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gruseom 1769 days ago | link | parent

As someone who owes a lot to Paul Graham's influence in the very space (Lisp hacking) that Erik Naggum inhabited, I object to your implied equivalence between the two.

I'm certain Naggum inspired as many people as he scared off.

I realize you mean well, but this is glib. Erik Naggum, in his online capacity, was a consummate intellectual bully. (It's hard to imagine anything less true of PG than that.) You know how everyone talks about how dysfunctional the Lisp community is? Naggum did more than anyone else to poison it. Go read the archives of CLL and see for yourself how it starts out as a wellspring of intelligent and civil discourse and then decays under the influence of some smart, funny, nasty characters. The whole thing is a case study in the fragility of online communities.

As one longtime Lisper explained to me, Naggum was so smart and willing to put so much time into it that he became a torque on the whole thing. Most people who found his style obnoxious simply left, and for many (not all) who remained he became the local standard. People began to imitate him and it ultimately affected not only that group but the Lisp world as a whole. Many nice people have tried to repair the damage, but it may never happen: the niceness required to do so is orders of magnitude greater than the poison. It's like trying to clean up an oil spill.

Erik Naggum was obviously really smart and could be quite funny (I enjoyed that aspect of his writing), and for all I know he was a smashing great guy in person - but as far as the above-mentioned harm goes, those things made it worse, not better.

Edit: given that HN's defining quality is to foster intelligent and civil discourse in a way that doesn't get poisoned, your equivalence (and the place you posted it) are kind of ironic. But I know you weren't trying to make a huge point out of it.



zimbabwe 1768 days ago | link

I don't know much about Naggum, so it's entirely possible you're right. Apologies if I misinterpreted his relationship with the community.

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gruseom 1768 days ago | link

No problem. Thanks for figuring out that I wasn't attacking you personally :)

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kragen 1768 days ago | link

Thank you for posting this. It's so utterly bizarre to see people attacking me for posting inappropriate personal attacks on Erik Naggum.

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jimboyoungblood 1768 days ago | link

Kragen, please take some time to reflect on your own behavior in this thread. It is not bizarre in the least that people are downvoting you. Nobody is disputing the substance of your complaints about Erik, but your timing is completely inappropriate.

If Erik was a 10 on the asshole/sociopath scale, you're running at about 8.5 right now.

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