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    This is one of the best explanations of “what is lisp” that I’ve ever read, but I’m always at least a little suspicious of the opinion of someone who already understands a topic when they evaluate writing that’s supposed to explain the topic. Maybe it just makes sense to be because I already know what it’s trying to say?

    I’d be interested in hearing how it comes across to people who don’t know lisp.

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      I don’t really know Lisp, but more to the point, I don’t really know any curly-bracket language well either.

      I didn’t find it much help. I submit that a better title might be something like “Lisp syntax explained for users of C-like languages” or something along those general lines. I’ve read better general explanations of Lisp structures elsewhere, usually when someone is trying to explain either [a] why there are so many parentheses in Lisp or [b] their proposal for “fixing” Lisp syntax by replacing them. (E.g. sweet expressions, or the Pythonesque indentation model.)

      ISTM that this post is addressed to one specific audience, but that audience is so big that it’s assumed that it’s everyone. It isn’t.

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        Thanks for sharing your perspective. It’s a good reminder of the utter impossibility of predicting how other people will interpret your writing when they’re coming from a different background.

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      This is a pretty solid piece. Interesting, and compelling.

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        I don’t know if I’ll ever get the hang of lisp because I can’t parse it. The syntax of lisp feels high-context abstraction. Needing to keep track of three or four items that have identical visual structure overwhelms my limited working memory.

        It’s like reading a story with paragraph-long sentences. Or catastrophically bad backtracking in a regular expression.

        It’s difficult to explain this to people because they can’t see how of someone who handle massive amount of abstraction conceptually would completely fail at a comparatively simple abstraction. Quite simply, my input has a single channel and my spartial memory has dozens of parallel channels. Reading lisp requires a level of indirection, which needs two linear channels. Unsurprisingly, I can’t read it without forgetting what it means.

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        1. An Intuition for Lisp Syntax via inactive-user 2 years ago | 28 points | 12 comments