Dan Doel wrote:
>
> I'd also imagine that these two weeks aren't particularly unique in
> this, so you can imagine that people get tired of it.  [...]
> I imagine that it would be much better received if
> people would search the archives for threads such as this

Well, you have some social engineering choices to make here.

1) start a moderated newsgroup, which proscribes certain discussion.
2) accept that this is an ummoderated newsgroup
  a) just ignore what you don't want to participate in
  b) exhort people that they shouldn't participate in such-and-such, for
"the community good"

(2) (b) never gets you want you want, always generates heat rather than
light, and always makes people dislike each other.  It's a dysfunction: it's
people saying over and over again "I WANT CONTROL!" when the reality is they
don't have control.  It's identical to most political debates about "moral"
issues, or bad parenting.  People fixate on what they want to have happen,
rather than what's going to happen.  So they implement dysfunctional
policies that don't get them what they want.  They iterate in endless loops
because they lack imagination.

(2) (b) also has a really bad effect on community growth.  Some people think
their favorite language communities should not grow.  Personally, I think
such people are The Enemy Of Progress [TM].  That's my politics.  Why?
Because I think progress requires relevance, and relevance cannot be
achieved without growth.  If, over the years, only a tiny number of people
use a language, then that language really isn't that good.  Languages have
to survive and prove themselves in the free marketplace.  Languages, to me,
are an utterly pragmatic proposition, and the strong ones survive and
thrive.

Personally I'm a huge fan of (1).  I co-moderate a game design mailing list,
and I've attempted to bring comp.games.development.design.moderated into
existence.  Moderation is the best way to enforce particular mores, such as
civility or topicality.  The problem is, it's often prohibitively difficult
to get people on Usenet to agree to the mores.  I certainly failed to get
c.g.d.d.m going!  I couldn't handle it politically, and my partner couldn't
handle the technical side of things, it was prohibitive to set up.  Fair
warning to you: if you think you ever want a moderated newsgroup, create it
*now* while your community is still cohesive.  Once you've got a polyglot
society, it's pouring blood on the table to get it done.

> Perhaps his humor was in bad taste, but I'm sure you can imagine that
> while discussion of other languages
> and their strengths and weaknesses compared to ruby is not frowned
> upon by any means, Python is a
> frequently mentioned example, and there is little chance that many new
> insights will come from the same
> people discussing the same topics about the same languages (at least
> until the next major revision of
> Python is fleshed out and any radical new features are announced).

Well frankly, the Ruby FAQ is out of date on several points of comparison as
far as Python people are concerned.  Don't bother to ask me which ones, I
can't remember.  The important point that I recalled from discussion, is
Python isn't as backwards as the Ruby FAQ would have you believe.  It keeps
improving and a lot of the issues go away over time.  So I'm not inclined to
trust anyone's archival information.  Archives go stale too quickly.  I
believe in getting some impressions from people on the ground.

-- 
Cheers,                         www.3DProgrammer.com
Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

20% of the world is real.
80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.