[Haskell-cafe] Looking for a paper [Dijkstra-Dot]

Anthony Clayden anthony_clayden at clear.net.nz
Tue Jun 9 12:44:18 UTC 2020

(Golly, this went meta rather quickly.)

>> Am 08.06.20 um 16:07 schrieb amindfv at gmail.com <http://mail.haskell.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe>:
>>* Haskell's reputation as a welcoming community is on shakier ground
*>>* than it was a few years ago, and phrases like "despite your endless
*>>* ranting" work against the collegial atmosphere we're proud of.*

*Thank you Tom for reminding us these messages are visible to public/posterity.*

*I woke up this thread because I was worried what posterity would make
of last year's discussion -- which seemed to accept the
'thought-dialogue' uncritically; certainly no indication it was
intended merely as a bit of humour. (I remain unconvinced that it

> Ben Franksen wrote:

> To put this in perspective, here are a few citations from what I have
> called "endless ranting":

Let's start near the beginning of the ewd.pdf, please (capitalisation
and shrieks in the original)

"Haskeller: WHOA! Hold it! You are misappropriating our religion!"

It was Ben who described some of my language as "ranting". How would
you describe Haskeller's? I'm sure we're all aware of Why Functional
Programming Matters, without going so far as making a religion of it
nor thinking other paradigms don't matter. The imperative paradigm is
not "antiquated" (contra what Haskeller says): Turing machines and
Lambda calculus hit the world in publications in the same year.

And despite Ben's finely-tuned sense of humour, you seem not so
finely-tuned to the Use-mention distinction

I was pointing to (i.e. mentioning) the language in that pdf as not
being representative of the Haskell community I know; I was not myself
using such emotionally-loaded language.

I'm happy to defend my observations as matters of factual error or
misrepresentation; I've presented that evidence up-thread, but

>>* ... misapplying ... in a rather badly-informed way.*

*Fact: EWD1300 is considering mathematical notation, not programming
languages. As regards using semicolon for function composition, at no
point does EWD1300 consider the clash with semicolon in ALGOL-derived

*Fact: Haskeller's responses top of page 2 re operator sections are
incorrect, see Haskell Report.*

*Fact: Haskeller's answer re `length $ []` is wrong: try it in GHC.*

>>* ... it doesn't seem to know Haskellers very well; nor Dijkstra's
*>>* well-known support for Haskell in education.*

*Fact: See above re over-emotional opening remarks; that "Jumping",
"Beaming", "Irritated", "Exasperated", "Warily" emotionality is not
how Haskellers behave in my experience.*

*Fact re Haskell in Education: Dijkstra's 'To the Members of the
Budget Council', in his UTexas archive.*

>* ... can't even spell his first name right... *

*Fact: docos on that the-magus site give "Edsgar"; it's not difficult
to spell someone's name right.*

>* ... it's a couple of dudes shooting the breeze.*

*Fact: Ben said in an earlier message, of the authors of the pdf
"obviously exaggerated ... artist's freedom ... rhetoric a bit over
the top ...". In comparison 'shooting the breeze' from me seems quite
mild; not "ranting".*

>* ...To put it bluntly: the authors are blundering.*

>* ... a bogus problem; direct consequence of the authors not
*>* understanding EWD1300.

*That's the conclusion I reached after analysing their mistakes. I
stand by it; see the facts I pointed out in that earlier message.*

> Do you regard this as "welcoming" language? If not, where was your
> concerned reply when they hit the list?

(Presumably that's a q to Tom.)

> IMO the occasional ranting doesn't hurt anybody as long as it is
> addressed not to people but to technical shortcomings. However, the
> above citations are clearly ad-hominem attacks.

I disagree they're attacks; I'm pointing out technical shortcomings
and mis-representations. If it's ad-anybody, the people are the
faux-Haskeller and faux-EWD.

> Or is your point that I directly addressed the author of the above
> lines, rather than attacking some third party?

I had already emailed the-magus making these same points. And of
course the site doesn't accept (publicly-visible) comments. I doubt
I'll get a reply, since the site seems to have died several years ago.
Then where do I address the authors? I thought it appropriate I
reawaken the thread here from last year.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mail.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/attachments/20200610/cb33ac0f/attachment.html>

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list