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    The End Of Coder Influence python rant zedshaw.com
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    I decided to just write what I felt and fuck whatever programmers think. I wrote it, put in a couple of jokes and trolls, and then posted it. Fuck it, I have a cold and don’t give a fuck.

    And there would be absolutely nothing wrong with this, if the post in question wasn’t targeted at beginners as a learning resource. Learning resources for beginners should be held to a much higher standard than rants intended for your personal blog, and they definitely shouldn’t include subtle technical “jokes and trolls” which beginners are by definition poorly equipped to understand.

    This is just plain irresponsible and the guy ought to know better.

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      I think Zed misunderstands censorship. Has Learn Python the Hard Way been banned, forcibly edited, or are people punished for reading it? No. I’m sure it’s a bummer finding out your book is no longer recommended. But not recommending a book is not censorship.

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        The correct term is “boycott”.

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          It’s a pretty far cry from a boycott, it’s just “periodic maintenance of a list of book recommendations for beginners to reflect up-to-date titles has resulted in your increasingly out-of-date book being removed, because its out-of-dateness is making it less-and-less useful for beginners”.

          With C++14 out, nobody should be surprised that C++98 titles no longer feature on lists of books recommended to beginners. That should be thoroughly non-controversial. This is the equivalent of getting mad about that 8 years after C++14 released.

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            With C++14 out, nobody should be surprised that C++98 titles no longer feature on lists of books recommended to beginners.

            C++14 is backwards compatible with C++98. You could (and should) consider Python 3 a different language from Python 2.

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              But Python 3 is the face of Python development. I agree that Pythons 2 and 3 are different languages, but in that case it would be disingenuous to put a Python 2 book next to a list of Python 3 books. It might go in a separate list—either on the same page or on a dedicated page—but besides removing it, there is no appropriate way to deal with Python 2’s obsolescence short of ceasing to recommend books for it altogether on a page that claims to be a forum for today’s Python developers.

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                But Python 3 is the face of Python development.

                Not according to us users, it isn’t. Most of us stick to Python 2 and not even newbies are being fooled by Python 3 any more.

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                  I don’t know, most newbie books I’ve seen are based on Python 3.

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                C++14 (and everything post-11, really) is not fully backwards compatible with C++98 – the change in semantics of the auto specifier alone break that in an absolute sense, but there are many smaller breaking changes likely to bite people. They are in practice different but closely related languages.

                It’s broadly backward compatible, and a given codebase will probably only need to make a few specific fixes, but then, the same can be said of Python 3.

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                  It’s broadly backward compatible, and a given codebase will probably only need to make a few specific fixes, but then, the same can be said of Python 3.

                  You’re either misinformed or lying.

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                    “broadly” is true; “a few specific fixes” is not. I’d go misinformed on this one.

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              No, the correct term is “not recommending”. This is not a political move, this is simply the curator of the lists not believing that this is a good resource any more.

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                Most often not even that. Any useful list of books will leave out more than include and those not included were not boycotted. It really depends on if reasons were about quality of his book or him (I have no way of knowing since I don’t use reddit).

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                  But it was there before. I think the complaint here is that people are saying that Zed’s book should stop being promoted, since it was promoted before.

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                    That still doesn’t mean it is boycotted. This is the time of the year when media publishes best-of lists (e.g. DPreview for photo equipment). They change every year not because de-listed items were now boycotted, but because others deemed better or more appropriate took their place.

                    Lines are obviously blurred, but most of the time a public, not purely personal, boycott needs at least a statement against boycotted item and not simply for alternatives with reasons not solely based on quality or characteristics of the item and with an aim for an effect beyond merely not obtaining that item (intentionally hurting bottom line of company, reputation…). Advising against a poor implementation for example fails last bit and is also not a boycott.

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              Ugh, Zed.

              A few years ago, I attended a session at a technology conference, and Zed Shaw was there. The session title was “that sucked,” and the object of the exercise was to tell a self-deprecating tale of a time when you had made some kind of entertaining goof. Coders and leaders respected by the community told hilarious, embarrassing stories of their mistakes and everyone had a great time. When it came to be Zed’s turn, he was the lone competent hero in a cringeworthy tale of people who’d failed him. Guy is a walking/blogging persecution complex nursing a lifetime of grievances.

              His stance on Python 3 is a natural extension of this.

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                My god Zed is such an insufferable tool. For everything positive he ever contributes to anything he offers 100x more garbage.

                This blog post he keeps ranting about “the previous generation of programmers”. What? I’d wager dollars to donuts most of the people ripping on him on HN and reddit are his age or younger, first off. And second off, without that previous generation there would be no web for him to make asinine blog posts on.

                Ugh.

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                  My god Zed is such an insufferable tool. For everything positive he ever contributes to anything he offers 100x more garbage.

                  Wow. That’s a bit intense for a discussion about programming languages.

                  We all have good intentions here; the only thing stopping us from having a productive conversation is insults like this. I get your point, but I feel like there’s a halfway decent way to say that.

                  I’d wager dollars to donuts most of the people ripping on him on HN and reddit are his age or younger

                  I don’t know much about this, but what makes you think you know better than him how old the anti-Zed HN/Reddit crowd is?

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                    We all have good intentions here; the only thing stopping us from having a productive conversation is insults like this. I get your point, but I feel like there’s a halfway decent way to say that.

                    I disagree with the idea that insults stop a productive discussion. Sometimes they are warranted, and I think I was following entirely in the tone of Zed’s post, which is full of ridiculous accusations. Sure he is attacking unnamed groups of people, but I think my response is totally appropriate.

                    I don’t know much about this, but what makes you think you know better than him how old the anti-Zed HN/Reddit crowd is?

                    Because I’ve been on these sites for years, reading and participating in discussions with those same people and it’s pretty obvious what the age groups are. Those sites skew younger. I’m 38 and in my experience I’m on the older end of the crowd on HN and /r/programming.

                    Also us old guys have read the kind of thing like Zed’s original Python 3 rant a million times before (including about Python 3 but also about Perl 6, Windows NT, OS X or any other non-backwards compatible technology that takes a long ass time to find its footing), and thus tend not to react strongly to that type of rant any more.

                    This second rant, though, I felt like Zed needed to be called out for the unhelpful crank that he is.

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                      I think I was following entirely in the tone of Zed’s post, which is full of ridiculous accusations.

                      This is “he started it” logic.

                      I felt like Zed needed to be called out for the unhelpful crank that he is.

                      Yes, but most people are capable of doing that without relying on judgements of character and intelligence.

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                        Yes, but most people are capable of doing that without relying on judgements of character and intelligence.

                        Where did I insult his intelligence? Stop putting words in my mouth. If you didn’t like my comment, down vote it and move on, man.

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                          My god Zed is such an insufferable tool.

                          […]

                          Where did I insult his intelligence? Stop putting words in my mouth.

                          (Sorry to be the guy who quotes you back at yourself. I hate it when it happens to me.)

                          If you didn’t like my comment, downvote it and move on, man.

                          That’s not what downvotes are for. I intentionally responded to you directly rather than abusing the downvote feature, because I hoped that we would be able to have a respectful discussion of why we disagreed about Zed. If you continue responding, then I’ll assume that you want to continue the discussion. If you don’t, then just stop responding.

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                            (Sorry to be the guy who quotes you back at yourself. I hate it when it happens to me.)

                            I’m not sure if English is your native language or not, but calling someone an “insufferable tool” is not an insult on their intelligence.

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                              Is it really that important to be arguing over the semantics of insults?

                              What I get out of “tool”, personally, is the idea that the person so referenced complies with everything they are told to do, even when it is to their detriment. That doesn’t seem like an accurate description of Zed, and it is debatable whether it has anything to do with intelligence.

                              But insults are pretty subjective as far as what they imply, and could be taken to mean anything really - and this is a pointless argument. I’m not going to tell either of you to stop, but come on… this is not a conversation with any value for anyone else, there’s no reason to keep it going.

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                                Hahaha, you might be right. But, c'mon now, you cannot interject your own semantics of insults as you are telling me it’s stupid to do that.

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                                  Honestly, yes, you’re right.

                                  Oh well. I’m glad you called me on it.

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                              Insufferable tool is not a reference to his intelligence. It’s reference to him being a general jackass.

                              I intentionally responded to you directly rather than abusing the downvote feature, because I hoped that we would be able to have a respectful discussion of why we disagreed about Zed.

                              And then you proceeded to make it entirely about me insulting him instead of about why I don’t like him or about why you do like him, or whatever “substantive” topic you wanted to talk about.

                              You’re wasting my time. I’d much rather you abuse the down vote feature than do that.

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                                You’re wasting my time.

                                I’ll stop doing that then.

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                    Zed seems to think that his book was removed from the list to punish him. I think it is more likely that the book was removed from /r/python’s rec list out of concern for new programmers, not to spite Zed. I doubt they care if his book is still selling well, not that 2 weeks is enough time to tell a difference.

                    I decided to just write what I felt and fuck whatever programmers think. I wrote it, put in a couple of jokes and trolls, and then posted it.

                    In what sense was any of his Python 3 post trolling? The objective of trolling is to make other people mad, with a minimum amount of effort. Here, people read Zed’s bad opinions, made fun of him, and he got mad. Congrats, you played yourself.

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                      From a personal perspective, the majority of the post feels like someone who’s upset that they don’t command authority and influence is trying to adjust the narrative to be about how there’s some giant conspiracy against him (and conspiracy to “force” everyone to use python 3, which is a direct attack against him).

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                        A conspiracy usually requires a belief that there’s some small cabal of people working secretly toward a common (likely nefarious) goal, and I don’t see any evidence of that in the OP.

                        It sounds like a rant against certain communities of commentators, and frankly, it’s really not that unreasonable. There is a large number of people in those communities (especially r/programming) that are just really terrible assholes IMO. Any time some of my work is discussed in r/programming for example, it’s nearly cringe worthy to read the comments. So as far as that’s concerned, I can totally relate to where the author is coming from. (With that said, there’s plenty of positive comments too, but you’ve got to work hard to find them.)

                        Not to say I’m particularly fond of the OP’s writing style either… But undermining the author’s experience by lumping him in with conspiracy theorists seems like a dirty tactic to me. I also really don’t like making conclusions based on how you perceive the author happens to feel about something.

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                          A conspiracy usually requires a belief that there’s some small cabal of people working secretly toward a common (likely nefarious) goal, and I don’t see any evidence of that in the OP.

                          The Python 3 developers are said cabal, as mentioned in the Python 3 rant. Those who did Python 2 before they turned evil and confused beginners for their own personal gain.

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                        I think he should have elaborated more in how the superiority complex of some programmers makes them not to understand jokes and trolling sometimes, because they assume the rest of the people is not as smart as them.

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                          I wish people would look through Zed’s terrible writing and sometimes confusing remarks to the actual good points he makes about how Python 3 could’ve technically been better. He said some ridiculous stuff, sure. He’s inconsiderate of how what he’s saying and doing could have a negative impact on beginners, sure. But he’s backed down on most of the absurd claims, and there’s still some meat to what he’s saying.

                          I don’t agree with the bulk of what he’s said and done either, but we have to acknowledge that this isn’t black-and-white. Other people have already talked him down; it isn’t helpful at all to add to the pile of insults. A little skepticism and perspective might come in handy. ’Nuff said.

                          Also, sidenote: 13 downvotes for being off-topic!? I think you guys need to learn how to distinguish things that are off-topic from things that you don’t like. From what I’ve seen, this thread displays the Lobsters community at its worst: vitriolic, baseless, and chaotic. Some respectful criticism, but mostly insults. This sucks.

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                            Python 3 certainly could have been better, but you won’t find the ways it could have been in his writing. The Turing complete argument is nonsensical. Strings being “statically typed” makes no sense. And his complaint about variable names not being in error messages also doesn’t make any sense. For example, he doesn’t seem to complain that 2 + 'hi' doesn’t put variable names in the error message (even if you assign those to variables). There isn’t anything to see past the confusing remarks.

                            On your side note, 13 downvotes out of how many people have seen that post? I don’t know but the lobste.rs community is quite a bit larger than 13 people. I think your attitude is being a judgmental in applying the actions of a few to the whole community. I can’t really see the “baseless” and “chaotic” aspect either, but that’s pretty subjective.

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                              I don’t know, I found it kind of surprising. 13 people being wrong on the Internet isn’t much of a surprise, but I’ve usually found Lobsters to be relatively isolated from that type of irrational and counterproductive “fire-with-fire” mindset.

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                                In what sense is downvoting something “fire-with-fire”? Isn’t that just the tool lobste.rs has given to express disagreement? Writing a long ranty blog post would seem more like “fire-with-fire” to me.

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                                  Isn’t that just the tool lobste.rs has given to express disagreement?

                                  Whoops, I messed up: it’s called “flagging”. Does that clarify that it’s meant for expressing that something doesn’t belong on this site rather than that we disagree with it?

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                                    I’m not sure that I disagree with this post being off-topic (I did not flag it, but I also didn’t upvote it). But my point was really that I don’t think 13 (or the 15 now) is a noteworthy number. There are a fair more number of people on this site.

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                            What did “Can anyone say OpenSSL?” have to do with anything? I was with Zed until that point. Are people glassy eyed about OpenSSL? AFAICT there are forks and other attempts at cleaning things up, and a lot of eyes are on it. But my concern even with Heartbleed is that “with enough eyes all bugs are shallow” doesn’t apply with crypto/SSL/TLS because it takes a very special kind of eyes to do that stuff. Hindsight is always 20/20 but at the end of the day we are all human (I think).

                            That comment seemed out of left field. Can anyone explain?

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                              OpenSSL is usually considered an example of under-designed software where people keep adding layers upon layers of cruft instead of refactoring bad foundations or rethinking strategies that have obviously spiralled out of control.

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                              This post isn’t about Python, it is just more current events whining by Zed disguised as a culture piece. Flagged.

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                                This article is not really Python related. It’s an interesting (if somewhat incorrect) culture piece.

                                First of all, I’ve stayed out of the Python 2/3 flamewar that has emerged over the past few days, largely because while I feel that Python 3 is a better language, I have no special insight into Python’s community and the possibly quite valid reasons for sticking with 2. I do think that, as Python has grown up, it has moved away from being an ideal beginner’s language. Is that bad? Or worth the cost? I can’t evaluate it because I’ll readily admit that I don’t know enough.

                                This said, I have to put some weight behind this remark on the herd mentality and anti-intellectualism in tech culture:

                                We all feared them, because their incredibly uninformed opinions and complete lack of humor or human decency could sink or swim entire companies. Get slagged on HN and you’re done for. I’ve heard of VCs actually threatening to strip away funding over bad HN reactions like HN is on the same level as the food critic of the NYT. So what was going to happen to me?

                                I got banned from Hacker News because a blog post I wrote in 2013 made Paul Graham feel bad about himself, and then from Quora because Y Constipator invested in, and now controls, Quora. I definitely had some job opportunities disappear because of this nonsense. The herd mentality is pretty severe in this industry and it sucks. I absolutely believe Zed when he says that VCs have pulled funding over negative Hacker News coverage. Tech is a feudal reputation economy that has become ripe for turnkey fascism.

                                I also believe the newer generation of programmers are more well rounded and have a general distaste of this kind of tribal fascist bullshit we have in open source. I can’t really prove that, but it’s a feeling I’ve been having for a couple years now. This next generation is different.

                                I don’t agree. We now have people who have never known anything but “user stories” and Jira tickets and Scrum and the employer-knows-best surveillance state of the open-plan code shop. The average 30-year-old programmer has never known a time when programmers were respected professionals with offices and doors.

                                I doubt that the rising generation is worse than others, but I see no evidence to think that it is better. Anyway, there are good people in all programming generations and no one deserves to be written off because of age. Besides, internecine ageism just gives our employers yet another divide-and-conquer device.

                                Zed Shaw seems to have concluded that “coder” culture is repugnant, and if he’s referring to the culture of line-of-business software “engineers”, then I’d agree with him. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that it’s declining. The fact that his book sales haven’t faltered only indicates that specific channels don’t carry much weight.

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                                  This guy really knows how to start a good flame war. Interesting approach to marketing he’s taking.

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                                    I’ve been following Zed for years and I’m inclined to give him more credit. I don’t think his objective is “marketing”. I think he has a legitimate anger toward the culture of anti-intellectualism and militant mediocrity that has entrenched itself in our industry. He may be abrasive, but he has a lot of important insights that are sometimes overlooked. Unfortunately, he is no further along than any of the rest of us in coming up with a way to solve the tech industry’s cultural problems. He admitted that he’s been trying to get out for almost a decade– which is his right, but seems defeatist from my perspective– so he seems to concur with the hypothesis that private-sector technology is doomed (and he’s probably right).

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                                    Who gives a fuck about what a bunch of angry lonely coders think about my thoughts?

                                    lack of humor or human decency

                                    Nice ad hominems. Zed, are we still being professionals?