On Sat, Nov 17, 2007 at 04:31:16AM +0900, Greg Weeks wrote:
> As for "Meta": I don't know if the English language is precise on this
> point.  As I understand it, a meta-foo is a foo *about* foos.  A
> meta-class is a class with class instances, I would think.  Although
> most Ruby meta-classes are virtual, we can still mix modules into them,
> so they provide a powerful mechanism for meta-programming.  That's why
> I'm inclined to call them (limited) meta-classes.

Totally, I always think of meta- as meaning "once removed" in a 
parallel fashion more than a compound fashion, you know?  Rather than
strictly saying a "class about classes," I think it's also kind of
a magnetic lasso around "classes informed about classes" or "an
annex to a class."

I guess metadata is straightforwardly "data about data," but data is
a simple term.  Class has complexities (definitions as well as
storage space) which give ambiguity to the meta- part I think.

Anyway, if you look at the use of the term on the web, like in
naming sites, such as metafilter or metacritic: I don't think it is
implied that these sites would be "filters about filters" or
"critics criticizing other critics," but simply that they are once
removed, culling information from other sites of a similar nature,
operating in parallel rather than compoundly.  I don't know, I'm
just trying to give some other evidence of how elastic that little
prefix can be.

Maybe such things would be better suited with a super- but I like
both English and Ruby for the ways you have a bit of... errr...
poetic license, I guess.

_why