An important, controversial issue!

Ethan Blanton elb at
Thu Apr 26 13:24:03 EDT 2007

Sean Egan spake unto us the following wisdom:
> Because "extended-away means gone for a significant amount of time"
> implies "away means gone for an insignificant amount of time." surely
> we don't want to introduce a *third* meaning to "clock," other than
> what people already have.
> The compromise I agreed to a while ago, but never followed through on,
> although I think that now I figured out how to do so, is to make the
> AIM "away" state actually be "extended away." Then, away AIM users
> show up with a notepad, away MSN and Yahoo users show up with a clock,
> jabber still has a good distinction between away and xa, etc.

I don't think this is a good idea.  The logical Aim "away" state maps
more closely to Jabber's "away", and not "extended away", in practice.
This sort of special case breaks our "Principle of maximum
uniformity", I think.

We should pick one, and stick with it.  I think this has turned into a
bike-shed issue; it's really not that important.  As was pointed out
earlier in this thread, both symbols are essentially arbitrary, and
have meaning only in historical context.  If someone comes forward
with a symbol that makes people say, "THAT means away!", then by all
means, we should take it -- but in the meantime, a clock is as good as
a bit of paper is as good as a "register closed" sign.


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: Digital signature
URL: <>

More information about the Devel mailing list