Hi,

While I think the idea of supporting Icon-style goal-directed evaluation 
is probably a very worthy and powerful capability to add to Ruby, I would 
prefer to see such a "mode" be more explicitly indicated. I think this 
would facilitate "human pattern recognition" with respect to reading Ruby 
code, and would largely avoid a potential big source of likely 
confusion--especially for Ruby users/fans at the "sub-master" level, which 
is probably the predominant population for successful languages with large 
followings, such as Perl and Python. The original proposal seems (IMHO) a 
little too close to the overly context sensitive (or as some say, the 
"read only" or "self-encrypting") character of Perl code.

I think Icon-like processing is something of a borderline case between 
"normal" programming where you would like to more or less retain "standard 
nomenclature", and string pattern matching, where you are better off 
introducing what amounts to a sub-language. In the Icon case, perhaps 
half-way measures are called for.

One means of doing this might be the prefixing each of the relevant 
relational operators with some "meta symbol token character" such as '.' 
or ':' or '&', (although I guess this would be hard to prototype literally 
without first extending the list of symbolic operators that Ruby supports, 
to, say, &<, &>, &<=, &>=, and so on). 

Conrad Schneiker
(This note is unofficial and subject to improvement without notice.)