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I had a hard time understanding this sentence from StackExchange co-founder Joel Spolsky:

I’m really just trying to set a minimum bar here so that everyone can understand what’s going on and can write code that has a hope of working with text in any language other than the subset of English that doesn’t include words with accents.

My main point of contention is the "other than" part. That part doesn't make sense to me. It would make sense if that part was replaced with "and not just".

The way it is worded makes it seem like he wants to exclude "the subset of English that doesn’t include words with accents" but I think he wants to say something like included but not limited to. Thoughts?

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My guess is that JS meant that code that works with "the subset of English that doesn’t include words with accents" is already available. What he wants to do is extend functionality beyond that.

You are right to think that it's meant in the spirit of "and not just". By saying "other than", he wants to avoid considering what already exists and is unimportant for his goals.

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I think the sentence from which this arose is "No code currently written has a hope of working with any language other than the subset of English that doesn't include words with accents" which is perfectly grammatical, and a good way of expressing the point (whether it is true I leave to coders). Saying "I am trying to write code that has a hope...." is logically just an extension of this, though grammatically a should be any and the sentence is already too long for comfort. Adding this to another sentence about setting a minimum bar makes it even less clear and seems to be begging the question (does "setting a mimimum bar" really both make it easier for everyone to understand what's going on and provide a chance of writing more inclusive code? Citation needed.)

But I think somebody who has contributed so much to the bulwark of cvilization that is Stack Exchange deserves some leeway. Cut him some slack, as they say over there.

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