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Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2015 03:24:48 +0900

Alan Mackenzie writes:

 > > No, you criticize *me*, writing:
 > >     What we get from you is ad-hominem attacks, over and over.
 > That is criticising what you've been writing.

With effort it can be interpreted that way, but you know as well as I
do that was an attack on me personally.  Criticism of what I wrote
would quote the actual attacks, but this merely asserts that I do so.
Then, the word "what" implies "ad hominem attacks" constitute the
entirety of what I post.

 > >     I changed my mind in this discussion, but venom for those you
 > >     disagree with never changes.
 > > That is most definitely ad hominem, and indeed you know it to be
 > > untrue.
 > It is not an ad hominem,

Of course it is.  "Venom ... never changes" is an implicit assertion
that such venom is a personal attribute, especially since he knows it
to be untrue.  That is ad hominem.  You are thinking of phrasing like
"is all too frequent", and in fact you used that kind of phrasing
yourself.  But Richard did not.

I'm very surprised that you accuse me below of exploiting "plausible
deniability" for using a word which cannot possibly be explained away
that way, while you don't recognize the genuine article when it's
pointed out to you, and you even defend it.

 > What you wrote, second time round, was "I don't respect the
 > ASCII-capped lobby".  That is disparaging, and an explicit
 > expression of disrespect for people whose views differ from your
 > own.  "Spewing contempt at ot her people" is a characterisation of
 > this sentence, and other things you have written, which has some
 > merit.

Indeed it does.  It's not nice, but it's not a matter of mere
disagreement on a technical change.  It's a moral stance (one which I
didn't recognize myself until you forced me to clarify to myself *why*
I chose to invent that phrase).  Note that the term is precisely
calculated to satirize one who argues that *others'* use of non-ASCII
characters is an imposition on *him* because he's "unable" to input
them, or because his system hasn't been yet configured to enable their
input.  Asking that others not use certain characters because I would
have to learn how to input them, no, I'm sorry, I can't do that and I
can't respect even the mention of that rationale.

There are, of course, good reasons for maintaining ASCII and English
as the primary character set and language of inspiration for
programming languages.  Backward compatibility, compatibility with
existing software (including common platforms, although Eli is on
treacherous ground since Windows is avowedly proprietary), pick the
most common language and standardize on it, etc.  Stick to those and
you're not a member of the ASCII-capped.

It's also reasonable to point out that for oneself, the system really
isn't good enough yet.  To advocate that the commit be pushed only if
effort is also devoted to improved input methods and display, that is
very reasonable.  And elsewhere I've discussed approaches to
"plain-text input methods" (like the electric quotes mode, but more
general) with Eli already.

 > > I myself am lobbying for experimentation with non-ASCII characters in
 > > Emacs syntax.  I see nothing "contemptuous" in that word, and nothing
 > > in several online dictionaries suggests that it is offensive.
 > Oh, come on, Stephen!  You know perfectly well that the offensiveness of
 > words has everything to do with their context, and I put it to you that
 > your phrase "the ASCII-capped lobby" was intended to be offensive, but
 > deniably so.  I, for one, find it offensive.

You were intended to, this time, as one of those who has used "I don't
know how to input curly quotes" as a reason to oppose Paul's change.
I never had *any* intent of denying that "ASCII-capped" is offensive,
and I'm insulted that you think I'm stupid enough to try denying it.

But I put it to *you* that the focus of discussion has been on the
word "lobby", which simply means "advocacy group".  Don't ask me why,
that was not my choice.

 > >  > > When did you change your mind in this discussion, and about what?
 > >  > Reread my messages and you will see.
 > > Why are you evading a simple question, and refusing to share
 > > information you certainly have?
 > I would guess because it would take Richard more time and effort than
 > it's worth.

Something like

    In my first post I opposed all use of curly quotes in docstrings,
    but later I decided it would be OK to have an option to display
    ASCII grave and apostrophe as single quotes if the user wants to.
    I can't take time to dig up message IDs, sorry, but I think I was
    replying to Paul Eggert.

would be entirely satisfactory.  It took me 3 minutes to write, and I
had to construct a plausible example so the length would be realistic.
I wouldn't be surprised if that example is true -- but it would take
me 30 minutes to confirm, I believe.  Considered as a peace offering,
I think Richard's 3 minutes would be amply repaid by reduction of
future acrimony, but he'll have to judge that.

 > > Rereading would be both tedious and unreliable.  Because your posts
 > > are very short, and with minimal quoting for context (and rarely any
 > > attribution of quotations), it can be very difficult to establish
 > > context for your words.
 > This is a fair criticism.

Thank you.

 > Now the whole point of this post, if you hadn't guessed, is to get you
 > to post in a more congenial manner, even when (especially when) you
 > disagree with whom you're writing to.  English is your native language,
 > and you're as skilled in its use as anybody here.  So please stop the ad
 > hominems,

I don't ever use ad hominem argument[1] as far as I know.  If you know
of examples, please show them to me so I can learn to recognize my
mistaken thinking or phrasing that elicits misunderstanding, and
correct it.  Gratuitous ad hominems, such as the C-word, OK, I'll stop

I reserve judgment on "ASCII-capped" as long as "MS-DOG" and similar
epithets are acceptable and official terminology such as "Win32" is
not, as it is a moral issue.  I doubt I'll find occasion to use it
again soon, though, if that's any comfort.

 > stop the venom, stop the disrespect and disparagement.

That's a reasonable request.

[1]  Which is the fallacy in which one argues from the character of
the advocate to the truth or falsity of the claim.

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