Appropriate Tcl Chatroom Discussions

appropriate: Suitable for a particular person, condition, occasion, or place; fitting.

  1. Most importantly the Tcl'ers Chat is about Tcl. It is much like a place of business. In fact most of the people seem to use the chat from/for work. It's preferred that people not talk about personal things. Anything emotional is probably inappropriate. Most of the Internet is like this, and although it leads to a soulless feeling, it gets work done. Hence jokes are often inappropriate. Talk about Tcl. If you get upset with another person, remember that all that matters in the chat is Tcl.
  2. If you need "friends" or want to make friends that are Tcl'ers try something else.
  3. The chat is not a good place to discuss things like radically new improvements to Tcl/Tk. This often results in hurt feelings or flame wars. Use comp.lang.tcl for such things, because it allows a slower form of communication, and you may find more support. If you don't find support there, then do the improvements yourself and fork Tcl and/or Tk.

RS 2004-05-01: Of course the contents and "look and feel" of the chat depends directly on the persons present (and whether they are busy or relaxed). But not to forget, one feature of the Tcl chatroom is to offer quick Tcl help in very short time, which many newbies have experienced over time. I like it that sometimes very exotic topics are discussed, and occasionally the language shifts, like recently to Italian, for an hour or so. I mostly just feel at (virtual) home in the Tcl chatroom.

SS 2004-05-02: I agree with the RS vision of the chat content. I want just to add that being the chat something related to "individuals", it's better if the original author of this page signs the first part. At least we will know that this is what he want the chat is. If he will not do so, I'll remain with the doubt that maybe he considers off-topic every content that may decrease his ability to be able to get help for his paywork related problems.

LV that initial paragraph surely doesn't match my understanding of the chat - I find the chat to be a wonderful place that allows a range of discussions from personal (we've had discussions of lunch plans and tragedies) to technical (designing tkchat in real time) to nonsensical. small group (to even one on one) chats with others in public, it drowns out the ability for people to participate in the group gestalt.

SRIV When chit-chatting, I think its sufficient to have the courtesy to yield to a technical discussion without having to ban or discourage chit-chat. Its called netiquette.

CL is with RS, LV, et al., in having a more inclusive view of what's appropriate for the chat.

The wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead. I thought it was a badger.

May one become emotional about Tcl? Make jokes about upvar?

Stu I propose harsh penalties for any mention of 'libtool'.

DKF: Actually, the penalty is using libtool...

GPS: An appropriate discussion has the following pattern:

  1. fluff example Hi or Hi Tcl'ers
  2. problem example "How do I do $X?" (Note: that you should read the documentation first.)
  3. thanks example "Thank you $nickname. I will send a money order for 5 million dollars, because of your help."

Fluffery is a fine art. For example: "How are you?" Most of the time people don't give a shit how you are. If you say "not feeling well" they will probably not talk with you (unless you have infiltrated the secret society of Tcl'ers (and trust me you don't want to know about their rituals)).

CMCc: Fluff sounds like what's known technically as Phatic Communion.

Now for the accepted forms of fluff for when you are talking with people you have known for a while:

The proper sequence of fluff is:

  1. "How are you?"
  2. "fine"

Another accepted form of fluff is:

  1. "How are you?"
  2. "hi"

The second form shows more that the person doesn't care. He/She just wants to get down to business.

It's like a form of lying. Our society is ingrained with lying. Get used to it. We live in a soulless world. It gives people the false hope that people care about them. Just look at all the Hollywood actors/actresses/liars. They have millions of fans, but when you traverse their pattern they are liars. Is it any wonder they are so good at having bad relationships. See, this is the perfect model for Tcl'ers in the chat.

Now, I've corresponded with several Tcl'ers. I've found that often Tcl'ers use no fluff. This is to encourage a 100% business relationship. It makes life fun, because remember life is about work and nothing else. Steve Landers once said "Do I live to work or work to live?" I can't speak for him, but I know for the rest of the world the answer is obvious -- WORK.

NEM I'm sure that isn't the case (I probably shouldn't admit this on a publicly visible website, but I often go days at a time doing absolutely nothing work related). However, when it comes to the Tcl'ers Chat, mostly people come there to "talk shop". If there was a way to set-up private chat channels, then perhaps people might be more inclined to chat about other subjects. Perhaps one of these days I might switch to IRC...

DKF: Hint: Use /msg to do one-on-one chat. :)

CMCc: I've never seen anyone discouraged from taking up an interesting technical discussion, or helping a newbie, merely because they were involved in a more wide-ranging topic ... it just never happens, there's no chilling effect on real tech discussion, so what're we trying to conserve here, bandwidth?

GPS: Colin, we are trying to preserve sanity. We/I don't want to scare off the natives. Reading some text is the equivalent of mental rape. Mental abuse is not funny. It's a serious medical condition that can only be treated with the proper Tcl extensions.


 "The time has come", the Tcl'er said,
 "To talk of many things:
 Of loops and tips and eval hacks,
 And fileevents and strings -
 And why the C compileth not
 And whether lists have wings."

FW: Remember, the interest in a given language or tool reflects more than just a programming preference, but to a small extent a mode of thought. Hence, using a Tcl chat for some occasional off-topic banter may be less than 100% arbitrary. Everything, even up to lasting marriages, have been developed from meeting via something as deeply trivial as both participating in a certain CounterStrike game. Some common interest along those lines definitely is a good catalyst for getting along in general. My core online friends group, two of whom I've met in person, started off some years ago on a MOO based on the backstory of the Myst games and books - how's that for random ;) so I think unrelated discussion in these kind of places is practically the only way the Internet brings people together. If people discuss non-Tcl issues, I'd welcome it: it doesn't turn the Tcl community into a soap opera, at worst it's a little line noise. There's no reason to pretend this is a boardroom, IMO.

KBK I must confess to a certain degree of puzzlement. The original posting on this page suggested that there is a problem with inappropriate content in the Chat. Frankly, my personal definition of what's appropriate is pretty wide. I see considerable hilarity there (bearing in mind that a typical Tcl'ers sense of humor is often, well, obscure). I see discussions that range from the declension of nouns in Lithuanian to the recipe for salsa alla puttanesca. I see only minimal exclusion of newcomers - no more than is inevitable in any group with years of shared history. And, for the most part, we do pretty well following the handful of rules that we set for ourselves:

  • No foul language, please; people read the Chat from work.
  • But the fact that people chat from work doesn't mean that everything has to be sterile and businesslike, any more than it is in the workplace. Just keep the conversation to things you wouldn't be embarrassed about if overheard talking around the coffee pot. If you work in a workplace that considers anything other than 100% focus on the job 24/7 to be "stealing from the company[L1 ]," you've far worse problems than inappropriate chatroom content.
  • No gratuitous insults. We try to keep a reputation as a friendly community.
  • Helping Tcl'ers with Tcl comes first. It's what the chat is for. Other discussions get suspended if necessary.
  • KBK insists that means Eggdroppers, too. Eggdroppers sometimes grow up into real Tcl'ers.
  • The preferred human language of the chat is English. Discussions in other languages are accepted, but be prepared to switch to English if someone that doesn't speak your language arrives. Even the US Tcl'ers are a surprisingly multilingual lot, so don't be inordinately surprised if you come in to find people speaking German - but don't be afraid to ask for English, either.
  • Don't read anything into problems with the technology. "So-and-so doesn't want to talk to you any more!" usually means "So-and-so's computer just got the Blue Screen of Death."
  • Don't expect undivided attention. You can't see who just got called away from the keyboard.
  • Tolerate mistakes in others, and don't worry too much about your own.
  • Sing the Badger Song[L2 ] once in a while.
  • Expect some weirdness - see the Tcl chatroom chrestomathy for some of the popular nonstandard usages.

LV would add "Don't assume that because you are not getting an answer that you've done something wrong." Sometimes the boss is pushing hard on people to get their day jobs completed...

Also, "don't let a bad apple spoil the chat for you." Occasionally, someone wanders in who either doesn't get the wiki/chat mentality, or who is off their medication, or who got up on the wrong side of the bed, or who has had some trauma in their life. They may chat or email something obnoxious to you. Don't let such things get to you. If you wonder if you have said or done something wrong, pick some other chatters - particularly if you notice some who have been around the chatroom over the long term - and send a private message asking whether some particular comment/attitude/contribution truly is not being understood or appreciated.

Of course, if someone wanders into the chat room, behaving in an anti-social manner, they should not be surprised if the result is that people just ignore them...

GPS you crack me up -- for the first time today I laffed out loud. I must look like an insane patient sitting at my screen giggling to myself, until the waves crash and uproariness follows ;) --Ro

PYK 2014-08-07: A quote about netiquette:

If you are concerned about netiquette, you are either concerned about your own and follow good netiquette, or you are concerned about others and violate good netiquette by bothering people with your concern, as the only netiquette you can actually affect is your own.

Erik Naggum