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On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 03:25:20PM +0900, Mike Stephens wrote:
> 
> Going back to functional languages in the normal sense, few people on 
> this thread seem to be
> that interested, and when I've mentioned them in a work context
> (typically .NET), nobody's bothered.

I think a lot of people on this list, newsgroup, and forum are interested
in functional programming languages.  It's just easy to derail the
discussion by claiming that something is an example of the subject when,
in fact, it is not.  If you want to discuss the functional programming
techniques themselves, do so using examples whose status as functional
programming languages are not controversial.

Similarly, if I wanted to discuss functional programming techniques, I
wouldn't use the Unix shell environment as an example of a functional
programming language, even though it is closer to being a programming
language per se than Excel and using it has a lot of characteristics of
functional programming.  If I did bring it up without trying to use it as
an example of the sort of thing to avoid bringing up, it would only be to
say something like "These benefits of functional programming apply, by
analogy, to the Unix shell environment -- in contrast to the point and
click GUI environment."

The moment I make the mistake of saying something like "The Unix shell
environment is a functional programming language!" without obvious
metaphor in use, I should expect people to focus on *that*, because
trying to discuss something using examples with whose relevance most
people disagree is by definition prone to failures of communication.

If there's some point of controversy you would like to be the center of
discussion, make it the *only* point of controversy.

-- 
Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]

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