On May 22, 1:02 pm, Tony Arcieri <t... / medioh.com> wrote:
> Well, everything else aside: if you can't present your ideas or engage in
> discussion without being an asshole, you're going to have a hard time
> getting people to listen to you.  I've been trying to give constructive
> criticism, but when you come back at me with personal attacks I'm left to
> wonder why I should even bother.

It looks like another recap will be necessary.

In the beginning, I began a thread containing a proposal to implement
Python-style syntactically significant indentation in Ruby (this
proposal, I might add, was entirely optional, and would leave in place
a system which would support _either_ indentation-delimited code
blocks or keyword-delimited code blocks.) At the time I posted it, I
expected opposition. I expected to be told that the requirement to
fill the code base 1/6th full of 'ends' actually _improved_
readability, and I was not disappointed. I expected ridiculous
strawman arguments involvingremovalofallspacesfromEnglish, and I was
not disappointed. I expected to have my motives questioned, with
insinuations that I secretly hated Ruby, and I was not disappointed.
Furthermore, I was prepared to ignore every one of these arguments, as
every one is fallacious. I trust in rational people to see the fallacy
behind each and will not do the fallacies the dignity of treating them
as though they were serious arguments, worthy of respectful rebuttal.

What I did _not_ expect to hear, however, was a claim that my proposal
was actually _impossible_.

> You can have the Pythonic indent syntax or a purely expression
> based grammar with multi-line blocks.  You can't have both.

This took me by surprise, and for all I know, it might well be true.
As you may have surmised, I do not claim syntactical parser design or
theory among my areas of expertise. For all I know, there was some
reason I wasn't aware of why what I proposed was impossible, even in
theory. And yet, I know I'd seen a script awhile ago, which I thought
I had saved on an old hard drive somewhere, which could actually _do_
Pythonic indentation in Ruby. And so I asked you for clarification.

> I'm having a hard time following why. Can you provide an example of a
> Ruby snippet that couldn't be done with scoping defined by
> indentation?

That's all I needed. If there were a theoretical reason why Python-
style indentation were incompatible with some fundamental concept in
Ruby, it should be easy to provide an example of a Ruby construct
which would be impossible to parse without the use of 'end' or some
other keyword as a block delimiter. That's all it would take. That's
all I asked for. Did I get it?

> A multi-line block returning a value, e.g.
> foo = somemethod do |arg1, arg2, arg3|
>   x = do_something arg1
>   y = do_something_else x, arg2
>   and_something_else_again y, arg3
> end
>
> Or for that matter, a multi-line lambda:
>
> foo = lambda do |arg1, arg2, arg3|
>   x = do_something arg1
>   y = do_something_else x, arg2
>   and_something_else_again y, arg3
> end

I looked at these and was flabbergasted. In what way were these at all
incompatible with syntactic indentation? What would be impossible to
parse about this?

foo = somemethod do |arg1, arg2, arg3|:
  x = do_something arg1
  y = do_something_else x, arg2
  and_something_else_again y, arg3

Or this?

foo = lambda do |arg1, arg2, arg3|:
  x = do_something arg1
  y = do_something_else x, arg2
  and_something_else_again y, arg3

How on Earth did these examples meet the test of being incompatible
with Python-style indentation? You provided a number of other examples
that similarly baffled me as to how they were supposed to support your
thesis. It was at this point that I began to lose patience with you
and suspect that you might be talking out of your ass.

> You keep on saying this, yet I have not seen one example of code that
> demonstrates that using dedent couldn't work. Basically, we're looking
> for some code which, if you removed the all ends, a script following
> simple deterministic rules would not be able to unambigiously decide
> where to put them back.

Your response was:

> Okay, you just want an example I guess.

(jh: what was your first clue?)

> Here is an example Ruby program:
>
> foo = [1,2,3]
> x = foo.map do |n|
>   n += 1
>   n *= 2
> end
> result = case x
> when Array
>   x.map! do |n|
>     n *= 3
>     n += 4
>   end
> when NilClass
>   x
> end
> result = if result.size > 10
>   result[0..2]
> else
>   result
> end
> p result
>
> The output of this program is:
>
> [16, 22, 28]
>
> Show me how you would parse the equivalent program in an
> indentation-sensitive Ruby, e.g.:

Finally, I thought, an example! Time to dig out that old Ruby script
for preprocessing Python-style Ruby files... ah, there it is, on the
old MacBook Pro... copy it over to the current computer... hmm, no
doc... throw in a few quick and dirty patches to make it run; after
all, this is just a proof-of-concept, right? Edit the file, remove the
'end's and insert colons after the keywords which began those blocks,
run it through and... hey, whaddaya know, [16, 22, 28], first time
through. Looks like ol' Tony really _was_ talking out of his ass, eh?

I did not trouble to hide my lack of respect in my response conveying
that your proof of impossibility was false on its face. However, I do
not think that anything at all in that post could have been construed
as a "personal attack". If you disagree, please point out an example.

Your next response to me was full of backpedaling falsehoods, such as:

> My claims were it's impossible with a Pythonic lexer and a backing context
> free grammar.

And this:

> I certainly didn't claim that if you throw enough regexes at
> the problem it won't go away.

Just what do you think a regular expression engine is? Hint: it's a
parser. If application of regular expressions can solve a problem, the
problem is not insoluble by a parser.

> Well great!  I'm not really sure how that script works

"...but it must be magic, since it does the impossible!"

> However, what you have there is a marked departure from how Python actually works.

I know I already responded to this gem with mockery, but not nearly as
much as it deserves.

> But if you're happy with it, great.  Go for it and see how popular you can
> make it.

I don't care about being popular. If I did, I wouldn't be such an
asshole.

And then, without even waiting for a reply:

> you're being a right c--t

This is, as far as I know, the first and only personal attack in this
thread, unless you want to count my self-description as an asshole to
be a personal attack. But either way, never fear, Tony, your own
precious person has yet to be attacked.

And this brings us to your most recent post in this thread.

> Well, everything else aside: if you can't present your ideas or engage in
> discussion without being an asshole, you're going to have a hard time
> getting people to listen to you.

No, Tony, that's wrong. If I can't present my ideas or engage in
discussion without being an asshole, I'm going to have a hard time
getting people like _you_ to listen to me. People who are logical,
programmers who want the best possible language with the greatest
flexibility and expressiveness, will know that _ad_hominem_ is a
fallacy and will look to the arguments, not to the person making them.

> I've been trying to give constructive
> criticism, but when you come back at me with personal attacks I'm left to
> wonder why I should even bother.

And now we reach the present. Tony, _what_ personal attacks? Please
cite them. Your relief at being able to use an alleged personal attack
as a fig leaf to escape your obligation to back up your claims is
palpable. An honorable person would either substantiate the claim or
retract it, rather than running and hiding and pretending to hurt
feelings.

Now, having said all that: I do not _know_ that Tony's claim is false.
As I said, I was surprised to be told that my proposal was impossible
and I lack the theoretical background to prove otherwise. So if anyone
out there agrees with Tony that Pythonic indentation in Ruby would not
be merely ill-advised but _impossible_ I'd appreciate an example. Then
I can stop wasting my time.