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Re: emacs stackexchange beta site


From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: emacs stackexchange beta site
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:54:48 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Udyant Wig <address@hidden> writes:

> Could you please elaborate why you dislike Googling
> and SX in principle?

I have already said some of the reasons. Pascal said
some of the same things slightly differently, and added
some more. In principle, I agree with what he said,
though in practice I don't really mind Google spying on
me.

But OK:

I don't like Googling because it is a general tool for
the masses. There is nothing wrong with that -
sometimes, I'm part of the masses and then I use
Google. But when doing computer activity, I don't want
general tools for the masses - I want specific tools
for programmers and experts.

Take aptitude and the software repositories for
example. Compare searching with 'aptitude search',
getting more info with 'aptitude show', then getting
the software with 'sudo aptitude install' - compare
this to Googling for software, browsing flame wars in
discussion lists, getting to some site from the 90s,
downloading, installing - only it doesn't work, you
need this, this and this - back to Google... No hits -
maybe I should rephrase is? Try again... etc.

What I don't like with SX:

* I don't like that there are so many rules. It is
almost impossible to misbehave. If you do, they edit it
away instantly. I think heated discussions should be
avoided, and flame wars sucks for anyone involved but
also to anyone else. But I mean - so what, as long as
you learn from it? I don't want anyone telling me what
to do. I want to be free, but still behave. It is part
of growing up not to be angry and frustrated, but I
don't think "banning" it will get you there any sooner.
It is easy to be angry, but it is difficult to be angry
at the right person, at the right time, and for the
right reason. And even though you can't manage that,
when you feel frustration, you should *show*
frustration. Especially if you are frustrated with a
person who is your superior, bigger, stronger, etc. If
you don't show it then, you will show it to someone
else, and that will be ten times the worse both for him
and your self-esteem.

* The fixed web GUI, which you are stuck with -
mouse-based, as all web-GUIs those days, tons of links
everywhere. "Gnothi seauton" - "know thyself" - I am on
the one hand capable of a very high degree of focus,
but on the other hand I get very easily disturbed, and
once lost, I cannot easily get it back. That's what I
like with Usenet - it is only text, and the interface I
can whenever needed configure all I want (and I want it
a lot, even though I think it is ten times better than
SX even to begin with!).

* I also don't like the attitude there can be only one
correct answer, and the discourage from discussion. I'm
certainly not a mystic, "what you believe is right",
but above the level of pure factual questions there can
be endless discussion, and I don't mind that - on the
contrary.

But: discussion you should take part in, it is an
interaction between people (the famous distributed
peer-to-peer review of the FOSS world), or, if you are
a lurker, follow step by step. So this is why I give
the SX a half point - in the Google problem-solving
world, you don't want to wade through never-ending
Usenet threads: you just want an answer. So Google and
SX is a good match and I won't pretend I wasn't helped
numerous times.

While it is true that Google reduces the attention span
in time and in space, and it by itself cannot offer
deep understanding, sometimes you are just stuck on a
detail and that isn't even in your big-hefted book you
just read. Here is where Google can help you, so you
don't get stuck and can move on to bigger and better
things.

But even though I acknowledge Google can do this, it
doesn't mean another, much better tool could do it just
the same, only better and with another interface.

* I also don't like the reputation system. People get
stressed out over that. I can read an answer and tell
immediately if it makes sense or not. I don't need
anyone to pick my friends, or to present me in a
favorable light, for that matter.

-- 
underground experts united


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