[Haskell-cafe] Re: #haskell IRC channel reaches 600 users

Achim Schneider barsoap at web.de
Mon Jan 5 00:57:15 EST 2009

"Jamie Brandon" <jamiiecb at googlemail.com> wrote:

> The haskell community has a well deserved reputation for being one of
> the friendliest online communities. Perhaps this would be a good point
> to figure out what we're doing right? I'm convinced that part of it is
> that offtopic conversation is encouraged through on haskell-cafe,
> planet haskell and irc. It makes people seem more human and hence
> harder to flame.
Well... if you believe what's written in the Cathedral and the Bazaar
(which I tend to in this case), which is that the main difference
between academic culture and hacker culture lies in the
tabooisation/encouragement of personal critique (aka flame, cf. rant),
then stuff might be easy to explain.

The flame-taboo in hacker culture doesn't actually prevent flames to
appear, albeit they are partly hidden and much less prone to
escalation than in say alt.politics. The valve tends go get opened
only iff you really, really know that you're right and the flamed one
doesn't have a chance to fight back with equal force without appearing
even more like a fool. Such flames aren't addressed exactly because of
the taboo and the respect peers have for the flamer _as a hacker_, not
necessarily as a flamer.

In academics, OTOH, were asbestos and flame throwers are compulsory,
people with highly sophisticated skills in both technical topics and
mental warfare are bred.

The Haskell community, as I observe it, is a melting pot of both

If now Joe Random Hacker is confronted with a question like "XYZ
complains about missing sources, but I have the XYZ package installed",
the response won't be "Install a sufficiently leet distro like gentoo
or, that failing, install XYZ-dev" (at least without a smiley) because
J.R.H. fears to be ripped apart by talk of "co-dependent isomorphic
congruency vectors" or something of that ilk... the worst thing being,
all that stuff might actually make sense, if you could only understood

OTOH, academics tend to know that even if you have published n
award-winning papers in n+k papers and given n^k talks about them (and
have no critics whatsoever, for noone understands what you're talking
about), no hacker will even consider to start to respect you if you
can't follow up on every one of them with honest-to-model-m, applicable
working code.

That is, both cultures have their own, diametrically opposite,
definitions of bogosity. Nobody wants to appear as bogosity's
reincarnation, so everybody shuts up and is nice to each other
(except in jest, or, of course, for the hell of it).

Does that make sense? 

/me wonders whether this post is a rant or academics-flame

(c) this sig last receiving data processing entity. Inspect headers
for copyright history. All rights reserved. Copying, hiring, renting,
performance and/or quoting of this signature prohibited.

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list