[Haskell-cafe] who's in charge?

John Goerzen jgoerzen at complete.org
Thu Oct 28 21:13:16 EDT 2010

On 10/28/2010 07:48 PM, Daniel Peebles wrote:
>     Would anyone be interested in a project for a full-featured mail
>     library? I don't think I'm capable of writing the whole thing
>     myself, but I've started a github project at URL and would be happy
>     to collaborate in IRC channel #channel on freenode.
> Would have resulted in a very different response.

That is absolutely well put.

Günther, I don't condone hostility on the part of anyone on this list, 
obviously.  If you experienced it, it's not right.

By the same token, you came in here talking about "escalating" a 
problem, and saying that an entire process was fundamentally broken 
because you hadn't found a solution to your particular problem.

What people are trying to tell you is:

1) That argument isn't well-formed, because that conclusion doesn't 
follow from the premise.  In other words, your pet problem may not 
indicate a bad community/process.

2) This is a "doocracy" (man do I hate that word!).  If there is a 
problem, here's what you should do about it, in descending order of 

a) Fix it yourself

b) Pay someone else to fix it

c) Motivate or politely encourage others to fix it, providing moral 
support, etc.

The key point is: you haven't paid any of us for this, and you have 
nothing even close to some sort of support contract.  I perceive a sense 
of entitlement on your part that people owe you no-cost coding.  That's 
just not how the community works.  Whether or not you really have that 
sense, I don't know, but your messages convey it nonetheless.

3) There are several existing solutions for doing mail in Haskell, and 
those of us that have used them have, to date, found them perfectly 

a) Some of them Google or hackage searches could have informed you of. 
You should do more research before insulting an entire community.

b) It is, of course, possible that these solutions don't meet your 
needs.  In that event, see #2.

On a personal note, some of you with moderately long and extremely sharp 
memories, or perhaps access to Google, may find some messages from me in 
my early Haskell days grousing about this or that problem.  Ultimately, 
the questions for me were:

1) Is the problem real?  In other words, was there simply something I 
didn't know/understand about the language that would have made it go away?

2) Can I fix it?  If so, I should try.

3) How annoying is it?

I wrote some of my libraries when I was still a Haskell newbie (and with 
the number of Ph. D's around here, I'm not always sure I've shed that 
title yet!)... sometimes that shows in the older code that's out there. 
  But that's OK; it solved my problem and, truly, I had fun writing them.

Sometimes it is easier to write a Haskell library to solve the problem 
than to use an off-the-shelf library in $LANGUAGE.

-- John

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