Mailing list etiquette

Greg Ward greg at
Fri Sep 7 22:17:33 CDT 2012

On 07 September 2012, Adrian Buehlmann said:
> When I say that your first attempt was "broken" (and it *was* thoroughly
> broken IMO, you even left out a complete case), then this is impolite
> and deserves name calling?

In certain contexts -- like, hackers who have been using Unix since
before 1995 or so -- "broken" can have rather negative connotations.

broken: adj.

    1. Not working according to design (of programs). This is the
mainstream sense. 

    2. Improperly designed, This sense carries a more or less
disparaging implication that the designer should have known better,
while sense 1 doesn't necessarily assign blame. Which of senses 1 or 2
is intended is conveyed by context and nonverbal cues. 

    3. Behaving strangely; especially (when used of people) exhibiting
extreme depression.

You probably meant sense 1, and Bryan may have interpreted it as sense
2. For future reference, something like "incorrect for certain inputs"
or "misses a few corner cases" might have come across as less
judgmental than "broken".

Now, everyone, take a deeeeep breath. Calm down. And remember how much
context is lost when human interaction is reduced to 7-bit monospaced
plain ASCII text. We're here to make the world a better place through
distributed version control. That's all.


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