Paul Graham defends Arc (NOT)

In one of his latest essays Paul Graham seems to try to defend his new language Arc against the criticism it has evoked. His essay, in a nutshell, says this (my words):

People criticize Arc. People have criticized my work before and it went on to be successful. Therefore their criticism against Arc is wrong.

That is not an argument. It is merely rethorics.


2 thoughts on “Paul Graham defends Arc (NOT)

  1. Note: I don’t have anything to say, positive or negative, about Arc in this statement. If you similarly misconstrue my statement, check your own eyes first!

    I don’t read Paul’s essay that way. The way I saw it, he was making an observation about a pattern he’d noticed. You’re right, it doesn’t amount to a defense; but that’s only a weakness if it was intended as a defense. I don’t see it the same way: I think he said (roughly) the first two sentences of your summary, but he didn’t say the third. Rather, he postulated that new solutions that have the six common attributes he noticed, which may (or may not) be successful in the long term, will *always* produce criticism. The conclusion I draw is that the information content of such criticism to those particular kinds of solutions is lower – it needs to be examined in specifics (to see it isn’t *solely* a reaction to the first five attributes), as well as taking time into account (for the sixth attribute, the rapid iteration).

    This conclusion – that the information content of the aggregate criticism is lower – is ineluctable, because it has a measurable historical false positive rate.

  2. If you take as your only data points two or three successful projects that were criticized then of course you’ll conclude that that criticism has a large false positive rate. But remember:

    “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

    Note also that Graham tells us what the “simple solutions” of Viaweb and Y-Combinator were that made them successful, but fails to do so for Arc. I wonder why.

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