Talk:Eiffel (programming language)/Archive 1

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Older comments (2004 or so?)

This all reads a bit like advertising copy for the ISE commercial product. Is there someone out there who actually knows Eiffel, but also knows something else and can give a more realistic appraisal. (Yes, it does look like a nice language, but there are other nice languages, and this stuff is just over the top.) -- Geronimo Jones. (This comment is now largely obsolete due to much work on the page. Thanks guys.) -- Geronimo Jones.

I have taken out a lot of preachiness in the recent changes to the "fascism" section and tried to make it more factual; however, it was so absurd to begin with (and I am such an Eiffel advocate) that it may require more work.

Also, I removed unsubstantiated and inflamatory claims that Eiffel compilers are somehow "smarter" than C++ compilers. The discussion of moving runtime analysis to compile time presumably refers to the SmartEiffel compiler's ability to devirtualize method calls, and even to inline dynamically dispatched methods. However, this alone (while clever) is no great compiler breakthrough---Self and Smalltalk have had devirtualization for years---and it certainly doesn't allow SmartEiffel to claim that it's "smarter" than C++ compilers (some of which, in fact, can also do some devirtualization). On the contrary, SmartEiffel produces C code, and therefore leaves all the difficult aspects of compilation to the C++ compiler (eg. optimization, register assignment, etc.).

For what it's worth, I think the section Elegance, simplicity, or fascism? is really silly. There are a variety of languages that are simple and more high-level than C, and these comments could apply to any one of them. Moreover, "clever coding tricks" are not what I'd call optimization hints to the compiler; they are hand-optimizations. Finally, "Eiffel seeks to produce a quality software system over anything else" seems to imply that other languages are not designed for this purpose, which is silly — even C was not designed primarily for performance. Fascism is pretty over-the-top too — I dare anyone to design a "fascist" language. I'm seriously considering deleting this whole section, if there are no objections. Deco 21:13, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree. The section is a sales pitch. Eiffel leans more toward clarity (over efficiency for example) than many other languages, but this section as it stands doesn't explain that very well. There are probably a couple of nuggets in that section that could be reworked into the article a different way, but on the whole I think the article would be improved by this section's deletion. --Doradus 14:38, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
Really, this article needs a serious cleanup. The trouble is, I have found that computer science articles don't stay cleaned up for long. Well-meaning CS people come along and add in their opinions, seemingly unaware that they are not objective facts. That's why I have turned my attention more towards science and astronomy articles lately. :-) --Doradus 14:40, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Pure OO

In the section where it is claimed that Eiffel is pure OO, it introduces control structures that are not in any way object oriented. I'm not a purist or formalist, but if you claim a language to be pure OO, "special form" control structures like loops and ifs should be replaced by message sends (like in Smalltalk). This page really is a sales ad!

Yeah, the claim of "pure OO" is meaningless, as everyone has different ideas of what constitutes purity. Probably the fact all Eiffel types are classes (even INTEGER and NONE) contributed to this claim, but as you say, there are different dimensions of purity. --Doradus 18:33, Dec 13, 2004 (UTC)

The loop example is silly, it would be better to show an example using the COLLECTION interface or at least *even* an example of that, since you almost always use that interface which is available in every kind of sequence/list/array/data structure.

Have one question -- what is "x." you've used there? I'm not guru in Eiffel, but can you explain this for me? Why should this be placed in the article if this isn't clear? May it is better to use simple examples? -- Kolesnikov P.A. (ru-wiki) 17 June 2006
I guess that the x. is a typo, it has no mean in Eiffel syntax. Whereas x is a reference to an instance of a class that inherits from TRAVERSABLE[G] (in the eiffel base). Momet 16:33, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
That's clear for me now that "x." has no meaning. But said "inherits form class in the Eiffel Base" -- you restricted that example only for those implementations with Eiffel Base. IMHO, that are ISE Eiffel and Visual Eiffel. Am I right in that? And SmartEiffel hasn't this class at all. --Kolesnikov Paul
I think I made a mistake, it's not TRAVERSABLE in the EiffleBase (from ISE), I guess it has to inherit from LINEAR, but don't trust me... There is something very similar in SmartEiffel, and it is ITERATOR, see this documentation for more informations Momet


The article began like this: "Eiffel is a reflective, object-oriented programming language[...]" Eiffel is not reflective. I don't know where did that come from, but Eiffel is a statically typed, *compiled* language (it's usually compiled to C). The runtime system includes a garbage collector (usually mark-and-sweep) and not much else. Of course this doesn't mean one cannot write an implementation of Eiffel which provides facilities for reflection, but I haven't heard of such an attempt and it would be against the "nature" of Eiffel, as far as I can tell. Maybe we are talking about a different kind of reflection? Regarding programming languages it usually has the meaning defined at the famous [[1]] but Eiffel is famous for inventing their own terms for everything (features instead of methods, etc).

Compiled languages can be reflective. There is no requirement that reflection has to be at runtime. Read Reflection (computer science) for more information. - DNewhall


Out of curiosity for the language I just read this entry, and I have got to say, though the author(s) clearly have been trying to be objective it is quite a biased account. The neutrality of the article feels very superficial, and the tone of the contents is clearly that of an ardent advocate. I had no preconceptions of the language but after reading the article I find myself slightly put off from Eiffel simply from the subtextual bias present the text. -- Mikademus

The group of people who have contributed to this article tend to be a self-selecting group of people who like the language, and may not even be aware of the biases we have inserted. We welcome any assistance in identifying the biased portions. --Doradus 17:56, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

It is difficult to point out specific things since the entire text emits a promotional air, not overtly, but undeniably there. It goes to the credit of the authors, however, that much effort has obviously been spent on trying to retain NPOV. Nonetheless, one salient thing is the "contra-sed contra" argumentation style prevalent in the text. To provide one example from early in the article:

"Eiffel intentionally limits stylistic expression, providing few means for clever coding tricks or coding techniques intended as optimization hints to the compiler. Some software developers feel constrained by Eiffel's simplicity and compiler-enforced structure; the language has been referred to as a "bondage and discipline" language.

In contrast, others feel that the simplicity of the language not only makes the code more readable, but also allows a programmer to concentrate on the important aspects of a program without getting bogged down in implementation details. Eiffel's simplicity is intended to promote simple, readable, usable, reusable, reliable and correct answers to computing problems. Eiffel seeks to produce a quality software system over anything else."

Though neutral by definition, the entire phrase "Some software developers feel constrained by Eiffel's simplicity and compiler-enforced structure" is designed as a counter-argument in itself, and the entire following paragraph is in turn a defence, then turns the table on the antagonist to show that the alledged weaknesses are really strengths, before finally, ending in close to pure promotion for the greatness of Eiffel. Again, I know nothing at all about the Eiffel language, but I do know marketing (even subconscious such).

This style is recurrant in the article, and, though from good intentions, is more reminescent of sales talk than encyclopaedic treatment or dispassionate analysis. Hope this helps!
Mikademus 21:04, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

I think the sentence fragment that reads "which emphasizes the production of robust software" is questionable. It would be better (more accurate/NPV) to change this to something along the lines of "emphasises the production of software which is provable correct to a formal specification". Esp. given the Eiffel tendency to fail hard on contract breaches at the expense of absolute robustness.

Thrown away Principles?

Does anyone know what exactly are these 'thrown away' principles?

This standard is not accepted by the SmartEiffel team, which has decided to create its own version of the language,
because they think the ECMA standard throws away important principles of the original language. Eiffel Software and
Gobo have committed to implementing the standard. Object Tools has not to date expressed a position.

--rolandog 02:08, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


What's wrong with starting a sentence with "begun"? --Doradus 19:57, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

What code formatting convention should be used?

The font conventions and in particular the use of blue for program texts are part of Eiffel's style conventions. Whatever rules are applied in the descriptions of other languages are not applicable here. Thanks for respecting the specific rules for Eiffel. B-Meyer 17:18, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

That colour and style use would demand a short note before the first code example mentioning this. Also, in the discussion following or surrounding the text, the normal computer code tag should be used since using blue text in caps in body text makes the article look garsish, difficult to read, unencyclopedic and deviates from the wikipedia style guide. Also, it probably won't carry to a possible printed edition. So sure, go wild with idiomatic colours in code examples but use the conventional black-in-<code> style in the text. Mikademus 17:38, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I am applying it at the moment (include <code>), but I think that using black in the text would be confusing — the connection with the code extracts then disappears. Changing to code fonts, although this is not done in Eiffel documentation, should make the mix look less "garish" to you.
I think the blue text is improper for this article because A) it's easily confused for a link and B) no other article uses it. - DNewhall 21:10, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

These idiosyncratic blue fonts should really be removed. It doesn't make any difference what Eiffel's own documentation uses for formatting conventions: this is an article on Wikipedia, which has its own set of typographic (and other) style conventions. There would be a case for exact colors (well, as exact as web rendering can be) if this were on Color Forth or the like: i.e. something where colors are part of the actual program semantics. But that is not true of Eiffel. LotLE×talk 19:41, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I appreciate the desire for consistency, but faithfulness to the subject matter should always supersede other criteria. Let me again ask you not to redefine Eiffel. The font conventions are part of the language rules. Eiffel is not just a programming language; it is a certain way of thinking about software and describing it. In particular, it is a language for publication of programs. B-Meyer 21:38, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
If the use of blue fonts is idiomatic to Eiffel code I for one have no issues with a blue colour being used in the code examples. Examples are just that: examples of language structure, grammar and style. Thus, though other may disagree with me, I personally find the blue colour appropriate if it is as is claimed, a convention used by the majority of the Eiffel community. However, I would for several reasons strongly recommend the blue to be removed from the bread text: first of all it does break with wikipedia style and will cause a lot of negative reaction from many readers and editors. Secondly it does in fact make the article a bit garish and distracting. Thirdly, colours in the text does not contribute anything, the point is already made in the code examples. Finally, as has been stated above, it is somewhat confusing because they blue passages as suggestive of hyperlinks. Look at this artificial paragraph I cut together from the article (note that I have link underlining turned off, as have many others too):
The concepts of Design by Contract are central to Eiffel. The keyword in that case is no longer require but require else.
All wikipedia programming articles follow the convention of black-in-<code> for keywords etc discussed in the text. That this article should not will ruffle feathers and is, above all, unnessesary and superfluous. When I look at a painting I want to see the colours. When I read a critical review of it I do not want it written in matching colours. Also, think about the wether to use bold and italics in the text, the current libera use, while mirroring the constructs in the code examples, are again if not confusing then at elast contributing to the garishness. Just plain, unadorned code will do in the text regardless of example formatting. Mikademus 22:17, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Adding another note when on the topic, every so often there are links inside code-tags, like #include <iostream>. Considering that, I assume you see the unreasonableness of colouring the text itself. Mikademus 22:35, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Two things, first the statement "Let me again ask you not to redefine Eiffel. The font conventions are part of the language rules." by Dr. Meyer is incorrect. Quoting the ECMA standard : "The color-related parts of these conventions do not affect the language definition, which remains unambiguous under black-and-white printing (thanks to the letter-case and font parts of the conventions). Color printing is recommended for readability." So color printing is NOT part of the standard for any other reason besides formatting of text. If this is to be considered part of the standard then we also have to use BNF to describe everything because that is defined in the standard. Second, while Eiffel is defined as a specification language too a quick look at the title of this article shows the text "Eiffel programming language". - DNewhall 23:00, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

The ECMA text that yo cite precisely confirms that this is the way Eiffel text should read. That text is in fact saying the same as the Wikipedia rules: semantics should not depend on color. On the other hand, color should be used to reinforce semantics, in a consistent way.

Until I and another person started working on the Eiffel article a few weeks ago it was a disgrace, full of inaccuracies and opinions, with almost no factual information on the language (a single code extract, "Hello world", and poorly written at that!). Apparently that was not a reason to complain. Now that we are devoting our time to producing a good article with the same standards of quality as a scientific publication we are being heckled by people who only care about enforcing some font commonality.

I wonder if you realize the harm that you are doing to Wikipedia by harassing the designer of the very technology that the article describes. Maybe I am naive or pretentious, but I would assume that such a contribution by the original author should be enjoyed rather than heckled down. If you want to turn away such contributors, and get to the level of soc.culture discussions, this is exactly the way to go. I don't assume that's the case, so please correct errors of substance if you find any (I make no claims of perfection) and in the meantime respect the conventions and rules of the topic being addressed. Thanks. B-Meyer 23:32, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the Wikipedia warning against autobiography, WP:AUTO, is there for a fairly good reason. While this article is not autobiography per se, I would suggest that the chief architect of the language should take a step back from too much emotional investment. It's hard to have a good NPOV distance from a topic you are so close to. We appreciate the great help you've given to this article, Bertrand—and indeed, I appreciate that you've created an interesting and well-thought programming language. I see you've also made contribution to a number of other related article topics. But an encyclopedia takes its own values as primary: this isn't an advertising pamphlet for Eiffel, and neither is it the official documentation that your company produces. But most especially, nothing you write here is anything that you have any more ownership in that does every other Wikipedia editor.
The typographic issue is somewhere in the middle of where the content's conventions intersect with the conventions of Wikipedia. For example, I've worked on the Python programming language article, and think it would be utterly foolish to say that Python code examples should not use that language community's traditional "spam" and "eggs" meta-variables because most programming language articles use "foo" and "bar" or "x" and "y". At the other extreme, many commercial products (in software, or in completely unrelated areas)—or for that matter, many religions or other beliefe systems—use a set of jargon intended to create a positive impression of the product. Wikipedia absolutely should not adopt the "feel" of the way marketers talk about their particular product (mentioning the usage, sure; but not adopting it). I think in the end the best solution will be one suggested above: use the Eiffel-style code coloration for block examples, but use Wikipedia style for inline examples (and make sure the unusual block example style is explained in the text). But I'll wait for some more opinion, and check some other usages. LotLE×talk 01:12, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Bertrand, I, along with others, deeply appreciate you personally investing time in this article. Being the architect of the language there are innumerable contributions you can make. So please don't make this discussion about you. Wikipedia is about cooperation, collective ownership and shared responsibility, and its most dangerous enemy is Ego, as we see in many articles. Risking preaching to the choire, since I know you as a WP advocate, it must be said that above all Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and characteristic for encyclopedias are on the one hand accurate representation of the subject, and on the other hand a dispassionate and to other articles stylistically consistent treatment of it. No-one here will object to the code snippets being formatted according to your doxa, but taking that into the article text is not "stylistic accomodation", it is, as has been shown, confusing, idiosyncratic and disparate. You love your language and I respect you for your work; I and many wikiminions love wikipedia and I wish you would respect us for our dilligence. Also, since you desire to produce an article of scientific caliber, then why are you surprised at receiving peer review? What separates Wikipedia articles from paper ones is that here you get immediate feedback while the article is written. As for submitting to stylistic regulations, that should hardly be something new. My psychology articles have been written to the APA (American Psychologist Association) standard, from which any significant deviations are criticised. You know that when submitting articles to journals they must generally be written to that journals' specifications. Conforming to rigid standards is something I personally dislike but is a battle not worth fighting because the message can principally be made regardless of form. The alternative here is entrenched battle and the Eiffel article suffering, which really seems quite unnecessary since we are on the same side here... Mikademus 09:06, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm a little uncomfortable with departing from the house Wikipedia style for code samples. But I think it'd be a reasonable compromise to retain colored text in the block samples, while sticking to black text for inline samples. --Allan McInnes (talk) 19:47, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Data points

Looking at "the rest of the world" I find (LotLE×talk):

1 Symbols of BNF-E itself, such as the vertical bars | signaling a choice production, appear in black (non-bold, non-italic).
2 Any construct name appears in dark green (non-bold, non-italic), with a first letter in upper case, as Class.
3 Any component (Eiffel text element) appears in blue.
4 The double quote, one of Eiffel's special symbols, appears in productions as ' " ': a double quote character (blue like other Eiffel text) enclosed in two single quote characters (black since they belong to BNF-E, not Eiffel).
5 All other special symbols appear in double quotes, for example a comma as ",", an assignment symbol as ":=", a single quote as "'" (double quotes black, single quote blue).
6 Keywords and other reserved words, such as class and Result, appear in bold (blue like other Eiffel text). They do not require quotes since the conventions avoid ambiguity with construct names: Class is the name of a construct, class a keyword.
7 Examples of Eiffel comment text appear in non-bold, non-italic (and in blue), as -- A comment.
8 Other elements of Eiffel text, such as entities and feature names (including in comments) appear in non-bold italic (blue).
The color-related parts of these conventions do not affect the language definition, which remains unambiguous under black-and-white printing (thanks to the letter-case and font parts of the conventions). Color printing is recommended for readability.

Welcome to Dr. Meyer and a warning

I have long observed that brilliant innovators have difficulty joining a community. Some here may recall the Carl Hewitt case where he tried to promote his Actor model here and eventually decided to leave Wikipedia instead.

There is no question that Dr. Meyer is a brilliant innovator, and his contributions to the article on Eiffel are certainly welcome, provided that he can work with the community. No matter how brilliant he is, no matter how valuable his contributions, if he does not respect the community and most importantly the process of reaching consensus then he will have to go.

The characterizations of feedback to his edits as "heckling" are unfair. Experienced Wikipedia editors know more about Wikipedia conventions than Dr. Meyer does. While Dr. Meyer is of course the expert on the Eiffel programming language, he needs to recognize that he has much to learn about the Wikipedia way of doing things.

Brilliant innovators generally aren't humble. But working in a community requires humility. Wikipedia would benefit from Dr. Meyer's participation, but the Eiffel article is one out of over a million. No matter how brilliant Dr. Meyer is, if he can't take a little "heckling" he doesn't belong here.

--Ideogram 09:01, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

You don't seem to be the kind of person who knows anything about humility. B-Meyer 15:32, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I tried to give you advice. You aren't listening. --Ideogram 15:50, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Ideogram, you do come through as unnecessarily harsh. I do agree with the principles you posit but surely there are better ways of putting it? There is a difference between being right and being confrontative about it. We still haven't seen that Meyers can't work with the community, so innocent until proven guilty, m'kay? Mikademus 16:03, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I would indeed feel bad if I was the one to drive Dr. Meyer away. But I did try to be polite in my warning. I called Dr. Meyer a brilliant innovator, what, half a dozen times? He seems to be offended that I suggested he needed some humility. Calling other Wikipedia editors "hecklers" is just unacceptable from anyone, no matter how brilliant they are.
I don't know how better to put it. Dr. Meyer doesn't make the rules here. Experienced Wikipedia editors know the rules here, and if Dr. Meyer refuses to learn from them then this isn't going to work. --Ideogram 16:39, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
After seeing that he just tried to revert all his edits and instruct future editors that they have no right to include them I feel slightly inclined to retract my "still haven't seen that Meyers can't work with the community" comment. That was a very silly and small thing of him to do. Still, I must admit to having been silly and childish so I won't judge him, and I still hope he will try to work with the community to create a good article. I realise that it must feel very difficult to have to adjust a treatment of one's own creation together with what must be considered as relative novices, but on the other hand, one has much less control still over the contents in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Mikademus 17:11, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Yielding to the mob

This article is a disgrace. It says very little about the language; what it does say is mostly inaccurate, written by people who took a 5-minute look at Eiffel. I corresponded with a few of them who admitted they knew next to nothing about it but consider themselves Wikipedia vigilantes who want all the articles to look the same, and do not care about the contents.

In August 2006 I set out to write a clear, precise, factual description of the Eiffel language. I was soon heckled down by a coalition of the kind of people cited above.

I still have not come to terms with the idea that dozens of people know a technology better than the person who created it and has devoted 20 years of his life to developing it. The only analogy I can think of is "Sofia Petrovna" by Lidia Chukovskaia -- read it to understand the incoming nightmare.

This is the worst fear of the Wikipedia skeptics coming true: mob rule, proud of its arrogant incompetence. I will move the text to a place where it is free from interference from the vandals.

B-Meyer 15:31, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Goodbye and good riddance. --Ideogram 15:50, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Let's be nicer, Ideogram!
Being nice is important, but we cannot let Dr. Meyer operate under the illusion that we need him more than he needs us. Any editor with that attitude is a problem editor. --Ideogram 17:05, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes of course... but good editors grow from the seeds of problem editors, if given proper water and nutrition. LotLE×talk 17:18, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Bertrand has indeed fallen into a bit of a pitfall that a lot of experts do when trying to cooperate in Wiki style on matters close to them. It's hard for newbies to fully understand WP:OWN and WP:AUTO (Dr. Meyer had a small number of contributions some months back, but essentially is a newbie since his real contributions are all in the last few days). Remember WP:BITE.
But I absolutely do not wish Bertrand "good riddance"... I hope he takes a short break, and tries working a bit on some articles he is less close to personally. I am sure there are many topics about which he is highly knowledgeable without them being his personal creation. For example, I think the writing on Covariance and contravariance (computer science) could definitely stand improvement. Or perhaps the article on Lydia Chukovskaya could be better. After a bit of work somewhere else, I am certain Bertrand would gain a better feel of the "wiki way". And even if he decides not to work further on Wikipedia, Bertrand's contributions so far have been valuable, and form a great basis for further article improvement... and I thank him for these efforts. LotLE×talk 16:03, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Wow, that was quick arrival at the blanket definition of wikipedians as a proudly ignorant mob. It is a shame you feel that way since this means you're leaving an important first reference on Eiffel to that very mob. Frankly, the disputes on this page are nothing, and compared to the bitter battles of Academia it is lighthearted banter. Of course it must feel ankward to come to a place where one isn't given reflexive deference, but does that mean one should quit the field as soon as people fail to genuflect? Of course, there might be more to it than what's found on this talk page, but I know nothing of that, and calling what's found here "heckling" and "mob rule", especially given that no-one has interfered with the edits undertaken by Bertrand Meyers, is overdramatic in the extreme. Mikademus 16:18, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

This is too bad. Dr Meyer is an excellent writer who would doubtless have enhanced the article tremendously. I can't say I blame him for being frustrated: I've also been known to give up trying to improve some articles that have a particularly "active" group of editors that make contributing a chore. The "good riddance" comment is definitely against Wikipedia policy. There's no circumstance where that kind of is warranted, no matter what "illusion" he was operating under. Having said that, Dr Meyer's outburst at the top if this section seems to show his ignorance of how this place works. I'm just glad he contributed a substantial amount of well-written text on Eiffel before he bolted, and I hope his absence is temporary. --Doradus 17:53, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Language mechanisms description

The description of Eiffel language mechanisms is now available at

Please note that it is copyrighted. The aim of copyrighting it is not to prevent other people from using it (with permission), but to ensure that the integrity of the description is preserved. I am of course happy to change the contents on the basis of comments from people who understand the subject matter. B-Meyer

You are, of course, perfectly free to use this GFDL material wherever else you wish. But blanking the content is way uncool. Just because you are primary creator of it, that gives you absolutely no legal, ethical, or intellectual right to remove content that way. When you released the content as GFDL, you RELEASED it[*]. Ultimately, if you continue to attempt to disrupt Wikipedia out of some sort of WP:POINT, you'll wind up blocked from editing. Which would be a great shame, since it would be wondeful to have you as a contributor here... just as long as you can bracket the ego concerns a bit, and think about the goals of an encyclopedia. LotLE×talk 18:28, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
[*]Technically, of course, GFDL is not an assignation of copyright, but simply a broad permission for reuse, republication, and creation of derived works. In a very narrow sense, your contributions retain your copyright; but given that what you blanked was not simply your work, but also reflected the (smaller) contribution of other editors, the joint derivative work must retain GFDL (I myself made trivial, but copyrightable, improvements interpersed with yours, for example)
Hmmm... there's an interesting point about the link you give. I see that it includes at least one small change made by me: namely a fix of a mismatched variable name. This might well fall below the level of copyrightability, since the change is functional rather than expressive (perhaps). But combined works must retain GFDL if the individual contributions are each so licensed. Now in this case, you got lucky: I explicitly release all my contributions to the public domain (see my user page to confirm this fact). So in regard to my contribution, you are perfectly free to relicense under different copyright terms; but if anyone else made (even small) changes as GFDL only, you are probably required to retain GFDL on your above-linked mirror. LotLE×talk 18:37, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I am not aware of any such point. As far as I can tell from the history page you made only one change, replacing "my_test" by "my_condition", and there is no "my_condition" in my text -- never was, as this was intended to be "my_test" from the beginning.B-Meyer 18:45, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Here's the diff: [2]. A block code sample used 'my_condition' while the discussion of it that followed used 'my_test'. I made the variables consistent between the two references (I really, really don't care which variable name is used of the two, so I chose one). That's how Wikipedia works: editors cooperate to make text better, each one always releasing the contribution as GFDL. Of course my change wasn't profound or large, but it was an improvement; moreover, you have also blanked a couple slightly larger wording changes by me (and many by Fuchsias, and perhaps a few by other editors). LotLE×talk 20:40, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

What is going on here?

I am flabbergasted at seeing what has happened on this page. You get a contribution from the Eiffel author himself and the minute he starts helping you start shouting at him! And that from people who can't even spell his name right.

Come on, guys, this is a shame. I can relate to the guy's disappointment. And this is the very same person who publicly defended Wikipedia!

Dr. Meyer, please accept my apologies on behalf of the Wikipedia community. We are not all as bad as those.

And to the others: if he wants to remove his contributions let him do so and go away before this turns into more bad publicity for Wikipedia. I don't think we can bring him back in, but at least leave him alone.Necklace 19:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

There is not and never can be a good reason to pretend that anyone has the right to remove their contributions from Wikipedia if they change their minds, in defiance of the GFDL. This would throw into question the entire Open Source movement, which is much more important than Dr. Meyer, or even Wikipedia itself.
Dr. Meyer doesn't understand the Wikipedia rules and thinks he can impose his own. No one contributor is important enough to be able to do that. If you take his side you make a mockery of all the Wikipedia principles of community and consensus. --Ideogram 19:35, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
In what way is it a shame? From what I've read Meyer is an advocate of Wikipedia, and as such should be relatively in the know about the Wikipedia goals and means. Wikipedia is a communal effort and utterly non-heriarchial as well as non-elitist. Experts are extremely valuable but do not have neither more or less power than any other editor, especially not over WP policies. Having no vested interest in Eiffel, from reading --and partaking-- in this article it is rather the good Dr. Meyer who brings a bad name to wikipedia by small-mindedness, presumpteousness, claiming that other editors or commentors (who has not interfered with his edits) are arrogantly incompetent, and trying to claim copyright to edits posted under GFDL. Though I personally think that some debate might have been somewhat harsh it is has not been haressing in any way. Niether is it more unreasonable to expect conformance to Wikipedia styles than to that of any other journal. Mikademus 20:08, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

There is no need to insult people. This is not helping Wikipedia. Necklace 20:48, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Please list the diffs of insults. --Ideogram 21:25, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
The answer is a few lines above, in Mikademus' text: small-minded, presumptous...
For the record: you say that people had "not interfered with his edits". This is incorrect: the origin of the whole thing is the removal of Meyer's layout conventions, without any warning or discussion: [3].Fuchsias 17:29, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I am shocked also: Jimbo's user page states: [4]

Greater involvement by scientists would lead to a "multiplier effect", says Wales. Most entries are edited by enthusiasts, and the addition of a researcher can boost article quality hugely. "Experts can help write specifics in a nuanced way,"

But, when one comes along and adds quality verifiable content he is made to feel heckled and is finally dismissed with "Goodbye and good riddance" because Wikipedians feel that all coding snippets must not be blue?

Hasn't anyone read Ignore_all_rules: "If the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia's quality, ignore them." - It's part of the Wikipedia Trifecta: [5] (along with NPOV and Don't be a dick).

So, the Editors here have violated 2 of the Wikipedia Policy Trifecta (ignore preventative rules, and don't be a dick) and have alienated a good faith, quality, knowledgeable contributer because they prefer non-blue text. Dr. Meyer may have also made the same violations, but he is a newbie. The long-time editors and admins should definitely know better and should be ashamed of their behavior. 00:10, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

That is an excellent point. There were violations all around, but Meyer was a Wikipedia newbie, and we should have cut him some slack. --Doradus 22:59, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Pandering to Dr. Meyer

It's bad enough that people want to ignore the GFDL out of some hero-worship for Dr. Meyer, but now they can't even agree on what version to revert to to satisfy Meyer's selfish desires. Am I the only one opposed to this? --Ideogram 20:13, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

The editing pattern of Necklace certainly looks suspicious. But of course the hero-worship thing is silly and absurd. LotLE×talk 20:41, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Deleting content without explanation is not acceptable. I am protecting the article for now, please explain the GFDL to the people deleting the content, and when you are ready to restore the missing text, drop me a note or place a request at WP:RFPP. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:56, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I would also encourage Mr. Meyer to read WP:AUTO that reads:

You should wait for others to write an article about subjects in which you are personally involved. This applies to articles about you, your achievements, your business, your publications, your website, your relatives, and any other possible conflict of interest.

≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:59, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Legal analysis

The reason I chose that version to revert to is it has none of the copyrighted material at Now, it seems almost certain that he created that page after adding it here but can you prove it? If you can then, by all means, revert it back but there are a few issues regarding the legality of it. Is User:Bertrand Meyer the real Bertrand Meyer and was the article created after adding the material here?

  • If the content was added here before the creation of that article it's GFDL regardless of who User:Bertrand Meyer is.
  • If User:Bertrand Meyer is really Bertrand Meyer and the article was created before he added it here it's GFDL.
  • If User:Bertrand Meyer is not the real Bertrand Meyer and the article was created before it was added here it's a copyright violation.

Now, it is almost 100% obvious that User:Bertrand Meyer is the real deal and the material was added here first but if the real Bertrand Meyer tried some sort of legal action would we be able to conclusively show that he did in fact release it under the GFDL? If you can prove that the article was created before today and that User:Bertrand Meyer is really him he'd have no case but otherwise it's too legally vague for my taste. Plus, the material shouldn't be that hard to add back changed. - DNewhall 21:04, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

It seems pretty tortured to find the alleged violation. Of course, I am sure I never looked at that specific URL prior to it being mentioned here (i.e. later than the changes on WP). Maybe the Wayback Machine would help us. I also have a bunch of emails from Bertrand (with full headers), where we talk about the edit issues. Presumably the fact that the email is sent from domains controlled by the "real" Dr. Meyer is pretty good evidence.
It is a wild and woolly world of publication on the internet. Nevermind this particular case, what if I were to take any random article, publish it on my own website, then claim that my publication was earlier? What might a court do? I suppose they could subpoena my server logs to see if any earlier access occured to the contested documents. Of course, my own web host cycles full logs every month, and only saves statistics. Who knows, maybe they have tape backups. LotLE×talk 21:16, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
It is a very tortured argument for sure, it's just me being anal. If you have emails from him using his real address then we know it's really him.
Regarding your hypothetical, if you were to go through the trouble to persue legal action over something like this then, yes, records would be involved., ISPs contacted, emails checked, etc. However, keep in mind that in court you need to convince the jury that what you say is true so they would need logs showing corroborating what they are saying. - DNewhall 22:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Before or after the creation of the above linked document is immaterial. Assuming that it was BM who added the text --and no-one doubts this, claiming otherwise is just an attempt to befuddle the discussion by planting FUD seeds-- then the additions to WP has been released under GFDL. Mikademus 07:49, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry to butt in, but if you need a "legal" reason, the author has a moral right to withdraw publication which, although not enshrined in US statute, is protected by French copyright law and is generally acknowledged by the Berne Convention. However, as with many cases on Wikipedia, the "logically correct" or "plausibly legal" thing is not necessarily the righteous thing. The legality shouldn't matter; Most of Wikipedia's bad PR comes from people feeling like they got used and abused by the Wikipedia Machine. Is having the text in question (or making some sort of point against Mr. Meyer) worth more? Rewrite it.
Also, I have to note that the following statements I noticed in edit summaries appear to show a misunderstanding of the GFDL:
  • (cur) (last) 12:21, August 22, 2006 Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters (Talk | contribs) (This is very bad behavior, Bertrand: Contributions are released as GFDL, they ARE NOT "yours" in any copyright or ethical sense)
  • (cur) (last) 14:01, August 22, 2006 Ideogram (Talk | contribs) (rv; it's not your material anymore)
Copyright in the material belongs to the author. By contributing to Wikipedia, they only grant a broad license to the general public. This is actually a vital point to the effectiveness of the GFDL, because the author cannot enforce the terms of the license grant if they do not retain legal copyright. Everyone owns their "piece" of Wikipedia, unless they specifically donated their contributions to the public domain. KWH 03:43, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Kwh's analysis is, unfortunately, wholly and entirely wrong (and dangerously so). If we were to follow it, it would be tantamount to shutting down Wikipedia. Explicitly licensing a work on specific terms—as User:Bertrand Meyer did here—under Berne and French law, supercedes otherwise applicable moral rights. This matter is actually quite a bit more important than is this article topic, or than how Meyer feels about the matter, or even that whatever PR might conceivably result. Without the GFDL, or something much like it, there is simply no Wikipedia. If any contributor can retroactive and arbitrarily withdraw any contribution (and thereby any later edit that is ipso facto a derived work), there is no possible way that Wikipedia can ever publish any article on any topic.

Obviously, the GFDL is a license not a copyright assignment. I suppose my edit comment could possibly be read the wrong way, with a bit of coaxing; the obvious reading is the true one. But even if I could have selected a slightly different 50 characters to describe the edit, the fact remains that GFDL does not (and must not) allow retroactive change to licensing terms. For that matter, the editors who blanked content claimed to have a "moral right" not just to Meyer's contributions, but to my contributions as well... what was erased was a jointly derivative work (much more work by Meyer than by me; but non-zero contributions of mine). Like I've said before... that bird ain't gonna fly. LotLE×talk 04:00, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I just said that being "plausibly legal" doesn't matter - that is my argument. And any half-decent lawyer who wanted to win a case could toss off a dozen better reasons why the license grant doesn't apply. But consider the mention of moral rights to be a segue into the matter of whether it is the right thing to do. Can you tell me that Wikipedia is improved by this example? This is not the right way to acquire free content. Meyer's work can and should be removed and rewritten without reference. KWH 04:19, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Without the slightest doubt, Wikipedia is improved by example! The quality of this collective response to a disruption by a "celebrity contributor" has been absolutely exemplary, and one of the strongest examples of the proper functioning of Wikipedia as a collaborative process that I have seen. Acquiring free content by the voluntary contributions of editors, without regard to their outside noteriety or credentials, and without regard to their retroactive wishes to control that content to their own narrow purposes, is at the very heart of Wikipedia and of the very best ideals it exemplifies. Moreover, in practical terms, doing exactly this is the best, quickest and most fruitful way of the ongoing improvment in the quality of Wikipedia. LotLE×talk 04:37, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
That would be nearly true if the person in question had not been bitten so badly. I really don't know them as a "celebrity contributor", and the only example I see here is bad. Like I said, I'm not arguing that they have the right to rescind their license - though they might - I'm arguing that ethics and harmony would be served better if the author's wishes were respected (by rewriting the content), whether the law compels you to or not. It is quite possible if the "experienced" editors took the high road there could be a win-win situation. As it was, it appears as though it were Wikipedia v. Bertrand Meyer - Wikipedia wins, hooray! However, if you are certain that everything was done for the best, then I doubt that my opinion would sway you. KWH 05:30, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I see no evidence of Meyer being "bitten". Well, one comment by Ideogram was possibly slightly intemperate. But overall, he was treated with far more deference than is really reasonable, out of a desire to placate his excessively ego-driven demands. But for g*d sake, he stomped off because a few editors sugggested different typography on the talk page, without even making the change on the article itself. In the end, it just doesn't appear Meyer is psychogically suited to the type of collaboration Wikipedia requires, and there's no way he could stay on Wikipedia with such attitudes. It's absolutely imperative that we not "give" an article to on particular editor, and especially not do so to help what proved a violation of the spirit of WP:AUTO. There are many respected experts on Wikipedia who are perfectly well able to collaborate.
I really think that quite grave harm would be done to Wikipedia if we were to start giving way to unreasonable demands of the sort Meyer made, or to disingenuous claims to repudiate GFDL release. Not because these specific words are so uniquely brilliant or irreplaceable; but because that's a very steep and slippery slope that leads to giving every petty self-interest the capability of destroying articles. FWIW, I think a fair amount of rewriting will be best from just stylistic considerations anyway. LotLE×talk 05:47, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Again, being impartial (and in fact indifferent) to the Eiffel PL, and thus functioning as an outside obsesrver in this article, there has been no haressing or heckling of B Meyer in this talk page - I simply do not understand from where that impression comes. In fact, the discussion here has been relatively respectful and distinctly constructive. Is there ever a political debate or discussion on TV that can claim this? Being horrorstruck over this discussion is being horrified by humanity --which may be a valid concern-- but people should be able to work together. Are you editors who complain over this talk page new to Wikipedia? Have you seen the debates on other pages? Have you been part of academic debates? This page is a calm oasis in comparison. As a final observation, not necessarily related to this debate, I'd like to support the above post by saying that experts without an ego may be outstanding wikipedians, experts with an ego may be outstandingly bad wikipedians. Mikademus 08:32, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

"Explicitly licensing a work on specific terms—as User:Bertrand Meyer did here—under Berne and French law, supercedes otherwise applicable moral rights." This is false. I don't know about Swiss law (Pr Meyer works in Switzerland) but in French law, moral rights cannot be waived, even by explicit written contract. David.Monniaux 18:53, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Bertrand Meyer lives and works in the United States, and his contributions were made from a US location. Were what David.Monniaux true of French law, we would need to bar all contributions from France to Wikipedia. Fortunately, I do not believe it is. LotLE×talk 19:39, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Bertrand Meyer is professor of computer science at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, as far as I know. As for French law, let's say that nobody cares about what you believe. :-) I suggest you to read articles L121-1 and L121-4 of the French Code of Intellectual Property. David.Monniaux 20:17, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Moral Rights cannot be waived, whatever the place he contributed from. Anyway, the GFDL is not exactly a license, but a license offer. Meaning it only comes into force when people accept it. The GFDL is an agreement between an author and individuals, not an agreement between an author and the world. Meaning also that anyone can stop offering its content under the terms of this license. Of course, he will have to continue to apply the license to anyone who already accepted it. Then, the question will be to know if these people can still go on distributing the GFDL content or not. From my point of view, they cannot. Maybe they could adapt the content to create a new one that they would be able to distribute. In any case, a GFDL author can certainly decide to get his content "back". But he will have to respect the terms of the concluded license with everyone who accepted it first. Soufron 20:35, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Erm, this sounds like it is in direct opposition to "contributors' obligations" of WP:COPY: "... you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the versions you placed here: that material will remain under GFDL forever." I don't understand what part of that implies that you have any right to remove text once you post it. -- Isogolem 05:08, 31 August 2006 (UTC)


It's been a week and there's been no discussion by the "Pro-Bertrand" parties and there's a new draft to replace the current article that they haven't commented on. Does the page still need to be protected? - DNewhall 21:10, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I would suggest copying the material we believe to be useful in the /Expanded draft into the article section-by-section, rather than simply all at once. While the previous contributions were generally excellent, there are a few tone issues that I'd like to work on as we expand the article. In particular, while the degree of detail is very strong, there is somewhat of an advocacy tone that I'd like to move in a better NPOV direction. Thoughts? LotLE×talk 01:36, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I've started at more concretely re-expanding the article. The first thing I notice here is that while the "scratchpad" version has a lot of good content, this is a good opportunity to greatly reduce the amount of "peacock language" in the description, and also to trim descriptions to more concise and precise phrasings. Most programming language articles have, naturally, been written by their enthusiasts; but the tone should not make that fact overly obvious. None of the draft langauge is bad, but as you we copy over material, let's keep NPOV prominently in mind. LotLE×talk 04:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
A few things that you took out that might have been too much were the SmartEiffel differences and the "Hello, world" example. The SmartEiffel differences are very important because SmartEiffel is a very notable implementation and it isn't standard and the "Hello, world" code example is canonical to every programming language article. - DNewhall 18:00, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
You are correct - the Wikipedia c, perl, pascal, simula, logo, and basic articles all have a "Hello World" section (although the lisp article doesn't). I'll add it back in. 18:11, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
OK. I'm not crazy about the Hello World, and a lot of languages don't do it (Python, R, S-Plus are a few I've looked at recently). But a bunch do, so that's fine... I moved it to a more relevant section, closer to the top and in the overall "Syntax and semantics" section. The SmartEiffel section just feels wrong; definitely SmartEiffel should be linked to, but specific differences from the Eiffel Software version should be discussed in its own article. But mostly it just felt like the tone sounded like advertising for Eiffel Software, i.e. "SmartEiffel isn't as good as our version". LotLE×talk 20:11, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Greater involvement by scientists and Ignore all Rules

Can Wikipedia stress the "Ignore all Rules" part of the Trifecta a little more?

Dr. Bertrand Meyer (the creator of the Eiffel programming language) came to Wikipedia and cleaned up the Eiffel programming language article (No editor disagreed with any of his content) but a number of Wikipedia editors would not allow him to use a blue color for the articles code snippets. (The Eiffel standard states that color should be used to reinforce semantics, in a consistent way and blue is used for this).

They were inflexible and occasionally not as polite as they could have been.

And most notably of all: NO ONE so much as touched the article prior to discussion on the talk page! I actually do have a number of (relatively minor) issues with Meyer's content—mostly tone, a little bit flow—but as soon as the slightest whisper of the Wikipedia style issue was made, Meyer went apoplectic, rather viciously insulted Wikipedians individually and collectively, then engaged in repeated page blanking until he got himself blocked. Just adding the silly conceit of writing "Dr." before each mention of his name doesn't excuse his behavior, nor does it make his contributing more important than the health or sustainability of Wikipedia. Y'know, Meyer isn't the only contributor here (on WP generally, but even on this article) with a doctorate or a wide publication history. Dr. LotLE×talk 17:39, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
This is incorrect; you should check before making such statements. People started canceling his use of fonts. See [6]. Obviously that's what got him concerned.Fuchsias 03:26, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
If the great Bertrand Meyer can't stand having his immortal copy edited by "incompetent zealots" then he surely cannot be a part of Wikipedia. --Ideogram 07:45, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

In the past, he has had a very positive view of wikipedia: Defense and illustration of Wikipedia where he stated: "A more pragmatic look at Wikipedia as it exists today indicates that the project, while perhaps not living up to the hype of its most fervent promoters, has become a superbly useful tool for Web-based fact-finding."

Finally he gave up, and the Wikipedia editors sent him on his way wishing him: "Goodbye and good riddance." and "rv; enjoy your block"

A little more flexiblity (as in "Ignore all Rules" and let in some blue code snippets (I don't even think that wikipedia has an official policy on the color for code snippets)) would have helped here, but the Ignore All Rules part of the trifecta is stressed quite a bit less than the NPOV and the "Don't Be a Dick" parts.

Maybe some kind of "Ignore All Rules" week would help. 07:05, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Why don't you ignore all rules and vandalize this page, that would sure show everyone. 02:33, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Please take a look at WP:IAR, vandalizing a page does not improve or maintain Wikipedia's quality. --Credema 07:20, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't see WP:IAR as the key to the issue that you mention. NPOV and DBAD are just as applicable. Whoever wrote the comments you mentioned ("...good riddance", etc.) was wrong. At the same time, looking at the changes, it looks like Mr. Meyer could have been more civil as well.
Wiki is a different medium than other writing. While the idea of wiki sounded fine, dealing with reality is a lot messier. I have a nice little mess of my own creating higher up this page. The user in question (who might or might not by the real life Bertrand Meyer) didn't seem particularly interested in collaborating, and several users were understandably irate over this. You can be brilliant in your field, but that doesn't buy instant privs or esteem.
You must be willing and able to deal with other people if you want to be part of wikipedia. No amount of "ignoring all rules" will change that. -- Isogolem 23:36, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the Eiffel discussion degenerated, but the initial conflict (non-content based conflict) occurred the editors were more interested in the rules "no code snippets may be blue" and "all code snippets for all programming languages must be in an identical format" than in producing good Wikipedia content.
Please, anon, well first get an account. For someone taking such a tone of superiority, hiding behind and IP address is quite unseemly. But past that, you are blatantly and offensively misrepresnting this talk page and the article edit history. No one said, "we must blindly follow rules". Rather there was a discussion of "What is the best style convention to follow, given the minor difference between WP style guides and those of Eiffel Software?" Every editor, except Bertrand Meyer, discussed this in an open minded and collaborative way. Meyer basically wrote: "Fuck off, none of your opinions matter." This had nothing to do with obeying or disobeying rules... it was an open, polite, and joint discussion of the how best to improve the article. Meyer could not stomach the last of those adjectives, especially (though he did not appear all that fond of the first two either). LotLE×talk 17:46, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with much of your characterization of the event, but I've already given my view and you've given yours, so that's that. 22:21, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
"Fuck off"? Where did Mr. Meyer say "Fuck off"? That doesn't seem to be his style. And he never said that "none of your opinions matter", in those terms or any others. This is very bad -- putting words in other people's mouths.Fuchsias 03:24, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Fuchias, LotLE qualified the quote with "basically", clearly indicating the statements thereafter were LotLE's interpretation of statements made by Meyer. To claim that LotLE is "putting words in other people's mouths", is at best misleading. -- Isogolem 07:49, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Fuchsias, for your own credibility, I suggest you go through Dr. Meyer's comments and list the diffs where he insults us. Note his complaints that we didn't know what we are talking about and therefore should not speak. I trust you can connect the dots to the implications of his statements. Here, I'll start you off with one from his user page: [7] --Ideogram 07:42, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
When admins post: "I don't know how better to put it. Dr. Meyer doesn't make the rules here. Experienced Wikipedia editors know the rules here, and if Dr. Meyer refuses to learn from them then this isn't going to work." [8] when discussing the font color for a section of an article, it demonstrates that to them "the rules" may be more important than content or civility. What rule could be less disruptive if broken than that one? If an admin/editor won't IAR in that case, when will they?
Bend the rules - let the font be a different color than on other programming languages, let the language creator improve the article, make Wikipedia editting a positive experience, everyone wins.
Stick to the rules - make the font be the same color as on other programming languages, let the language creator leave in frustration, say "goodbye and good riddence", no one wins. 01:04, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I have already agreed with you on the "good riddence" comment. There is no excuse for it.
That being said, no matter how many times you mention it, it is still only one commment out of many, and I feel you are misrepresenting the progression of events. There seems to constructive disussion for a while here and here, including the suggestion that while in might not be the same as other articles, color is an option still under discussion. Then it appears B-Meyer is the one who begins to get upset, here, claiming harasment where I personally can see none. There was good faith effort to to caution B-Meyer, here. There is even a plea for mutual respect by one editor to B-Meyer, here. And once again it is Meyer who escalates matters, here - "... mob rule, proud of its arrogant incompetence. I will move the text to a place where it is free from interference from the vandals." Now here finally we see someone committing personal attack, but it is Meyer not one of the other editors.
The other comments you mention occured after that edit, as here. This doesn't excuse them, but it does cast them in a slightly different light, I think. The editors didn't gang up on Meyer to force him out, he left in a huff.
That is not correct. The matter started when people started editing out the fonts. See [9].Fuchsias 03:34, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't see how your statement applies. You seem to be claiming that someone changing the font on an article is equivalent to a personal attack, but I'm sure that is not what you mean. -- Isogolem 07:49, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
This is not about the "rules" as you are trying to frame it. The editors you are claiming should have done more IAR were trying to make sure that they maintained the quality of wikipedia by maintaining the consistency of the wikipedia article style. They were willing to break with that style if it were needed but were unwilling to do so without due consideration and discussion. The discussion might not have been progressing at the speed or in the direction Meyer wanted, and so he became upset, confusing many.
What you seem to be suggesting is something other than IAR. This isn't about the rules, it is about medium awareness. Everyone can edit is part of the wiki medium, and it appears Meyer was unable to handle that aspect of it. -- Isogolem 07:32, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

From the User:Jimbo Wales page

Of course, I would argue, it might not be helpful for us to blame him for lack of 'medium awareness'. I would have preferred to see people treat him with a lot more patience and kindness EVEN AFTER he got a bit huffy. And why shouldn't we be nice? Costs nothing, and has a better result in the end.--Jimbo Wales 09:07, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

I think it's important to note that we're missing a crucial point while our attention is diverted by this self-flagellation contest we're having. Meyer's behaviour was, in my view, as inappropriate as that of any other editor with the possible exception of Ideogram. It may be silly for us to insist that code be black, but it's equally silly for Meyer to insist it must be blue. As a long-time Eiffel user, I can tell you I only ever encounter blue code in Meyer's books and web sites. Yet he made the decision that the font convention is more important to him than the Wikipedia article. That's his prerogative, but I still find it asinine, and I think we can't ignore his part in this whole unfortunate mess. Don't take my word for it; his perplexing reasoning and personal attacks are preserved on this very page for your perusal. --Doradus 14:02, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

I do not see any self-flagellation. All I see is - "Meyer didn't follow the rules and was a bit of a jerk". Can you point me to where anyone has criticized their own behavior or performed any other type of self-flagellation? 14:48, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't mean people criticizing their own behaviour; I mean Wikipedia editors collectively criticizing our own behaviour. I'm talking about "a little more flexibility ... would have helped here" and "the initial conflict ... occurred the [sic] editors were more interested in the rules ... than in producing good Wikipedia content". But you're right: looking back at the discussion, it's not as lopsided as I had thought. --Doradus 19:22, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
It may well be true that Dr. Meyer "made the decision that the font convention is more important to him than the Wikipedia article", but then so did those that demanded it be black. Upon Dr. Meyer's arrival the page went through considerable change and improvement, and this was clearly still ongoing. Instead of working to fill out the developing page first and quibbling over details second, people seemed to feel that adherence to an unstated rule was more important than the overall quality of the page. I feel a little more patience could have seen this issue resolved eventually without having alienate an editor in the middle of a considerable, and high quality, expansion of the page content. Leland McInnes 16:43, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Patience is exactly what was needed. The "Wikipedia way" to deal with an edit you don't like, such as making the code black, is to hash it out on the talk page while continuing to make progress on the article; not to revert other editors' contributions repeatedly before a concensus is reached. Only one person repeatedly reverted formatting changes on the Eiffel page. --Doradus 19:22, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Just to be ultra-clear yet again: there never was an edit of "making the code black". Meyer's stomping off was entirely because we dared discuss making the code black on the talk page. Can you imagine how quickly he probably would have stomped off if we had actually, y'know, edited the content of the page?! LotLE×talk 19:36, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, we did make the code black here. --Doradus 23:37, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

My God, this new header turned monstruous fast. Anyway, what the anon OP said above is wrong. Or at least what he implies is wrong. Let's distinguish between code samples, which are in the code boxes, and inline code. No-one were having any real difficulties with blue-coloured code samples. However, blue-coloured inline code break wikipedia standard formatting, which can be taken as a minor or major obstacle depending on your personal perspectives, but more importantly made the article look distractingly garish and introduced text confusingly similar to hyperlinks, which is distinctly unpedagogical and impractical. Again, everyone was if not happy then at least accepting of blue code sample boxes. However, experienced and good editors voiced concern --as they should!-- over decreased article quality from the idiosyncratic and in effect confusing inline code snippets. Mikademus 22:36, 30 August 2006 (UTC)