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Date: 2004-04-14 (16:28)
From: Matt Gushee <mgushee@h...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] suggestion: do not link to
On Wed, Apr 14, 2004 at 10:14:14AM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> > 
> > To you.  And I submit, you are a techie who thinks the word 'hacker' has
> > positive connotations.  Suits don't see it that way.  Not that I'm a
> Sure, but -- who gives a damn?  The site is clearly aimed at programmers
> who will understand.  Your argument sounds like saying Slashdot is
> poorly marketed to suits because its slogan mentions "nerds".  That's
> true, but irrelevant; Slashdot isn't *trying* to attract suits.

You're comparing pears and pineapples. Although I suppose Slashdot could
be construed as representing "geek opinion," it is very clearly a site
*for* expressing opinions, and has no strong connection with any
particular technology or technical sub-community. Whereas
appears to (note "appears to," not "does") the public face of OCaml, a
technology that most of us would like to see more widely adopted.

Think of it this way: suppose you were a manager, and you overheard a
small group of your employees making derogatory comments about you or
your company. They weren't talking *to* you, but so what? You heard
them, and their remarks will naturally affect your judgment of them.
Similarly, people will form opinions of the OCaml community based on
what they see at, whether or not they are the intended

It's really unfortunate that the perfectly good word "hacker" has,
mainly due to journalistic ignorance, taken on negative connotations,
but it definitely has. People should be free to speak out on matters of
principle, but I don't see that there's any very important principle at
stake in using that word. And OCamlers are, after all, a very small
group. We need to pick our battles wisely.

> Are you sure?  Every place I've been -- large and small -- the
> decision-makers certainly sought the input of techies and, if the suits
> were making choices on language selection at all, were certainly not
> doing it by viewing a single web site.

Okay, you've got a point there. But a single Web site can nonetheless
influence their opinions.

Matt Gushee                 When a nation follows the Way,
Englewood, Colorado, USA    Horses bear manure through           its fields;   When a nation ignores the Way,
                            Horses bear soldiers through
                                its streets.
                            --Lao Tzu (Peter Merel, trans.)

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