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Re: CLD (was ro broda/ro lo broda)

la djer. cusku di'e

> The latest example of this is the new lujvo paper.  We are suddenly
> presented with a new lujvo paradigm to discuss.  It is largely the
> creation of one mind. There was no lujvo committee consisting of those
> who have special interest and expertise in this area. Two that come to
> mind are Nick Nicholas and Jim Carter.  Nick is off contributing to
> other languages, and Carter has founded his own.  This is a serious
> brain drain from the lojban effort. Ideas these people created will no
> doubt be incorported into the new version, but wouldn't it be better if
> they were here to contribute?


The "new lujvo paper" is a heavily edited version of Nick's own paper on
the subject, which is founded on Jim's ideas!  These two, plus me, >are<
the "lujvo committee"; in fact, so much so, that this paper is going into
the refgrammar even though the underlying ideas are >not< in accord with
Lojban Central's heretofore official position.  (Hopefully that position
will now change.)

> Oops- I meant to say academy, or grammar committee here; not the
> community as a whole, but its representatives.

But who are they?  On the whole, they have been self-selected: we have
no single Academy, but rather a bunch of committees for different issues,
based not on "expertise" but on willingness to do the nitty-gritty work.
In nothing more than conlangs is the old >New Yorker< saying true:
"The part-time help of wits is no better than the full-time help of halfwits."

> Now, if the Refgrammar is a private copywritten work , and owned and
> controlled in part by the investors you mention, and if its profits or
> losses go to them, that's ok with me too. That's no different than my
> friends in the theatre writing a play (which they did) and producing it
> in the non profit theatre where I am a board member, and keeping the
> profits which flow from productions elsewhere outside the non profit.

In fact the refgrammar (and dictionary, and textbook) will be owned by the
LLG, and by law any moneys received for them must be plowed back into the
LLG's purposes: research and education.

> So "what I am asking for" is very simple:  I want the design and
> destiny of lojban in the hands of the people who are true to its
> mission of being a logical language.  I want one machine parsable
> language that is growing and changing with the advances in logic and
> language studies.  I want those who love it, understand it, and use it
> to have a part in its official form and destiny.

I believe this is already true.  Although the informal structure of
overlapping committees isn't formalized, it has the advantage that it
can accommodate varying degrees of burnout by the participants: if one
person gets preoccupied, work still goes on.  (The chief exceptions are
lojbab and me, and I hope to get out of the inner loop Real Soon Now --
half a paper left to go!)

> All these things require that there be an elected academy or peer group
> which is representative of the users that will make real decisions and
> have real power concerning the language design.  That is something that
> _is_ in your control, or at least in the control of the LLG board.

LLG members are elected by other LLG members on the basis of representative-
ness.  Just because it was an embarrassment to have no non-U.S. members,
we went and elected a bunch of them even at some risk to our institutional
mechanisms, which depend heavily on a rather large quorum.  Within that
group, and even outside it, people self-select and the results are then
ratified by the President and Board of Directors (me, pc, Nora, lojbab).

> Jorge certainly made it his business to explore every nook and
> cranny of the refgrammar, yet he was constantly complaining about
> getting second class citizen treatment on design decisions. And is
> another who meets your criterion.  Aside from an occasional hard won
> concession, they were not full fledged partners in any decisions.

Believe me, I've made plenty of proposals that have fallen on the floor, 
and some (in earlier days) that have been rejected by a vote of the LLG
membership.  (One pet project, my proposed gismu "spero" for "Esperanto-
related", was massively voted down.)

When Jorge first proposed (earlier versions of) X1-X6, both Bob and I were
unfortunately mentally out to lunch, so they didn't get the treatment they
deserved.  As of now (proposal X5 is inconsistent with the others, so I
discount it) 2 of the 5 grammar changes are in the pipeline (stuck behind
Veijo's proposal, which is larger and more complex) and a third was
resolved without a grammar change by adding a cmavo.  That's not second
class citizen status.

> djer:  Patterns and conventions must be parsable, and that takes
> decisions by language designers, whoever they are. They are the final
> authority in any offical version. There are no meaningful changes
> without backup by the official YACC program, regardless of what Goran
> and Xorxes agree to.

This is a philosophical point on which we must agree to disagree, I think.

> I can't picture anyone but PC  as chairman of a Committee for Language
> Design.

I doubt he wants the job: he too has a large measure of burnout, and isn't
really a "political" person in the necessary sense (nor am I).

> I'm still mystified as to what a formal proposal is, and whether
> it need be in YACC form. The pattern that isn't described in any rules
> is hard to grasp, and a just system without any clear rules doesn't
> compute for me.  That is certainly an area that should be taken up by a
> committee. But I really don't need to know because I'm not writing any
> proposals until the CLD (Committee for Language Design) exists.  That's
> real world semantics.

Well, to formalize what is already implicit:  a proposal needs to have a
clearly written concise explanation of what the current language is,
what the proposed change is, and what the rationale is; though a YACC
diff need not be presented, the proposer should be prepared to present
one, or a sketch of one, on demand.  (We recognize that not everyone
can YACC).  We need this degree of detail in order to know clearly what
is and what is not being proposed, because it is impossible to deal with
"Well, maybe it would be useful to have something like ..." statements,
subject to endless revision and backtracking.

At the present time, proposals go through only if the (semi-self-selected)
group of people commenting on them don't have cogent objections.  I am
seriously considering dropping Veijo's proposal from the current stream
because Colin objected:  Colin rarely speaks, but when he does, it is out
of an immense history of involvement with Loglan (predating lojbab's, even).

(I mention historical background not because "older is better" but just
because after you've been around a while you know what some of the classical
unfounded objections are.  The first thing people generally want to change
is the "'" or the rafsi system, and suggestions on that topic will be
replied to but not, in general, considered seriously.  There may be parts
of Lojban that are still broken, but not so they can be found easily!)

> That's the problem.  I don't want to start learning lambda calculus,
> for instance, if the book writer decides he wants it. It might be a
> great idea, and if it could pass a committe I would be willing to
> believe it, especially if alternative grammar was still in place.

Well, there will be some mention of it in the reference grammar, with as
few technicalities as possible (in the spirit of the whole grammar, really).
Not really "lambda calculus", though; just an operator named "lambda"
by analogy with that of lambda calculus.

Of course, the reference grammar must cover the whole of the formalized
language (not all usages, naturally; that would be indefinite if not
infinite).  Nothing says you have to use everything, though!

> We know John is a brilliant teacher, and no mean authority on the language
> itself; I would vote for him as next president of LLG; but the idea
> that the structure of the official version of the language is under one
> man rule is passe.

Thanks for the compliments, and I don't want the job.

"One man rule" extends only to what gets covered in the book.  If I can't
see a way to explain something clearly, I will lobby for a change, and if
nobody objects too loudly (or objects loudly but without reasoned arguments)
then I presume the change adopted.  Lately things are a little rushed,
that's all.

> And we should listen to Cowan's exortation in his .sig, and send money
> when we download that new refgrammar and lujvo paper that represents so
> much hard work.

Do, do.  And if you want to mark your money as prepayment for the hard
copy (we hope that even the most devoted netizens will want to buy the
hard copy) that's a fine idea, although unrestricted donations are okay too.

John Cowan					cowan@ccil.org
		e'osai ko sarji la lojban.