emphasis that spun it as a vehemently anti-Lisp post, and then it was picked up by Planet Lisp. I take back what I said about the problems with planet sites. It's not the aggregator, it's the writer that removes the context. John Wiseman is the author of Lemonodor. I want to paraphrase Jon Stewart and say to John Wiseman: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting Lisp.

By provoking unnecessarily emotional defenses of Lisp across the web, John is causing otherwise neutral people like myself to actively avoid the Lisp community, because it comes off as a bunch of irrational trolls. I know there are intelligent people using Lisp, but John's reposts distort people's actual views through half-truths and re-emphasis, and the result makes Lisp look like a language only ridiculous people use, people who say things like When you say that you've never spoken Chinese and have no interest in learning it, you are not being anti-Chinese, but you are being closeminded and parochial or My first reaction was 'say it ain't so'. Then I decided it was a prank.

This type of comment prompts reactions like I have never been on a lisp forum but the way the lispers here are reacting are sure to keep me off it too... True that.

Flames in 3.. 2... 1..
Stop complaining. It was the only post you made that got more than 4 comments.
Surprisingly, tom, the two responses I've seen so far seem to reasonably agree with my agreeable points and disagree with my apparently unfair targetting of John. Lessons learned all around.
You must not be following closely enough. John Wiseman is one of the few Lisp guys being reasonable about the whole thing. He realizes that the current Lisp offerings need help and is trying to open the eyes of his fellow Lispers--kudos to him for actually paying attention.

All these other goofballs duping Reddit in Lisp (what problem are they solving?) are providing a tragic comedy of errors for the rest of us.
By provoking unnecessarily emotional defenses of Scott Michael Reynen across the web, John is causing otherwise neutral people like myself to actively avoid Scott Michael Reynen, because he comes off as an irrational troll. I know there are signs of intelligent life in Scott Michael Reynen, but John's reposts distort people's actual views through half-truths and re-emphasis, and the result makes Scott Michael Reynen look like a ridiculous person, who says things that mean nothing at all.

I'm not a member of the Lisp community, but based on your love of PHP expressed in your weblog, I think you're a stupid teenager who should get a real job instead of entertaining yourself by posting junk.
How goofy. A "tragic comedy of errors"? My friend, the concept of rewriting Reddit only came up last night. Already there is a working implementation. How much crack do you have to smoke to call that a "tragic comedy of errors"? I'm guessing the answer is somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 metric tons.

I think the frustration in the Lisp community over the loss of Reddit as a Common Lisp application is a good thing. Some of the rabblerousing going on at the Reddit blog probably doesn't make us look good, but it's good to see the community united to accomplish this goal.

One of the goals of this project is to figure out what, in particular, keeps Lisp from being as practical as any other language. I think this project has the potential to improve the state of Lisp, and I plan to help contribute as soon as school calms down a bit.

Also, blaming John Wiseman for this is crazy. You made uninformed comments about Lisp, and so you got a lot of (somewhat angry) posts on your weblog. Big frigging deal. It doesn't really justify these crazy generalizations and goofy headlines - "Community Influences Language Adoption" (really?), "News is soon not going to be printed in newspapers! I know this because stocks aren't printed in papers anymore!" and on and on and on and dreadfully on.
"As I was thinking about this, I think I came up with a pretty good summary of what I mean when I call myself existentialist: All choices in life should be made between (at least) two courses of action."

OK, you're immediately disqualified from being allowed to make any statements ever again. Any statements. Of any kind.
detsoP, see my comment prior to yours in which I acknowledged unfarily targetting John. Everyone else: um ... I have no idea what you're talking about.
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Be number 11:

knows half of 8 is