[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Jesse Hutton jhutton@eden.rutgers.edu
Tue Oct 14 08:14:14 PDT 2003


On Tue, 14 Oct 2003, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> on Tue, Oct 14, 2003 at 09:03:03AM -0400, Jesse Hutton (jhutton@eden.rutgers.edu) wrote:
>
> > I do think all this "non-sequitur" crap is utterly pedantic, and just a
> > way of sidestepping the argument.
>
> I really hope that was intentionally ironic.

No, I was not being intentionally ironic. What I was referring to is the
tendency of some people to blow the referee's whistle (so to speak), and
say "aha! that was a non-sequitur (sic)" with no actual substantive
response. Just to take the most recent example, Rick was refering to his
previous experience with trying to find out where the configuration files
exist for Galeon, and if in fact they are human editable, etc. The
conclusion was that he wasn't able to find anything in the usual places,
no docs, nothin'. The general tone was very disapproving of this
situation (understandably so, I admit), and indeed this whole thread
(since it departed from its original rants) has been about the merits or
lack thereof of GConf. However, he explicitly stated that he is concerned
with gnumeric, Galeon, and AbiWord.

In response, Martin asked hypothetically if he had considered the
possible reasons why the developers of $APP_HE_CARES_ABOUT (I think the
example Martin brought up was Abiword) chose to use GConf. To me, that
is not a terribly irrelavent question (considering the general discussion
has been about the merits of GConf). A person cares about an application,
but disapproves of it's configuration situation (or maybe I'm reading too
much into it here, and he only disapproves of the lack of documentation
on it; or maybe only of Gnome followers' statements that everything is
peachy for traditional *nix users; or...?). <repeat> The conversation has
generally been about the system that is used for the configuring. He
cares about the application. </repeat> Is it not *entirely* appropriate to
address the fact $DEVELOPERS_FOR_APP_HE_CARES_ABOUT chose to use GConf,
and that his concerns might be better directed toward that end? As Martin
suggests, they could have very well come up with something on their own.

>
> <pedantic>
>
>    Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary:
>
>    non sequtur:  2.  A statement (as a response) that does not follow
>    logically from anything previously said
>
> </pedantic>

Just for future reference, what would have been a non-non sequitur
response? Acknowleding the shortcomings of GConf at this point and
specifically with his issues with $APPS_HE_CARES_ABOUT? That's not
difficult to do. I acknowledge that! But what about acknowledging that it
is a work in progress, and that GConf already solves a lot of usability
problems. (I guess the relative scarcity of configuration options that
Gnome impliments plays some role here, and is in fact a usability issue
for some users, but...)

> Note too that there's no hyphen.

Noted. (Note: I was quoting above (except for the slip at the bottom) and
now that I'm aware of the proper form, I'll insert the appropriate '(sic)'
marker.)

> A non sequitur *is* side-stepping the argument with an irrelevant
> comment.

Everybody simply brings up the points they see as relavent, provided
they're not intentionally trying to obfuscate what their position is. The
sidestepping I'm talking about is the response that goes, "that's so
non sequiturish," with the implication that the responder didn't even
respond directly to the original statement. So? I think it's entirely
legitament to address the assumptions that a person makes when they say
something. Therefore, no non sequitur. Furthermore, a more productive
response to what you see as an irrelavent statement might be to say
something like "I'm not saying that, I'm saying such and such. As far as
I can tell, you are talking about something different." That would allow
the discussion to stay focused on the issues people see as important and
to not degenerate into what amounts to name calling and stupid,
*pedantic* jabs.

Jesse






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