Whatsa Pissing Match

An analogy based on a preadolescence male game of seeing who can urinate the furthest.

SmalltalkInsteadOfPython is a good example of a LanguagePissingMatch. It might try to look balanced and objective but you can just hear those axes being ground in the background. See how far this one extends your understanding...

Stranger things have been known to happen... SmalltalkInsteadOfPython prompted me to check out SqueakSmalltalk again, and search for a good tutorial for it


Frankly, I'm getting royally sick of the LanguagePissingMatch disclaimer. I'm learning Python because it suits my needs, not because I think it's the one and only language. A language is a tool, like a saw or a hammer. HorsesForCourses. I'd like to learn SmallTalk if it's got advantages over Python, and that's why I started the SmalltalkInsteadOfPython page. I want various language enthusiasts to put their cases there. LanguagePissingMatch implies that this is valueless. But for me, learning one language and considering another, it's extremely valuable! What's more I believe it's important we understand the differences between similar languages. When and why would you use SmalltalkInsteadOfPython? Don't reply here - do it on that page!

I guess what I'm saying is please stop dissing valid discourse. If you don't agree with what a page says, then for crying out loud go and edit the damn thing. Just calling it a name makes the people who are trying to work with it feel cranky and unmotivated, which is not a nice outcome. --PeterMerel

My problem with comparing languages, especially languages with very different foundations, is that the debate usually comes down to 'but I wouldn't do that in x' and 'if you cannot see why this construct is better then there is no hope for you'. By all means experiment, ask why a particular language uses a particular form but comparisons are usually apples and oranges affairs. --TomAyerst (apologies if I sound grouchy, but I am)

Not at all, Tom! You're very very right. Perhaps what we need to turn this page into is a set of guidelines for preventing language comparisons from becoming pissing matches. Here's a tentative start - please expand:

Moved to ComparingNotPissing[1]

One of my problems with SmalltalkInsteadOfPython was that it took a rather biased view of the argument, tipping what could be considered as subjective matters in Python's favor (i.e. its "momentum" and "exhubrence", it's open nature compared to Smalltalk, etc.) It really didn't seem to be a forum for discussing Smalltalk vs. Python, it seemed to be a forum to flex muscles. This has changed since the recent refactorings, thankfully. I guess my feeling is that a language argument will usually degenerate unless all parties continue to remain open to listening. This has a corollary that the larger the discussion, the more noise.

Why engage people in a LanguagePissingMatch? The reason is simple. There's a large networking effect in programming languages. Most people don't use a language because it's TheRightToolForTheJob, but because: It's easier if your favourite programming language happens to be everybody else's favourite programming language. Then you don't have to fight uphill all the time. Hence people feel the need to convince other people that their favourite programming language is "right". Whether this actually has any impact is a whole other question altogether...

Some of these issues were discussed on SourceCodeIsUserInterface and LanguageUsability, ProgrammingForPlebians adds an intriguing perspective to the debate.

I think it's still early days yet as concerns the history of programming languages.

In the not too distant future we'll all be writing stuff in a mishmash language with regex's and </xml> tags mixed with kitchensink builtin data structures...Oh wait this is starting to sound familiar... ;-}

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