Talk:Chalcraft-Greene train track automaton

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Esolang or not?

I'm not sure I consider this an esoteric programming language (thus am not sure it should be linked to from the Language list).

Basically: If this is an esolang, why aren't WireWorld, the Game of Life, and Langton's Ant also esolangs? --Chris Pressey 00:03, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

I would argue that any programming language that is intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of programmers with a specialized knowledge or interest is an esoteric programming language. Further, I would consider that there are many types of esoteric programming languages—e.g., those that are intended for "real world" applications, those that are intended for humor, those intended for just mere proof-of-concept, etc. Therefore, you get the sub-classifications of a "Real-World Application Esoteric Programming Language," a "Humorous Esoteric Programming Language," a "Proof-of-Concept Esoteric Programming Language," etc. —Brian Krent 22:26, 13 February 2011 (EST)
When you say you "would argue" -- how would your argument go? What you give is a rather different criterion from what the community has traditionally focused on; to quote the esoteric programming language page, for example, an esolang is "a computer programming language designed to experiment with weird ideas, to be hard to program in, or as a joke, rather than for practical use." That definition makes "real-world application esolang" something of an oxymoron. The size of the intended audience, as well, has not traditionally been a deciding factor; esolangs are obscure because of what they are, not vice versa. There are hundreds if not thousands of obscure, specialized languages (PhD thesis projects, proprietary in-house DSLs, etc.) that don't hold much appeal to the kinds of people who are drawn to esolangs. --Chris Pressey 05:07, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I guess for starters a better definition is required. An esoteric programming langage (EPL) = hard to program in || joke || weird ideas? All joke languages are EPLs? Are hard to program languages are EPLs? All weird idea languages are EPLs? And then what constitues a "weird idea" or "hard to program"? What determines this? A voting system maybe? Or are EPLs just "languages nobody uses for any practical matter, ever"—in which case "Impractical Programming Language" might be a better term than "Esoteric Programming Language." But I suppose this should be moved over to Talk:Esoteric programming language. —Brian Krent 03:00, 14 February 2011 (EST)

I feel that there is significant consensus from community elders like Graue, Safalra and Keymaker on Talk:Esoteric programming language to establish that this wiki is for topics of interest to the esoteric programming languages community, and that "serious" languages have a place too. I would support an article on the Game of Life, although I feel that it's an in-depth enough topic that a short summary with a link to the relevant wiki would be the best article, perhaps mentioning the various computers in it as well (the self-replicating computer is definitely worthy of a note).

Besides, trying to categorise languages as "esoteric" and "not esoteric" seems to me to be an inherently impossible task; the whole point of esolangs is to push the boundaries of classification (and sanity), so today's esolang is tomorrow's hot new thing.¹ I would like to adopt the policy of another community that tries to push the boundaries of sanity in ways that usually end up silly, and suggest that our position should be: "If the person who made it says it's an esolang, it's an esolang, unless they're clearly just pulling our leg."

Thankfully, wiki is not paper, so there is no real harm to having articles that are perhaps extraneous by a strict, fixed interpretation of what is an esolang, and the position that the only articles on the wiki should be about esolangs. But I don't think that's the view the members of the wiki had in the past (see my link above), and I don't think it's the view we have now. Would the wiki really be better without the article on Crowbar (whose author definitely intended it to be an esolang, just not exclusively an esolang), or even Checkout, two languages with promising foundations that could easily be the basis of something useful, but that nonetheless are interesting and unique?

So I'd say that an article on Java is probably going to be pointless (what of interest to us is there to say about it?), but an article about Joy would be welcomed, especially because of its close-but-accidental relation to Underload. Bring on the {{serious}}. :)

¹ Well, okay, maybe not always.

ehird 17:22, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

If the argument is that this article should possibly not be linked to on the language list, then I think I agree, but Crowbar definitely should be. —ehird 17:23, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Also, while I agree that in-house DSLs aren't probably going to interest most of us, I don't think the same applies to Ph.D. thesis projects. But then I'm an elitist leftie academic. —ehird 17:35, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Since most of these points pertain to esolangs in general, I'll try to respond to them on Talk:Esoteric programming language, time permitting. To the Chalcraft-Greene automaton specifically:
1) Yes, my original question was whether or not it is an esolang, and thus whether or not it should be linked to from the language list; it was not whether or not it should have an article on this wiki. I don't think the idea that things of general interest to the esolang community may have pages on this wiki, even if they're not esolangs, is controversial.
2) The heuristic "If the person who made it says it's an esolang, it's an esolang" doesn't help us decide this case, because neither Chalcraft or Greene has, to my knowledge, said that it is an esolang. --Chris Pressey 05:16, 26 February 2011 (UTC)