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

From: Eli Barzilay (eli at barzilay.org)
Date: Fri Jun 3 21:32:54 EDT 2011

An hour ago, Shriram Krishnamurthi wrote:
> > * ... somewhat anthropomorphically ...
> >
> >      See second item in the guidelines, apply reflection.
> Are you referring to the "concise and clear" bullet?  Can you make
> your point less obliquely?

I was referring to:

  Students give up reading [...] if the text [...] uses obscure words

At the teacher/programmer the vocabulary is larger, but still
"anthropomorphically" is a good demonstration for carrying this
principle to the meta level of your guidelines readers.

> > * variable -> identifier
> >
> >      (-0.52 because I can see it leaking out of the SLs)
> Do you mean identifier -> variable?


> At any rate, we're pretty set on this one, perhaps more so than just
> about any other edit.

[I don't have any SL objections, just dislike the idea of popularizing
the term.  Especially when it's bowing to popular terminology from HS
math and/or HS CS.  (In Hebrew there are two terms, one corresponds to
"variable" and the other is roughly "unknown".)]

> > * do not write `' around keyword
> >
> >      This can work only in a limited context, where you use
> >      colors/font/etc or you know that there is no keyword in your
> >      world that can be confused with text like `like'.   Perhaps
> >      it would be a hook to start using some unicode things?   <x>
> >      «x » ?x?
> Perhaps, but the <...> notation is actually confusing.  We have some
> evidence for this.  So, while we're open to ideas, we think the
> current notation is not quite working.

I'm talking about 〈x〉, not <x>.  In any case, that's also a case
where I don't have a strong concrete objection, just vaguely worried
that the style will slowly drift over to error messages that *do* need
the extra information.

          ((lambda (x) (x x)) (lambda (x) (x x)))          Eli Barzilay:
                    http://barzilay.org/                   Maze is Life!

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