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RE: `set-variable' should use :set

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: `set-variable' should use :set
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 09:13:08 -0700

> > > quite clear as far as it goes (it doesn't say why or how).
> >
> > I find it quite clear too.
> Clear, yes.  I personally think it's ugly and awkward, the kind of
> usage a tasteless engineer[1] would invent.  I would hope that Emacs
> aspires to a higher, more literary standard.

Good to hear.  Patch welcome. ;-)

(But higher yes, more literary, no.  It's not about being literary - depending
on what is meant by that term.  No, don't bother to send dictionary citations.

> That's why I suggested Drew contribute a patch

Ditto.  Your patch is welcome, to raise Emacs to a higher standard.

But it seems we both prefer, at least in some such trivial cases, to teach
fishing rather than grab the pole and pull an already caught fish on board.  I
placed the fish firmly on the hook this time.  It's really not difficult to reel
it in.

What's missing is the will to do so, which apparently depends on agreement that
this fish is a worthy one.  Or even a that it is truly a fish!  Submitting
patches does no more good here than pointing out clearly what is wrong.  Believe
me (or not).

> I don't think that clarity is sufficiently important that we should
> say "if it's clear, ship it."  Precision in natural language is as
> important as precision in formal languages.

Clarity goes hand in hand with preciseness (and completeness and
correctness...), but yes, there are degrees.  We agree about their importance, I
believe.  Clarity is about understanding, but understanding something that was
not expressed precisely can mean misunderstanding what was meant.

> But a superior application will have elegant docs, which the user will
> appreciate far more than elegant code.  (Of course neither holds a
> candle to elegant UI.)

Agreed again.  Elegant UI can reduce or even eliminate the need for docs,
elegant or otherwise.  And BTW, "UI" here includes APIs (e.g. names of packages,
routines, and parameters), for users who are developers.

But we are now far afield of "`set-variable' should use :set".
It should, BTW. ;-)

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