|Do you know where your variables are?
neshura said: Yes, style counts. Please be more kind with your own words.
My winkie was apparently not enough... I was not accusing merlyn of being a mean-spirited individual, only suggesting (too obliquely, I'm sure) that if a question evokes strong feeling in him or his answer, perhaps those of us with less stellar qualifications should field that question. If some post makes him want to only respond with a negative, possibly mis-interpretable, and unhelpful rant, just skip it. (I have assumed/hoped all along that he simply forgot to put a smiley or winkie after the "don't make me have to repeat this" part.)
If some answer is painfully obvious to me, I will usually not respond to it. This allows others to contribute to our community, each at his/her own level and helps prevent anyone from being offended at my own "stylistic shortcomings," which are all-too-frequent (as seen here).
His response was voted up when I last saw it, and it could be amusing to those of us who have some understanding of these issues. But it was not directed at someone who had exhibited understanding. How else to interpret his words, then, but as an insult? That's what I was trying to say in merlyn's defense. He was not trying to be insulting; he was just trying to make a memorable point.
Perhaps someone will apply that logic to my insulting attempt to make a memorable point. ;-)
I responded as I did to this thread, because: in the midst of an otherwise vibrant, helpful and educational series of posts, merlyn's was simply negative. He did not offer any solutions to the problem, only criticism of someone else's idea. Not constructive criticism, just criticism. Other people said the same thing, but in such a way that readers could learn something. See turnstep's answer for just one example.
P.S. Just as an aside...a legacy of contributions to a community does not a compassionate person make. Richard Stallman has a huge legacy of contributions to the free software community, but few would accuse him of having kind and gentle people-skills. :-)