0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:56 pm UTC

DenverCoder9: "The thing's hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God—it's full of stars! ROTFLMAO"

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Samik » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:00 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:DenverCoder9: "The thing's hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God—it's full of stars! ROTFLMAO"

Aaaand, that got me as good as the comic.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby jpk » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:19 pm UTC

_rq wrote:
jpk wrote:
Ronfar wrote:If that text on the left-hand side isn't a poem, it should be.

Depending on what you mean by "poem", either it is or it isn't. Should doesn't enter into it.

For me, a poem is metrical and rhymed, so this isn't one. But if you want it to be a poem, I don't mind.


much of modern poetry tends to disregard strict rhyme and meter (to the point of "rhyme poetry" becoming a pejorative term), so actually, poetry would be whatever is written in verse and makes you feel reading it that way.
differently put, it's poetry when the grouping of words and thoughts is governed by aesthetical consideratons above writing conventions.


As I say, if you want it to be a poem, it can be a poem for you. For me the point of a poem is the sound of the words, and the arrangement of the words on the page is irrelevant. A poem is a written work whose words have an inherent meter, whose words tell you how they are meant to be read. This means that most of what's passed off as poetry today is just prose with arbitrary line breaks to me. Take out the line breaks from a paragraph of Frost, and you'll still have a poem - that's poetry. Take out the line breaks from a random poem you'll find in the New Yorker any week, and you'll have a paragraph. That's prose.
There are exceptions. Merwin does have his moments, and those do show what can be done with the modern forms. Likewise cummings. "anyone lived in a little how town" cannot be read non-metrically, even though it's not particularly constrained to any meter, and it rhymes, even though it doesn't. If anything, that's well beyond what Frost accomplished, in my book. However, the exceptions are rare. Most people writing poetry today are writing for the eye, not for the ear or the tongue, and that's something very different from poetry for me.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Lydia Alcyon » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:22 pm UTC

jdmulloy wrote:It's even worse when all the replies are just people saying "me too".

The absolute worst thing however is when the OP just says that they've fixed it and disappears.


[coolstorybro] i totally can relate. i had a similar problem with a Ragnarok Online server recently. i worked on it for about 3 days to finally get it working, and then 20min into playing it the client decided to crash every time i swung my sword at something. all the folks on the forums kept saying i was missing .dll files, which is bull crap cause i went and downloaded all of them. i found a thread on google in which the last post said, "apparently the problem was fixed." BUT HOWWWW?! so after all that work i told the people on that server's forum that their server needs a lot of work, and i went and downloaded the Rebirth server of RO. [/coolstorybro]

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby hailthefish » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:41 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
Magiko wrote:Moderator: DON'T BUMP OLD THREADS MAKE A NEW ONE *LOCKS THREAD*



If there's one thing about online forums I hate, it's when the policy is to always start new threads rather than to bump old ones even if the subject would be exactly the same.


And of course you make a new thread which gets immediately locked because "THERE'S ALREADY A THREAD DISCUSSING THIS, TRY USING SEARCH BEFORE YOU POST!"

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Schema » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:54 pm UTC

I was DenverCoder9.

Not really, but I had posted a question waaaay back on the Eclipse IDE forums. Didn't get a satisfactory response.

Then 4 years later, someone emailed me out of the blue asking if I had ever solved it. (I had, but the issue was fixed in a later version anyway). Let's hear it for user profiles with an Email link, and email addresses that don't change.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Enkidu » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:02 pm UTC

Running five versions of Linux on old equipment, netbooks and Acer notebooks . . . I live this comic.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:04 pm UTC

jpk wrote:For me, a poem is metrical and rhymed,


Then you consider 'Beowulf', the 'Aeneid', and the 'Odyssey' to be prose? Most ancient and mediaeval civilizations would be quite surprised to learn that their great poetic traditions did not, in fact, include any poems.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby The Moomin » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:29 pm UTC

Aiwendil wrote:
jpk wrote:For me, a poem is metrical and rhymed,


Then you consider 'Beowulf', the 'Aeneid', and the 'Odyssey' to be prose? Most ancient and mediaeval civilizations would be quite surprised to learn that their great poetic traditions did not, in fact, include any poems.


I'm with jpk on this.

Also, is 'poem' a label that modern day people have labelled these works, or do we have proof that contemporaries would have regarded them as such? The ancient and mediaeval civilizations may be equally surprised to discover they have been labelled poets rather than storytellers. If only we had the "Wisdom of the Ancients" to clarify this point.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby fennecfanatic » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:54 pm UTC

Serious GOOMHR moment.
Except in my case, the thread is only three weeks old.
...so far.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1871122
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby bmonk » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:56 pm UTC

nogling wrote:GOOMHR.

I particularly hate it when the long-dead thread's "solutions" involve, "That isn't possible. Are you sure you got the error code right?"

Look, I just got this seemingly "impossible" error. Someone else did, too. From the other threads I've found, dozens of people have gotten this EXACT SAME ERROR. I think it's possible. Now tell me how to f*cking fix it.


To claim "That isn't possible" means "Reality is in error." And if reality is in error, anything is possible -- there's a simple proof of that in logic. So it has to be possible, because even if it isn't possible, it is.


My first thought on this comic, though: Gee, maybe there's a Doctoral Thesis here!
(Unless it isn't that sort of problem, or you need an answer now, not in two years.)
(Is my scholarly geek showing too much?)

Oh, and also: Denver9 vanished, because he folded himself in frustration. (See: “The No-sided Professor” by Martin Gardner)
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby jpk » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:01 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:
Aiwendil wrote:
jpk wrote:For me, a poem is metrical and rhymed,


Then you consider 'Beowulf', the 'Aeneid', and the 'Odyssey' to be prose? Most ancient and mediaeval civilizations would be quite surprised to learn that their great poetic traditions did not, in fact, include any poems.


I'm with jpk on this.

Also, is 'poem' a label that modern day people have labelled these works, or do we have proof that contemporaries would have regarded them as such? The ancient and mediaeval civilizations may be equally surprised to discover they have been labelled poets rather than storytellers. If only we had the "Wisdom of the Ancients" to clarify this point.


Beaten to the punch there, but I agree with what Moomin says.
I'm not a speaker of any of those languages, so I can't really say anything about the poetic qualities of the writing, but leaping back to works written for very different purposes hardly seems like a good way to explore this question. It'd be like asking whether haiku is "really poetry". Well, for me, no it isn't. But again, if it does for you what you want poetry to do for you, then that's fine, you can call it poetry and I'm not going to say you're wrong. I'll just know that I don't come to you looking for poetry, that's all.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Rory » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:04 pm UTC

Ironically, we have many people on this thread posting the same examples of threads like the one in the comic. For instance, six or so people have already posted about when you realize you wrote the original question. If you consider the purpose of this thread to enumerate the variations on this problem, we are doing it very badly for the future-people who want a list of the variations. And since everyone is talking about the variations so much, I think yes, that is one of the purposes of this thread. Would the OP, vortighast, be willing to compile the variations suggested so far into the first post?


RobFreundlich wrote:What's needed to solve this problem is a site where someone who has had a problem and found the solution can write up the problem and its solution, without all of the irrelevant crap. Imagine a "new problem solution" page with fields like this:
...
What do folks think of the idea?

Couldn’t you use StackOverflow and SuperUser for this? They don’t have “short description” or “short answer” fields, but I’ve seen some people post a short version at the top or bottom of their post. They also don’t specifically encourage posting links to other threads, but you could probably post links in the the description or answers or in their comments. The asker can mark an answer as “accepted”. Although those sites have only flat tags, not hierarchical tags, so perhaps that’s a big enough improvement to warrant making a new forum-thread-solution-specific site.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby HanoverCoder9 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:06 pm UTC

Happened _so_ often. I love this comic, thank you, Randall. And now, GOOMHR.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby bmonk » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:11 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:
Aiwendil wrote:
jpk wrote:For me, a poem is metrical and rhymed,


Then you consider 'Beowulf', the 'Aeneid', and the 'Odyssey' to be prose? Most ancient and mediaeval civilizations would be quite surprised to learn that their great poetic traditions did not, in fact, include any poems.


I'm with jpk on this.

Also, is 'poem' a label that modern day people have labelled these works, or do we have proof that contemporaries would have regarded them as such? The ancient and mediaeval civilizations may be equally surprised to discover they have been labelled poets rather than storytellers. If only we had the "Wisdom of the Ancients" to clarify this point.

There are various measures of poetry: meter (especially in Hebrew), rhyme (Latin and romance languages find this popular), assonance, even acrostics. Not all poems have all of these measures. "Beowulf" and the others cited have meter, but not rhyme. "Beowulf", otoh, does have assonance.

But the most important measure has always been density and depth of imagery, as well as evocation of emotion.

I recall that one early Greek philosophical treatise was a poem. Try that these days!
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:11 pm UTC

Ancient and mediaeval cultures certainly did have a concept of poetry and were well aware of a distinction between verse and prose. The rhyme and metre that have dominated English verse from the fourteenth century or so are not the only organizing principles poetry can be built on. Most Germanic cultures had a form of poetry based on alliteration rather than rhyme and using what's called 'accentual' rather than 'metrical' rhythm. The Roman system of poetry was 'quantitative', meaning that their metre was based on long vs. short, rather than stressed vs. unstressed, syllables. These systems were just as strict as rhymed metrical poetry, and were every bit as different from 'free verse' as Shakespeare is. For what it's worth, I'm no fan of haiku either, and I think free verse is generally quite terrible. I guess I just think that it's more sensible to adopt an inclusive definition of poetry - and still of course be able to say things like 'I don't like this poem' or even 'I think poems like X are rubbish' - rather than making the very definition of the term 'poetry' something that depends on a person's particular literary taste.

Sorry to be so off topic and so curmudgeonly at the same time.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby zneak » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:16 pm UTC

I thought I'd share this story about a friend of mine.

Earlier this year, he was trying to get an OpenGL program to work. He hadn't used the API in a long time and was rather rusty, and at some point he hit a wall. Everything was black but glError reported nothing meaningful, so he set out to find out what was happening.

As he was googling, he eventually found this guy who had this exact problem three years ago. Obviously, the thread had no replies aside from his, and it ended with "Okay guys, I've figured it out, thanks."

At that moment, my friend realized that he was the one who posted the question.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby sworisbreathing » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:28 pm UTC

I've run across countless instances of the "Nevermind, I fixed it" and/or closed threads. Along those same lines is one that I've run across enough times to put several fist-sized holes in my wall. This is the detailed discussion of all the symptoms, which are a 100% match of the problem you're encountering, and the final post of the thread is:

AnswerNinja67 wrote:
DenverCoder9, I think I know what's going on here. PM me and I can walk you through it.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby ThemePark » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:42 pm UTC

zneak wrote:I thought I'd share this story about a friend of mine.

Earlier this year, he was trying to get an OpenGL program to work. He hadn't used the API in a long time and was rather rusty, and at some point he hit a wall. Everything was black but glError reported nothing meaningful, so he set out to find out what was happening.

As he was googling, he eventually found this guy who had this exact problem three years ago. Obviously, the thread had no replies aside from his, and it ended with "Okay guys, I've figured it out, thanks."

At that moment, my friend realized that he was the one who posted the question.

So hopefully you have now referred your friend to this thread, and told him to necro the OpenGL thread to post the solution, assuming he's figured it out again.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby jpk » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:30 pm UTC

bmonk wrote:
But the most important measure has always been density and depth of imagery, as well as evocation of emotion.


I take exception to this. This assumes that poetry is a consistent form throughout history and across cultures. You simply can't make this case. Either poetry is a formal process, in which case you need formal terms to define it, or it is a cultural process, in which case you need to define it in terms of what it does for the people who make it and the people who hear it - or read it, but to think of poetry as something you read already takes you out of the older forms that you're trying to use to justify your position.
Either way, you can't justify that position. If you take the formal definition, of course, "density and depth of imagery" are nonsense, they have nothing to do with the matter at hand. If you take a cultural definition, you have a problem in that the ancient forms you're calling on to justify your position have nothing to do with what poets did two hundred years ago, or with what they do today.
I've given you an easy out, of course, which is to simply say "for me, poetry is X" and be done with it, but if you're going to insist that there's a correct definition here that suits all parties in the discussion, I'm afraid I'm going to make you work a little harder than that.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Joepat » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:33 pm UTC

I have this problem with video games.
It SUCKS. :x
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Gamma Ray » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:25 am UTC

I don't care about the Get Out Of My Head factor, the second panel is fucking golden. The best of the geeky xkcd comics are the ones which draw parallels to film metaphors to make it that much more absurd (probably partly because I tend to not usually understand the science element of it, but get the film references).

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby drewder » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:40 am UTC

The worst is when someone sent the answer by PM or Email.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby erik65536 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:50 am UTC

Dear People of the Future,

You may skip to this post and then continue reading unless someone posts an updated version.

I would like to propose a solution to some of the problems outlined in this thread. Whenever you reply to a thread you should include all the important points from previous responses, followed by your own response. The down side is it depends on what the person thinks is most important, but its better than nothing.

The thread so far:
  • Many many people agree with comic. (GOMHR)
  • The only response is "Never mind. I fixed it." Many people agree.
  • The response is "Never mind. I fixed it." AND
    • 1. You realize the poster was you.
    • 2. You realize the poster is the one that asked you.
    • 3. You post the answer years later.
  • You find the solution AND
    • 1. The thread is in a different language.
    • 2. You don't expect the solution to work but it does.
    • 3. The first or only search result is on expertsexchange (expert sex change).
    • 4. Dead links.
    • 5. You posted the solution long ago.
    • 6. You asked the question long ago.
  • The problem is very old (previous version) and solutions not relevant today (current version).
  • The username DenverCoder9 will become more popular.
  • Post/check stackoverflow for the answer.
  • The response is google it/lmgtfy. "Time traveling troll" (futuremonkey)
  • Can't post in old thread because of mods.
  • You or someone else posts a solution long after the question, and the opposite person may email the other and thank them.
  • People need to know why you want the solution.
  • Search results turn up source code.
  • Search results turn up a giant thread with many people asking and responding to different problems.
  • Search turns up yahoo/wiki answers and the solution is retarded.
  • MSDN forum with lazy or wrong answer marked by MVP.
  • Only responses are spam.
  • Some discussion about poems I didn't read.

My contribution:
  • The only results are 10 copies of the same thread on different web sites. BTW, why do they do that? Is it just multiple websites indexing a news group? Or is it sites looking for ad revenue? Or maybe some of both.
  • The error message you are searching for has many causes and solutions, but none of the top solutions work for you.
  • The solution that worked for everyone does not work for you.
  • You do not understand the answer.
  • Search results turn up something unrelated that is more popular. <RANT>I hate it when people name things a very simple or common name. Like a game called "Space Explorers". How exactly are you supposed to search for that if it isn't popular?</RANT>
  • The only response is the documentation for the software which gives a vague and unhelpful description of the error.
  • You find your problem as part of someone else's log dump.
  • You find a Bugzilla entry from years ago that is still open or was closed because the programmer could not reproduce it.
  • The same message posted by many people that apparently did not read the thread.
  • The server time is running fast on physicsforums and you see the question that you will post 10 minutes later.

EDIT:

  • An older version of yourself appears and you tell yourself not to post the response...1 minute after you posted it. You decide to edit your post and remove the content, but your future self says its too late.
  • You happen upon threads where people are asking about a missing DLL error. Somebody responds with a file locker link to a single DLL rather than the relevant MSVC++/DirectX redistributable. See http://xkcd.com/763/
  • People that edit their tl;dr posts 100 times.
Last edited by erik65536 on Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:03 am UTC, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Joep » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:08 am UTC

"Who were you, DenverCoder9? WHAT DID YOU SEE? ". Can't stop laughing about this comic turning what happens to all of us all the time into a Oscar winning movie scene.

Thanks again Randall!

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby hjordis » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:34 am UTC

erik65536 wrote:Dear People of the Future,


My contribution:

The error message you are searching for has many causes and solutions, but none of the top solutions work for you.

This. The worst is a thread with about 8 solutions for apparently related or similar problems, all of them working for some people, but not one of which works for you. :|

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Kalina » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:55 am UTC

We had an issue with our telephone system last year, and much reading of manuals and calling the manufacturer didn't solve it. So I googled it.

One result: A forum in a thread about "historic telephone systems", asking if anyone is using this still :roll:

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby darocker077 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:28 am UTC

I'm like no where in the middle when such things happen to me.. curious.. :?

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Djehutynakht » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:34 am UTC

You know, there have been times when I've searched for information on a topic, only for the first result to be a post by me. On this forum. Asking a question.

Gah!

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby reffu » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:42 am UTC

Kind of different than what other people have said, Post Hijacking annoys me. When I'm reading about Problem A, which is effectively my problem and is getting close to a solution, and someone posts about Problem B which is entirely different except for one detail. For instance, reading about a problem with brightness changes on a laptop very similar to mine in Linux, and someone posts about how suspend won't work on an entirely different Brand/Model of laptop with nothing connecting the two except they're both laptops and both using the same distro. I especially hate it when their post starts out with "I have the same problem except..." The worst is when someone else posts about Problem B and the entire thread turns into a discussion of Problem B and nothing further is posted about A, or A is lost somewhere in the thread.
Last edited by reffu on Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:14 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:58 am UTC

Hey, speaking of hijacking, = )

jpk wrote:I take exception to this. This assumes that poetry is a consistent form throughout history and across cultures. You simply can't make this case. Either poetry is a formal process, in which case you need formal terms to define it, or it is a cultural process, in which case you need to define it in terms of what it does for the people who make it and the people who hear it - or read it, but to think of poetry as something you read already takes you out of the older forms that you're trying to use to justify your position.
Either way, you can't justify that position. If you take the formal definition, of course, "density and depth of imagery" are nonsense, they have nothing to do with the matter at hand. If you take a cultural definition, you have a problem in that the ancient forms you're calling on to justify your position have nothing to do with what poets did two hundred years ago, or with what they do today.


I don't follow. If a particular cultural product was defined as verbal communication with a focus on density and depth of imagery, you could call anything that fell under that umbrella by the term. And verbal, of course, would include written forms at present, particularly since they're directly in the tradition of the spoken forms, but mostly because it's it's a straightforward if eccentric substitution. The concerns are related.

I agree that "density and depth of imagery" is a poor fit for most of the actual forms of poetry that have existed, of course.

I don't really approve of attempts to improve the lexicon by sheer force, though. It's not as if there's any ambiguity. It's culture, not cladistics. You're running dangerously close to those cases where people attempt to turn the humanities into a respectable science, which always ends in fire.

Accept that the terms poetry and prose are fuzzy terms that blend at the edges and that the former is somehow more "concerned with form" than the other in a rough sense, and it works out. It's how they're used, and it more or less works on the rare case you actually need the distinction at all.

At the very least, Western poetry in the modern sense is part of a linear tradition that went from rhyme and meter read out loud to spatial word games read silently between the mid-nineteenth century and now (through the Symbolists, Modernists, etc.) and the same poems people write today for books and exact character placement are, themselves, also performed and golf-clapped at, so.

Oh, yes, and GOOMHR, which is what I popped in to say, like, half an hour ago. = ) Having an X issue that's leading me to "same error code, different problem" right now, actually. (And it kinda is affecting my general satisfaction with life.)
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:34 am UTC

Etymologically, poetry is something "made" or "composed". I think, therefore, that the proper distinction between poetry and non-poetry is akin to the distinction between art and non-art: it is in the presentation and/or reception of it. What makes something art in general is its being presented or received with the intent of invoking some kind of feeling: this is why something one person considers a purely practical creation may be received by others as art (many traditional or indigenous crafts), or perfectly ordinary things may be found and presented in such a way as to make them art (much photography, and "found art" exhibits).

What is art is thus subjective based on the intent of both the artist and the audience: someone may put an ordinary rock on a pedestal in a gallery and call it art, but if I am completely unmoved by it then it is not art to me; yet it may be to the next person who finds that fascinating for whatever reason. What make art "good art" is likewise subjective: art is good to the extent that it invokes the feeling intended, so if someone sets up an exhibit intended to disgust and dismay people and it does so, the audience may consider it horrible art if they didn't intend to have those feelings invoked, but the artist and his cohort may consider it wonderful art, as it successfully invoked the feelings in the audience that they intended it to.

(I do have more to say here on one sense by which art may be considered objectively good or bad - by whether it invokes the right feelings about the right things, imparting truths or good values or inspiring curiosity or moral concern, in short making the right statements or raising the right questions - but that's a long tangent I'll leave out here).

Poetry is art in the medium of words per se. It is words arranged in some way to invoke a feeling in and of themselves, by their sounds when spoken or their arrangement in print (and these would be different media, as the spoken word and the written word are not of course identical). Unpoetic writing may also be artistic in a way, but it uses the words themselves in a utilitarian way, for their meaning and function, to convey literal ideas, and those ideas may then be the medium of some other form of art. So a story (be it truth or fiction) can be art, but a story per se is never poetry -- though it might be conveyed through poetry in the narration, and it may be in part about or contain poetry in the dialogue; the media can be mixed of course, and often are.

Even if a story is not told through poetry, the use of the words to convey the ideas that compose it may still be skillful or unskillful: they may get in the way of a smooth reception of the ideas which are the medium the story is built of, or they may ease their reception and get out of the way. But unless the words themselves, devoid of the ideas they convey, add something aesthetic to the work, then it is not poetry. And even if the words do not convey any ideas, but are themselves arranged in some aesthetically pleasing way, then they are poetry -- see Jabberwocky or any other nonsense poem from Wonderland, for instance.
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stag019
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby stag019 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:58 am UTC

Long time reader of xkcd, registered because of this comic (I've wanted to register for a while now, but wanted the right comic to do it).

I have recently oh-too-many-a-times googled for the answer to a problem, only to be greeted with a forum poster posting "google for it", as many of you have already pointed out. If I were to ever own a message board again, that would be against the rules. As would "Nevermind. I fixed it." without an explanation.

Also I've read these forums for a while now, and I notice almost every comic thread has someone posting "registered on the forums because of this specific comic". In the name of xkcd and statistical data, someone(s) should find out what comics inspired the most new registrations, and which inspired the least.

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Invertin » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

That feeling when you have nothing relevant to add to the comic itself other than "me too"
and the only reason you're logging in at all
is because you have a GCSE in english

I just wanted to point out that there is no strict order or definition to what a poem is, it just depends on the author, and then leave.

Although with relevance to the comic, I like to pirate a lot of games in order to play them before I buy them, and that quickly becomes a problem when you run into an error that literally nobody has ever encountered because you are the first person to meet those specific circumstances.

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Samik
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Samik » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

erik65536 wrote: [*]The solution that worked for everyone does not work for you.


I'm occasionally guilty of the opposite of this. I'll be reading a thread about an error, and one of the first posters will suggest a simple fix, but 8 people immediately after him will say "no, that didn't work", so I don't even bother to try it, then spend the next 48 hours tearing my hair out trying anything and everything... before finally going back and trying the first, simple solution, and having it work perfectly.


You'd think I'd learn my lesson.

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neoliminal
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby neoliminal » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:59 pm UTC

erik65536 wrote:Dear People of the Future,



http://bit.ly/sh4nq4
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073YYXRC
Read My Book. Cost less than coffee. Will probably keep you awake longer.
[hint, scary!]

ihsir
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby ihsir » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:03 pm UTC

Just like stag019, I've read these forums for years, yet this one immediately prompted me to register...

Usually when I read the comics, most of them elicit the same type of response like the one girl from Scrubs who doesn't laugh at any jokes but says, "That's funny..." Sometimes the topics are over my head but still good, sometimes I get the topic and I think it is clever, and sometimes I subtly smile and think to myself, "That's funny."

This comic is remarkably relevant because it can happen to most anyone, not just geeky types or programmer types...
Upon reading, my response was a short, sharp exhalation with the internal monologue: "Wow, that's funny! I've got to register and post a comment!"

Randall, you are a genius and I love the way your stick figures come to life and are so relate-able. I wish you'd add a +1 button to the comic pages!

AzaToth
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby AzaToth » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:37 pm UTC

He seems to be active here still: http://stackoverflow.com/users/297981/denvercoder9

RobFreundlich
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby RobFreundlich » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:25 pm UTC

Rory wrote:
RobFreundlich wrote:What's needed to solve this problem is a site where someone who has had a problem and found the solution can write up the problem and its solution, without all of the irrelevant crap. Imagine a "new problem solution" page with fields like this:
...
What do folks think of the idea?

Couldn’t you use StackOverflow and SuperUser for this? They don’t have “short description” or “short answer” fields, but I’ve seen some people post a short version at the top or bottom of their post. They also don’t specifically encourage posting links to other threads, but you could probably post links in the the description or answers or in their comments. The asker can mark an answer as “accepted”. Although those sites have only flat tags, not hierarchical tags, so perhaps that’s a big enough improvement to warrant making a new forum-thread-solution-specific site.


That might work. However, I was thinking of a dedicated site for a few reasons:

1. Consistency of format. You can suggest that people post forum summaries a certain way, but inevitably variations will creep it. Consistency helps with readability and understandability.

2. Signal-to-noise ratio. Finding the one summary among a bunch of related postings could be difficult, whereas a site dedicated to solutions will be all (OK, mostly) signal.

3. Reliability/Reputation. If someone thinks enough of a solution to go to a solution site to post it, the solution is probably a decent one. If enough people post good solutions, the site itself becomes reputable and therefore more people post to it. And it gets better, and that becomes a positive feedback loop.

4. Searchability. A lot of fora require you to register to do any kind of comprehensive search (not sure about StackOverflow, and I don't know SuperUser at all). ProblemSolved (to preemptively coin a name) would not do so.

Regarding hierarchical tags, I'm not sure whether they're beneficial. I tend to think hierarchically, so they work well for me, but the number of people I run into in my job who find tree controls to be confusing (I develop UI for an enterprise software product and see this in both end users and developers) is high enough that I have come to realize I may be nonstandard in my thinking.

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Copper Bezel
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:40 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Even if a story is not told through poetry, the use of the words to convey the ideas that compose it may still be skillful or unskillful: they may get in the way of a smooth reception of the ideas which are the medium the story is built of, or they may ease their reception and get out of the way. But unless the words themselves, devoid of the ideas they convey, add something aesthetic to the work, then it is not poetry. And even if the words do not convey any ideas, but are themselves arranged in some aesthetically pleasing way, then they are poetry -- see Jabberwocky or any other nonsense poem from Wonderland, for instance.

Yeah, and you could add to that that a particular passage or a particular technique in a piece of prose that rests on poetic devices is itself still "poetry", regardless of the context. It's not a metaphor when someone calls a piece of prose "poetic." It's just an assessment of the "composedness" at the word, phoneme, or character level.
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