[racket-dev] guidelines on error messages -- please send feedback

From: Shriram Krishnamurthi (sk at cs.brown.edu)
Date: Fri Jun 3 20:34:05 EDT 2011

> Oh, I'm all in favor of skipping "identifier".   But using the word
> "variable" both for global variables (i.e. constants) and for
> function parameters strikes me as asking for confusion.

Okay.  We have no evidence one way or the other.  It could be
something we try to investigate.  Given our observation (for other
terms) that fine-grained distinctions actually cause more confusion
than help, I am not at all ready to buy your argument.  Moreover, I
have also come to distrust arguments from pure reason in this area.

> Is the "x" in "f(x)" indeed consistently called a "variable" in high
> school math classes?   Or do they also use words like "parameter" or
> "argument"?

There is no consistency across books.  We do know that many math books
and educators use "variable".  In addition, we have not run into
either Bootstrap or college students who had trouble with the term
"variable".  It's also a term I hear from people who studied in other
countries (so is "parameter", but much less so "argument").  That's
why we chose it.


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