An important, controversial issue!

Ethan Blanton elb at
Thu Apr 26 13:46:26 EDT 2007

Sean Egan spake unto us the following wisdom:
> On 4/26/07, Ethan Blanton <elb at> wrote:
> > 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.
> That totally depends on the client you use. Psi uses "extended away"
> the same way we use "away." Google Talk uses "away" the way we use
> "idle," and doesn't use extended-away at all. I'm not sure off the top
> of my head what other clients do.

Fine, map to ICQ or some other protocol that has Extended Away.  I
usually see 'Away' on AIM used for things like "In Class", "At Lunch",
etc., not "Out of the Country for a Week" (I'm the only person I know
who uses it in the latter sense!).

> > 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
> Luke's argument is that the clock has meaning other than its
> historical context, that it's a symbol that makes him say, "THAT means
> idle!"

Now, you all know that I love Luke, but Luke has more inertia than
practically anyone I have ever met.  Of course he doesn't like the
change.  ;-)  I assert once again that it is immaterial.


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
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