Site Discussion

see history of things i started (vs. commented on)?

i'm looking for an old discussion but can't find it, i think i could better find it if i could restrict results by the name of the starter of the topic. but i don't see a way to do that?

indentation yet again?

is there any thought about how to replace the currently too-much-indenting style ui with something more friendly to long discussions?

the "unread" marker issue

i figure this has come up before, but i'd like to note that it is frustrating to reply to something on a page and lose all of the *** reminders of what i haven't read on that page.

Ward's Wiki

Recently doing research into Wiki's, I've gained a renewed appreciation for the discussion that went on (and still goes on somewhat...) in Ward Cunningham's original Wiki dedicated to pattern discussions. Topics are organized by topic using Wiki words, and there is usually a vibrant discussion that goes on in the page. These discussions are sort of hard to follow since the wiki doesn't have built-in support for discussion threading. On the other hand, discussions are expected to be refactored into the body of the topic's documented by the community. Wikipedia refines this concept a bit by having a talk page behind every document (they are separate but connected).

LtU on the other hand, is more like a newsgroup: you can post a forum topic, but the body of the topic is rarely edited (if only to make corrections) after the topic is started. The discussion is not re-factored into the body of the topic, while some topics are repeatedly revived in slightly different ways and cannot be consolidated into one discussion because refactoring isn't supported. Some topics act kind of like articles, but content is necessarily added as comments since only the owner of the topic can edit the body.

So what's my point? Obviously Ward's wiki is not as popular as it used to be, while LtU is a growing community. Is this because what people actually want are forums and not wiki's? I see a lot of value in the wiki approach myself, and would like my so-called cake and eat it to (that is to say wiki topics with threaded discussions and refactoring).

Anyways just a thought.

Naive Question? Definition of "Higher Order"

The more papers I read, the more I see the term "higher order" applied to seemingly anything. We have HO (high order) programming, HO programming languages, HO functions, HO modules. Those readily come to mind, although I am confident I can find other applications of HO to other terms in computer science.

So what *is* the exact meaning of "higher order." Does it have one precise definition? Or maybe one broader, generally applicable definition? Or is the term simply misused?

Thanks much.


Quotation suggestion doesn't work

It's currently not possible to suggest a quotation, as the CGI isn't found.

Proposing a LtU twitter (news) feed ...

At least, directing the LtU-blog's RSS-feed ( to Twitter, e.g. via a service like TwitterFeed (, would be a nice extension.

Best wishes,

Usability and Human Factors tags

I am skeptical about this idea getting approved, and even then further skeptical of it actually being used, but I think that LtU could benefit from some extra tags. In particular, Usability/Human Factors would be a nice tag to have, perhaps breaking it into two tags: Human Factors (Real Usability) and Wadler's Law :)

In addition, I think forum old timers are complaining quite a bit lately about stuff being "off-topic". Rather than try to plaster the problem with a Rules&Regulations document, the best way to solve this problem is through some sort of "network of trust". Currently, a network of trust already exists. The old timers trust the moderators to make the right front page content choices. However, some stuff is "maybe off-topic" and others are "definitely off-topic". Moderators could tag things with such, and old-timers can have their newsreaders set-up to filter out definitely off-topic and maybe even maybe off-topics.

Tracker + spill page = fail

When I follow a link to a comment on the tracker page and the comment has spilled to a second page (as on this page), the tracker's comment link takes me to the first page of the story, not the spill page.

Random Topics

While spam is a Bad Thing, it occasionally has the effect of drawing my attention to a page that I've never seen before, bringing old topics to the front for some fresh attention.

The current design of Lambda the Ultimate makes it quite difficult to locate old topics. The use of Search helps if you already have a topic in mind, but if your mind is at all like mine then you often browse LtU hoping only to find the topics at the top of the heap interesting rather than knowing in advance your destination.

I suggest adding support for bringing random topics to the top of that heap.

The possibility my mind seems to be stuck on is adding to the 'Active forum topics' and 'New forum topics' a third column entitled 'Random forum topics' that includes five random topics.

If the idea is accepted, these topics could be chosen randomly on a periodic basis (so everyone sees the same five random topics), and perhaps on a rotating basis (e.g. each of the five topics rotates off the top and a new random topic is injected periodically at the bottom). Alternatively, they could be random on a per-view basis. Some experimentation here is possible.

Are there other thoughts on this possibility?

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