Re: Pastebin [was: Trying to make a basic Python score counter in agame... will not count.]

Discussion in 'Python' started by Chris Angelico, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 5:35 AM, Ian Kelly <> wrote:
    > On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM, Kwpolska <> wrote:
    >> On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 6:25 PM, <> wrote:
    >>> On Sunday, December 16, 2012 10:09:53 AM UTC-7, Kwpolska wrote:
    >>>>[...]
    >>>> PS. please do not use pastebin.com.
    >>>
    >>> Why?

    >>
    >> http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2595066 should answer this very question.

    >
    > That seems to be a problem with a certain class of users that have
    > adopted Pastebin, not a problem with the site itself. What do you
    > hope to accomplish by boycotting Pastebin for actual code pastes?
    > Even if the site were to cease to exist tomorrow, what is to stop the
    > hackers from simply switching to dpaste or gist like everybody else?


    The comment by genbattle in the above link is an important one, I
    think. The last time I used pastebin was for Pike code - does any
    competing site have Pike support?

    http://pastebin.com/UNTj642Y

    I don't understand the idea behind the boycott. Are people worried
    about the longevity of linked-to content, in the event that pastebin
    should, as you say, cease to exist tomorrow? Or is it that some won't
    click a pastebin link in case it's abusive? This isn't the sort of
    abuse that can compromise your computer.

    ChrisA
    Chris Angelico, Dec 16, 2012
    #1
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  2. On Mon, 17 Dec 2012 07:13:44 +1100, Chris Angelico wrote:

    > On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 5:35 AM, Ian Kelly <>
    > wrote:
    >> On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM, Kwpolska <> wrote:
    >>> On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 6:25 PM, <> wrote:
    >>>> On Sunday, December 16, 2012 10:09:53 AM UTC-7, Kwpolska wrote:
    >>>>>[...]
    >>>>> PS. please do not use pastebin.com.
    >>>>
    >>>> Why?

    [...]
    > I don't understand the idea behind the boycott. Are people worried about
    > the longevity of linked-to content, in the event that pastebin should,
    > as you say, cease to exist tomorrow? Or is it that some won't click a
    > pastebin link in case it's abusive? This isn't the sort of abuse that
    > can compromise your computer.


    How do you know? Between javascript and flash, just about any browser
    could be vulnerable to just about any website. You might implicitly trust
    Pastebin, but you can't possibly *know* that the site won't do bad
    things. It wouldn't be the first time that even a reputable website got
    hacked by somebody who used it to deploy malware.

    But that's not why I dislike Pastebin. I argue against Pastebin because:

    1) Longevity of the content. Your question is going to be around for
    much, much longer than your pastebin. People searching for help will
    click through to the pastebin and find the code is gone. It is really
    frustrating to (say) search for the solution to a problem, and find that
    the answer is given in an expired pastebin.


    2) When you ask for help via email, you shouldn't assume that the people
    reading have access to the web. Perhaps they have email access, but all
    or part of the web is blocked to them. Perhaps they are reading email on
    a mobile device and don't mind paying to download a couple of KB of
    email, but draw the line at (potentially) hundreds of KB of a web page
    plus associated images, unnecessary javascript, web bugs, advertisements,
    etc. Or maybe they just don't want the context switch:

    "I'm reading email right now, I'll click the link later..."

    Email is a push technology. A pastebin is a pull technology. Whenever you
    require your audience to actively go and get content, you're cutting your
    audience by some fraction.

    I am aware that it is irrational and silly, but for me it also has to do
    with a sense of fairness. I'm prepared to spend tens of minutes, or
    sometimes even an hour or more, solving somebody else's problem for no
    benefit except a sense of accomplishment. But ask me to click on a
    pastebin to find out what that question is, and I'm all "Why should I
    have to go out of my way to find out what your question is? You're asking
    me to do you a favour, and you're making me work to find out what the
    favour is??? **** you!"

    But maybe that's just me :)

    I'm not saying "never use a paste bin". I think it probably makes lots of
    sense to use one in IRC, where it is inappropriate to paste more than a
    line or two of code at once, and the conversation is already ephemeral.
    But in a Usenet or email forum, I think it is almost always inappropriate
    to use paste bins. If your code is too large to paste directly in the
    body of your email, chances are it is too large to expect people to debug
    for you. But you can try adding it as an attachment (.py, not .doc), and
    only if you can't do that for some reason, then maybe a paste bin is
    appropriate.


    --
    Steven
    Steven D'Aprano, Dec 17, 2012
    #2
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  3. On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 5:47 PM, Steven D'Aprano
    <> wrote:
    > On Mon, 17 Dec 2012 07:13:44 +1100, Chris Angelico wrote:
    >> I don't understand the idea behind the boycott. Are people worried about
    >> the longevity of linked-to content, in the event that pastebin should,
    >> as you say, cease to exist tomorrow? Or is it that some won't click a
    >> pastebin link in case it's abusive? This isn't the sort of abuse that
    >> can compromise your computer.

    >
    > How do you know? Between javascript and flash, just about any browser
    > could be vulnerable to just about any website. You might implicitly trust
    > Pastebin, but you can't possibly *know* that the site won't do bad
    > things. It wouldn't be the first time that even a reputable website got
    > hacked by somebody who used it to deploy malware.


    Sure, anything can be compromised. But demonstrations that Pastebin
    has been used to disseminate illegal information have nothing to do
    with that. However...

    > But that's not why I dislike Pastebin. I argue against Pastebin because:
    >
    > 1) Longevity of the content. Your question is going to be around for
    > much, much longer than your pastebin. People searching for help will
    > click through to the pastebin and find the code is gone. It is really
    > frustrating to (say) search for the solution to a problem, and find that
    > the answer is given in an expired pastebin.


    .... ah, that's a much more serious issue. When do they expire? I
    didn't find it on the site. Some of the others expire after a VERY
    short time (weeks, or even hours), making them completely
    inappropriate for this sort of thing. It really needs to be indefinite
    duration.

    > 2) When you ask for help via email, you shouldn't assume that the people
    > reading have access to the web. Perhaps they have email access, but all
    > or part of the web is blocked to them. Perhaps they are reading email on
    > a mobile device and don't mind paying to download a couple of KB of
    > email, but draw the line at (potentially) hundreds of KB of a web page
    > plus associated images, unnecessary javascript, web bugs, advertisements,
    > etc. Or maybe they just don't want the context switch:
    >
    > "I'm reading email right now, I'll click the link later..."
    >
    > Email is a push technology. A pastebin is a pull technology. Whenever you
    > require your audience to actively go and get content, you're cutting your
    > audience by some fraction.


    Yes, I agree. And I'll go further: I don't like having to download an
    attached file. Put your code inline; if it's too long for that, it's
    probably too long to be asking about.

    There are exceptions, of course, but if I'm going to go fetch
    components from elsewhere, I have to have already been drawn into the
    thread with strong interest. It's a steep hill to climb.

    > "Why should I
    > have to go out of my way to find out what your question is? You're asking
    > me to do you a favour, and you're making me work to find out what the
    > favour is???"


    Can't argue with that! I agree, other than that I don't swear. :)

    > I'm not saying "never use a paste bin". I think it probably makes lots of
    > sense to use one in IRC, where it is inappropriate to paste more than a
    > line or two of code at once, and the conversation is already ephemeral.
    > But in a Usenet or email forum, I think it is almost always inappropriate
    > to use paste bins. If your code is too large to paste directly in the
    > body of your email, chances are it is too large to expect people to debug
    > for you. But you can try adding it as an attachment (.py, not .doc), and
    > only if you can't do that for some reason, then maybe a paste bin is
    > appropriate.


    Yeah, it's good for a MUD too. We use URL shorteners and such, and
    aren't too concerned that tinyurl.com might not exist in a few years
    (though it is better to use ones that don't expire URLs). But really,
    when you're asking for Python help, you shouldn't need to blat tens of
    kay of code at us all. It should be possible to put it in-line.

    ChrisA
    Chris Angelico, Dec 17, 2012
    #3
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