[gmx-developers] FW: Gromacs quotes

Raf Ponsaerts raf.ponsaerts at med.kuleuven.be
Thu Dec 20 16:54:04 CET 2012

Since the quotes are mostly composed out of natural language, they often
can be interpreted in different ways and may trigger non-intended
emotions. The response towards a quote probably depends on the
background (cultural, educational, ...), personality and mindset of the
reader. A quote may get another interpretation and can become offensive
in time as well, while this was unintended.

The fact that quotes are included, even by default, makes gmx distinct
of commercial software for similar purposes.

In my opinion, the quotes should be printed by default!  
You should not block a television channel (besides non X-rated perhaps)
by default because there is one program that you do not like (I do
seriously consider blocking the 'God'-channel...). But, if you don't
like the television program, you zap to another channel or stop watching
TV. You cannot claim that that the television channel stops broadcasting
because you have issues with one or more television programs.

Indeed, a reference could be added toward the manual (Quotes section?)
in which you can state the intentions of the quotes (humor,
non-offensive, ...) and where you provide the GMX_NO_QUOTES flag


On Thu, 2012-12-20 at 15:21 +0100, Bogdan Costescu wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM, Tsjerk Wassenaar <tsjerkw at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I don't think the particular discussion is important in the context of
> > gromacs. It's being made much more than it's worth.
> I would actually like to question how much is it worth. So let me ask
> a few "why" questions:
> - why were the quotes introduced ?
> - why was the default to print them ?
> - why continue to keep them ?
> There were only 3 brief answers in this thread to the first question:
> David van der Spoel: "Does it have a purpose? It can put a smile on
> someone's face."
> Justin Lemkul: "I'm a big fan of witty quips, though :)"
> Mark Abraham: "...I'm all up for bringing an occasional smile to a face..."
> To me these reasons are not enough to make it worth arguing about
> offensiveness and other attributes of these quotes. Applying the
> principle of least surprise would mean to disable printing them by
> default. Document that they can be enabled by an envvar and add to
> that documentation a warning that they can be offensive/politically
> incorrect/etc. This way, only those who make the step to enable them
> will see them. Opt in rather than opt out. Someone mentioned earlier
> that they use quotes at login; this used to be widely spread years
> ago. Nowadays though this is no longer the default, you have spend
> some effort to add it. So why not applying the same principle to
> Cheers,
> Bogdan

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