Johannes Bauer <> writes:

> On 15.05.2014 04:43, Ben Finney wrote:
> > Rustom Mody <> writes:
> > 
> >> Until then may we relegate '79' to quaint historical curiosities
> > 
> > Not until the general capacity of human cognition advances to make
> > longer lines easier to read.
> I find it surprising how you can make such a claim about the whole of
> humanity (!) without even feeling the need to have a pro forma study
> to back it up.

This is an informal discussion forum. Merely because I don't produce
citations every time I mention a fact doesn't imply that I'm not basing
my assertions on fact.

Here is one such study
But there is plenty of room for uninformed diverity of opinion

The point is less about hard evidence about *precise* limits; I make no
claim about the superiority of 80 columns or 93 columns or 55 columns or

Rather, the point is rather that human cognition *does* have limits, and
those limits are at the basis of limits we choose to impose on text

Those who claim “terminals just magically happened to be 80 columns wide
and we were slaves to that limit” have it completely backward: the
limits were imposed *onto* the terminals by human makers, based on their
understanding of the cognitive limits of the humans reading from them.

Those limits are with us still, and to my knowledge have not improved
with recent human generations.

> Also, not everything that applies to prose also equally applies to
> code.

If you're going to counter evidence of general human reading cognition
by making special claims about code, that would need to be backed up
with specific evidence.

> Personally I find overly narrow code (80 cols) to be much *harder* to
> read than code that is 100 cols wide.

I counter your anecdote with my own: I find 80 columns to be quite long,
and prefer code to be no more than around 60 columns. So what do we
learn? That attempts to generalise from personal anecdote doesn't get us
anywhere useful.

 \        “I took a course in speed waiting. Now I can wait an hour in |
  `\                                 only ten minutes.” —Steven Wright |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney


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