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I don't know much about Clojure, but I know an argument from authority when I see it, and Yegge is making an argument from authority. He does a lot of, "You need users and you don't know anything about language marketing and building an ecosystem." With the implication being that Yegge does know all about language marketing. I'm disappointed Yegge would go there...he's a smart guy. But, we all have bad days.

Unfortunately for Yegge's argument, he's never built a sizable language ecosystem from scratch, while Hickey has. So, he's making an argument based on authority that he doesn't have and the person he's arguing with does.

Hickey has done a brilliant job stripping off all the "I know better than you" bits of Yegge's comments, and brings it back down to the discussion of the language and nothing else. Frankly, it was pretty devastating, and I'm surprised Yegge walked so cockily into it. If I had any dogs in this fight, I know whose side I'd be taking.

According to his post to the list, Mr. Yegge is responsible for the attitude transplant that the Python community has experienced. It's amazing what he can accomplish from his desk, dashing off memos to language communities. Jack Welch wishes he had that kind of power as CEO of GE.

The most puzzling thing he says is that Clojure's language adoption efforts have been a failure because Clojure is over three years old and hasn't broken the top ten in some pointless programming language survey.

How long did it take Python to get there? I'm guessing at least a decade. And does it even matter?

Beyond that, I'm pretty sure Clojure got rolled into Lisp on Tiobe, which is why it had such a big spike a while back.

The issue with Clojure is that it really gained too much popularity before it was ready. Ready has a lot of implications. IDE support, debuggers, libraries, documentation, books, etc. While it is a good language and has a number of things going for it. It seems that the books and community added too much hype too soon. This caused new users to come, then go.

I don't know if I agree with you that Clojure's too popular right now, but I completely agree with you that the phenomenon exists in general. Rails back in the early days experienced a huge influx of PHP refugees, who significantly lowered the signal-to-noise ratio in the community.

I use a language's Freenode channel is a general barometer of the state of its community's health, and I notice no more questions from bandwagon jumpers who have no clue whatsoever of what they're getting into on #clojure than I ever did on #scheme. I use those two channels for comparison because the sort of questions in question are similar: based on received assumptions that are counterproductive to being effective.

I didn't notice any arguing from authority. He claims to observe a pattern of rejectionism (for want of a better word) developing in the culture and argues that this is bad for adoption. Either could be wrong, but neither relies on authority.

If Hickey has a clear vision for his language he should certainly go for it. But I agree with Yegge that if the culture takes a turn toward you're-doing-it-wrong purism, its growth will suffer.

(As an aside, Yegge has achieved something noteworthy in language marketing: his writings about programming languages have a large following. Perhaps he exaggerates his influence, but for better or worse it's non-negligible.)

I feel obliged to quote Adam Chlipala of Ur/Web fame:

I also want to emphasize that I'm not trying to maximize adoption of Ur/Web. Rather, I'm trying to maximize the effectiveness of people who do choose to use it. This means that I'm completely happy if basic features of Ur/Web mean that 90% of programmers will never be able to use it.


I think that "rejectionism" could be quite justified. And I think that Adam point is applicable here.

"Either could be wrong, but neither relies on authority."

Since Yegge provides no evidence, and a lot of criticism of the current culture of Clojure, I must assume he is relying on his authority to make his case. There's nothing else to back up any of his assertions. It's either argument from authority, or argument for the sake of argument with no rhyme or reason at all. While argument from authority is weak, it'll convince a few people who think he has authority to speak on the subject.

But, his arguments are clearly not technical. He makes no case for why those languishing patches deserve to be in Clojure...just that they exist, and that's enough for him to believe they have merit.

"As an aside, Yegge has achieved something noteworthy in language marketing: his writings about programming languages have a large following. Perhaps he exaggerates his influence, but for better or worse it's non-negligible."

I don't disagree. I enjoyed Yegge's blog immensely over the years. But, talking loud on a blog, and building a language community aren't necessarily the same skills. I see people suggesting he had some hand in Python's rise to it's current position of importance, but I was a Python developer before Yegge started talking about it, on a major Open Source project...Python was doing just fine. It was actually entirely news to me that Yegge had anything to do with the Python community, in fact (it's been a few years since I was working in Python, so I haven't followed it since). Python made Python popular, not Yegge.

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