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4 Jan 2008

by Noel

Word of the Milieu: Flattline

Flattline |flatˌlīn| (verb).

To post a difficult problem, often syntax related, to the plt-scheme mailing list in the hope that wiser folk will solve it. For example: “I’ve gone nowhere on this macro in two weeks. I’m going to Flattline it.”

The term depends on an ambiguity between the medical term flatline, indicating a patient is dead (as in “he flatlined before we reached the hospital”), and the suggestion that one has a hotline to Matthew Flatt, the motive force behind the PLT Scheme implementation. Uses of the word that exclude either meaning are incorrect, so one should not say, for example, “I’m going to put a call on the Flattline”. One should also not expect Matthew Flatt to solve all of one’s problems.

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