Nathan Coulter = 'PYK'
= 'Poor Yorick'
in 2011

Nathan Coulter

='Poor Yorick'

= 'PYK'

Why He Must Go

(a 'wikignome' and
the Alienator-in-Chief
at the Tclers' Wiki)
(He'll be the
death of the wiki.)

Nathan Coulter = 'PYK'
= 'Poor Yorick'
in 2012
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This Coulter Page

Nathan Coulter (on the left)
with Tcl (Community) Association
leader Clif Flynt, 2012




First, note that the Wiki at '' is a valuable resource on the web.

The Tcl-Tk Wiki is essentially the only site on the web where Tcl-Tk coders can go for non-trivial sample code and for answers to all manner of Tcl-Tk coding questions, including very deep questions.

The Wiki is a site that is worth preserving --- for Tcler's all over the world.

I did not want to spend ten-plus hours putting together this web page.

I would much rather spend the time coding Tcl-Tk scripts.

But there is/was trouble brewing in Tcl-City --- and various attempts to try to address that trouble always seemed to become bogged down in details about Tcl syntax and the way to define various Tcl objects and commands --- or become bogged down in complaints about the software being used to manage the wiki.

There was an additional reason I did not want to write this web page (besides the consumption of valuable hours of my limited remaining life-time).

I am concerned about there being too much information about people on the internet.

There are already too many 'white pages' sites that contain personal information on people --- their age, their street address, the names of their relatives --- and, for a fee, additional information.

I am concerned about privacy issues.

So I did not want to write a page about a particular person --- and the conflicts that that person is having with various other persons.

    (Journalists and politicians do that every day, but I did not want to be a journalist of the wiki.)

But this person is/was causing havoc on --- a wiki that is well-loved by many Tcler's.

Furthermore, this person was using anonymizing identifiers like 'PoorYorick' and 'PYK' --- even on his 'Person page' on

So some people adversely affected by PYK's edits on the wiki were at a disadvantage.

PYK knew their names (and often their occupation and interests), but the affected people did not know who PYK was.

Is/was he even someone who should be making extensive changes to the wiki?

In fact, one of the adversely affected people --- PL = Peter Lewerin --- in one of his comments on PYK, used the phrase "he (or she?)".

Peter did not know if he was addressing a man or a woman.

And, more importantly, none of us 'adversely affected people' knew whether PYK is a person who was approved to be a 'wikignome'.

It took me a lot of detective work, but I finally found that 'PoorYorick' is Nathan Coulter --- a member of the 'Tcl (Community) Association'.

    (As of this writing, 2015apr29, I still do not know if Coulter was 'approved' to be a 'wikignome'.)

After I found out the real name, I put the line

PoorYorick = PYK = Nathan Coulter

near the top of the 'PYK' page of the wiki.

I expected Coulter to remove the line, but, to his credit, he finally identified himself on the 'PYK page' as Nathan Coulter.

    (But I have to wonder why he kept his name, and PoorYorick's Tcl Association membership, secret for so long --- for several years, up to early 2015, when I forced the issue.)

I have come to the end of this preface.

In the following section, there is an introduction to the 'wiki-editing issues', brought to a head by Nathan Coulter.

Again, my intent is to help save '' --- from havoc, and from the loss of any more Tcler's.

(See the Good-byes section below.)

I think the actual 'saving' needs to come from some people on a Tcl board and/or people from Active State.

There needs to be some clarification --- of 'wikignome' duties and how someone can become a wikignome with extensive editing permissions (a 'super-wikignome' or a 'root-wikignome' or a '2nd/3rd-degree-wikignome').

I suppose Wikipedia occasionally encounters an editor-gone-wild like this.

How do they handle the situation?

Forum sites usually call their 'wikignomes' 'moderators'.

What do we have in this case? An 'extremator'?

Maybe if 'approved wikignomes' on were given the official name of 'moderator', those moderators would take their title to heart --- and show some moderation in their editing.

I.e. the best editing is the least editing.

    (Typo corrections and minor coding improvements and very little beyond that. Major coding changes should go on a new page.)


In the time period of about 2011 to 2015, a person using the nickname 'Poor Yorick' and the initials 'PYK' was changing lots of pages on the Tcl-Tk Wiki at

'Poor Yorick' refers to himself as a 'wiki editor' --- on his 'Person' page on the Tcl-Tk Wiki.

According to his comments on that page, it is clear that he considers himself an 'administrator' of the Tcl-Tk wiki.

I have seen the term 'wikignome' used by someone on the wiki, for this function.

It turns out that 'Poor Yorick' is Nathan Coulter --- a member of the board of the 'Tcl (Community) Association'.

Perhaps someone on the board of the Tcl Association (Clif Flynt?) has designated him as a 'wikignome'.

Or, perhaps he has appointed himself.

That is not clear from the 'Tcl Association' page.

Unfortunately, Coulter is driving multiple contributors to the wiki 'up the wall'.

Not only does he change their pages on the wiki in ways that they do not condone, but he also frustrates the heck out of these contributors by

  • ignoring their pleas for him to refrain from many of his editing actions (and adding to their distress and frustration by rationalizing his actions very irrationally),

  • reformatting or re-organizing their contribution pages without telling them or asking for their approval,

  • telling them that they can un-do his edits if they wish (which is very time-consuming and time-wasting for them --- AND they often do not know what he has changed, since he does not notify them --- and he changes so many trivial things --- like line lengths and spacing around punctuation marks --- that the 'diff' utility of the wiki is of very little help in determining the significant changes),

  • changing, via flawed 'batch script' edits, Tcl-Tk code so that it no longer works,

  • sometimes accidentally deleting paragraphs and sentences that the contributors did not want deleted --- in the process of changing the organization or format of their content,

  • and sometimes deleting content on purpose --- over the objections of users of the wiki.

Coulter's editing actions seemed to be increasing in quantity in 2014 and 2015 --- AND several wiki contributors have taken the time to comment (on the wiki or on other Tcl-Tk forums) that they (the wiki-contributors)

  1. have given up wasting time trying to reason with Coulter, and

  2. are no longer putting their contributions on the wiki, because they cannot stand what Coulter is doing to their contributions.

Nathan Coulter has registered at some Tcl-Tk annual conferences as being associated with 'Metaladder' of Salt Lake City --- and sure enough, in some 'whois' information on the web, he shows as the administrative contact for some web sites that were registered by Metaladder Inc. at 8857 S. 1300 E. Sandy, Utah 84094--- web sites such as

Unfortunately, it seems that the business of Metaladder does not keep Coulter busy enough to limit his hours of editing activity on

In fact, it seems he is spending more time on edits than on Metaladder business.

Driving people away from the wiki

It appears that the Tcl-Tk Wiki web site ( is going to lose some conscientious, well-intentioned contributors to the wiki --- because of the frustrations and distractions and time-wasting that Nathan Coulter is 'foisting upon' these 'innocents'.

Unfortunately, certain 'organizers' in the Tcl-Tk community --- such as Clif Flynt and Arjen Markus --- organizers of the annual Tcl-Tk conferences --- do not seem to know (in 2014 and early 2015) the extent of the distress that Nathan Coulter is causing.

To help explain to them (or anyone else who cares about the Tcl-Tk community and the wiki at the depth of the distress, disruption, and flight-from-the-wiki that Coulter is causing, I have tried to collect-and-condense, into 3 sections below, the

  1. quotes from 'the distressed' --- suffering at the hands of Coulter

  2. Coulter's 'edicts' and rationalizations

  3. Tcler's 'good-byes' on the wiki.

Most of these distress-quotes and edicts-and-rationalizations are extracted from a 2015 March image of the Coulter 'Person' page.

As Coulter himself says near the top of his 'Person' page:

    As is evidenced by the discussions further down on this page, certain contributors to this wiki have become agitated about my activities on this wiki ...

That's putting it mildly.

His 'Person' page is getting quite lengthy (far more than 1800 lines in 2015 March) --- mainly due to 'discussions' with agitated contributors.

    (Coulter seems to like to call these 'discussions' 'chats' --- and he seems to think a major function of the wiki is to archive his lengthy chats, on various pages of the wiki.)

Quotes from distressed wiki-contributors

The contributor complaints about Coulter's edits start relatively mildly.

You will find that the stridency level increases as time goes on, in 2014.

(Some of the 'contributors' below who are 'pleading-for-respite-from-Coulter' are 'AMG', 'PL', 'EMJ', 'aspect', 'uniquename', 'samoc' --- even 'RLE', a 'wikignome' colleague of Coulter.)

    So that the wiki-contributors' comments are not drowned out by the lengthy rationalizations of Coulter, I have presented a brief indication of Coulter's replies.

    His lengthy rationalizations, edicts, declarations, and other ponifications are presented in a "Coulter's Edicts and Rationalizations" section below.

    The point of this 'distressed contributors' section is to show the amount of frustration and wasted-time that Coulter is causing.

    In other words, the point is to show the 'contributors' feelings without them being drowned out by Coulter's many words.

There is so much commentary from the 'contributors' that I have high-lighted in bold some of the 'high-lights' of the distress being expressed.

We start with a comment from AMG = Andy Goth.

    [AMG] circa February 2014? :
    Many pages on this wiki now use markup like this:


    The second close bracket is missing. I could be wrong about this, but I seem to recall that you did this format conversion in some kind of batch process. Do you still have a list of pages you edited in this way so the formatting can be corrected? I've found and fixed a few by hand, but it's a tedious process.

Note: This kind of comment proves not to be an exception. Coulter does not seem to want to admit that he is often creating a lot of work for other people to clean up. In many cases, the extensive edits that he has unilaterally decided to make were not worth the amount of havoc that Coulter creates.

Below, PL = Peter Lewerin. Here we have the beginnings of a long series of entreaties --- PL pleading with Coulter to show some restraint.

    [PL] 2014-03-01:
    Did you get permission from Jean-Luc Fontaine before rearranging his page?

    [PYK] 2014-03-01:
    No. Do you see that as a problem ? ... words words words ...

    PL 2014-03-01:
    I do see that as a major problem, and, frankly, I find your rather cavalier attitude to this quite upsetting. Regardless of whether he's active or not, the amount of and layout of the content on his page is his business, not yours.

    It IS up to you to get his approval first before changing it, not up to him to set you straight afterwards.

    [PYK] 2014-03-01:
    I'm sorry , Peter , but I completely disagree with that. ... words words words ...

    PL 2014-03-01:
    This wiki is not in any way ossified: it's alive and vibrant -- it's a pity you're not able to see that. People are constantly working to improve it and, yes, that includes changing the content of existing pages, though perhaps not in the radical way you seem to revel in. Changes need to be justified, and an editor MUST be able to balance the need for change against the value of existing structure.

    Your "Don't worry that someone might get offended or think your changes are wrong" attitude is alarming and completely inappropriate for a wiki editor. And you NEED TO STAY OFF personal pages.

    It's disrespectful as well as unnecessary to rearrange such pages. I'll revert Jean-Luc Fontaine's page for you, but I hope you'll avoid this mistake in the future.

    [PYK] 2014-03-01: Them's fightin' words , Pistol Pete !

EMJ steps in here, to aid PL:

    [EMJ] 2014-03-01:
    And that is a totally inappropriate response. This is not some social media site, it is a Wiki for users of a computer language. It doesn't have to be totally serious, and differences of opinion are definitely allowed, but it is not the place for someone who now seems to be basically looking for an argument. On the other hand, it is also not Wikipedia. There is no reason why all pages should have the same structure and headings, which seems to have been your goal for the past few months and which, in my opinion, has made some pages far less readable than they were originally.

      EMJ = Eric Junkermann
      Note: EMJ posted these 3 paragraphs on his Person page about 3 months later:

      On 26 May 2014 I pretty much lost interest in this wiki in the face of the enormous number of pages that have been turned into meaningless lists under inappropriate headings with any real content pushed off the immediately visible part of the page, and where the personality of past contributors has mostly been erased.

      On 22 Feb 2015 I said that this wiki is now well on the way to becoming one person's personal playground. [This is a reference to Coulter.]

      Some other people agreed with me (perhaps not as many as I should have liked, but more than PYK seems to think there are). There are comments on this scattered throughout the wiki, and a long thread on comp.lang.tcl (which I did not start and which has wandered into other types of problem with the wiki).

    [PYK] 2014-03-01:
    I'd say "reverting Jean-Luc Fontaine's page for me" [this is a quote from PL above] was the totally inappropriate response, but anyway, there are bound to be differences of opinion on how to improve the wiki. ... words words words ...

    [PL] 2014-03-02:
    I have noted, and I do appreciate, the hard work you have put in e.g. to make valuable corrections and to improve the layout of pages . However, working hard does not in itself mean doing good work. You're not the first person to come to this wiki with a mission to save it, start off by doing a lot of well-needed cleanup, and (in those earlier cases) end up causing a lot of more-or-less irreparable damage before leaving in a huff, declaring us all to be ungrateful bastards . I'm not here to fight you: I'd like to ''salvage'' you from ending up like that, if I can.

    I'd much prefer if people were saying "that PYK, he (she?) really knows how to put a wiki in order" compared to people saying "yeah, I used to work with the Tcler's wiki, but it's no use now when that PYK guy can turn up any moment and revise it all to hell". You're obviously a hard worker and have quite some eye for page organization, which is good, but there are a lot of things you seem to need to learn about wiki editing, and respecting boundaries and conventions is one of them.

      [PL, if you see this, look at the pictures at the top of this web page. PYK is a 'he'.]

    (To start with, it would be really helpful if you would quit breaking up paragraphs into packed lines. It's unnecessary, and makes it very hard to compare your new version with the old version either by diff or eyeball, which means mistakes can easily go unspotted. And when a mistake IS spotted (or, for that matter, if someone wants to revise the text further), your linebreaking makes it so much harder to fix the error without making the source text look ridiculous. It's not just a bad habit, it's counterproductive and you need to stop doing it.)

    (I just spent some time fixing the [dynamic language] page (and have tabbed up three or four other pages where you may possibly have introduced errors, to look at them more closely when I have time). You seem to have been in such a hurry to edit as many pages as possible that you accidentally(?) replaced a fairly correct definition with an incorrect one (two glaring errors). I could have just reverted it, but 1) I wanted to keep the rest of the changes you made, and 2) I felt the subject needed a better introduction.

    SLOW DOWN. There's no award for highest number of page edits, but we do need our content to be as correct as possible.)

Note: This is just the start of PL's dialog with Coulter. Read on.

    [PYK] 2014-03-02:
    I looked at the [dynamic language] page just now, and I still don't see the "two glaring errors" you mention. ... words words words ...

    [PL] circa 2014-03-02:
    On the [dynamic language] page , you wrote "source code for a program cannot be completely compiled prior to runtime", which is wrong, and "the source code itself is subject to modification at runtime", which is wrong. How is that preferable? Don't you think it matters if the text gets the facts right or not?

    Breaking long ''source code'' line remains a good idea (and the limitations of old TTY devices are only part of why that is the case). Breaking long text lines, not so much. You're transferring a convention from a context where it makes sense to a context where it's just in the way. You might as well, if this is all about respecting old conventions, require everyone to write in 7-bit ASCII only (it makes about as much sense, really, and would be less intrusive).

    Now, imagine adding a few sentences in the middle of your carefully formatted paragraph above? After doing all the work required, consider how your paragraph differs from mine, once the page is rendered. See?

    The damage can become irreparable in many ways, for instance when other people's edits become too entangled with yours .

    Pages created by a member/editor and named after them belong to them, simple as that. Minor edits can still be made to them, but restructuring the pages is out of the question, except with permission. And yes, I'm going to keep reverting the page .

    [PYK] circa 2014-03-02:
    The paragraphs don't differ at all in the rendering, but the line diff is likely to be smaller for the 79-column-constrained text. ... words words words ...

    [PL] circa 2014-03-02:
    For source code lines, where you typically add, remove, or alter a small substring, and where changes in one line typically don't affect or spread to the surrounding lines, the line diff is likely to be smaller.

    It's another matter with text lines. Changes tend to affect larger substrings to begin with, and after that you're going to have to justify the whole paragraph to 79 characters again, which will most likely propagate the change to the end of the paragraph (yes, even a single character changed in the first line might end up changing every line in the paragraph).

    In the end, you'll still have a big mess, only it's going to be LESS readable than if the paragraph was joined up to begin with. About the only convention that will avoid diffing problems is to stick to one-word lines, and we don't want that .

    Source code is a text string that provides one of the bases for the program definition. They are most certainly not the same thing and exchanging the terms alters the sense of what you are saying. Compilation is used in both static and dynamic languages and does not as such mark any difference (and you didn't say that anyway, you said that the source code of a dynamic-language program can't be completely compiled prior to runtime, which is untrue).

    Even if he [Jean-Luc Fontaine?] never comes back, keeping the structure of his page does not cause any problems for us. Richard Stallman is not a member of the wiki community and has not started the page that bears his name, and consequently has no special rights to it. Conversely, his page is fair game for any wiki user to edit.

    You say "in direct response to your statement that pages created by a member/editor and named after them belong to them: No they don't."

    Well, it's not your call. Even though you work hard and contribute a lot, you are still just another user, and even you will have to respect things like page ownership.

    [PL] 2014-03-03:
    This is to inform you that I've cleaned up the mess you made in the [Splitting strings with embedded strings]. If you wonder what it's about this time, you "improved" the solution so it didn't produce the correct result anymore. While I was at it, I rewrote the whole answer to be more educational.

    [PYK] 2014-03-03:
    What was it you objected to in [Splitting strings with embedded strings] ?

    PL circa 2014-03-03:
    I usually try to be patient with you, but right now you are making it very hard for me to do so. What was it I objected to? Let's see, could it possibly be the thing I mentioned in my previous comment? That you changed the solution to produce the wrong result? Nah, can't be, too easy. Right now, however, I mostly object to you messing with the page AGAIN.

      [Finally. PL is showing frayed nerves. His patience is astounding.]

    I found, and kept, one useful addition, the comment about using an XML parser: the rest was just you semi-randomly replacing content with garbage. Can it really be that you ''don't know'' that double quotes are illegal inside a double-quoted attribute value string in HTML? If you didn't know that (and this has to be considered fairly ''basic''), please leave the editing of pages like this to people who do know what they're talking about .

    [PYK] circa 2014-03-03: Yeah , I've actually had the notion for a very long time that double-quotes in [HTML] attribute values could be backslash-escaped, ... words words words ...

    [PL] 2014-03-04:
    What your code did was return the tag name instead of the name of the first attribute. It might seem like not a very big deal, since it's easy to notice that the code is wrong, and easy to correct it if you're in the mood. It looks bad, though, if someone randomly tests that snippet to assess the quality of the code on this site. I know your editing policy is rather the other way around, but at least when changing code one must be careful not to break things.

    OTOH, it would seem I just validated your policy of not bothering with the quality and correctness of the edit, because someone else is going to check it for you and fix it if it's no good. Can't say I feel great about that, but it would have been unsatisfying to just revert your changes since the page did need an overhaul.

    Speaking of reverting , I actually don't have a big problem with you copying Jean-Luc's mail address to his personal page as long as it is munged (which you have taken care of) and as long as he himself has provided the address at some point (which he has). You should have left a note pointing out that you are responsible for the addition, though. I don't know if [RLE] will approve -- that's his decision.

    What's a bit eyeroll-inducing is your complaining about that since you've removed the address from the stooop page it will be ''lost'' if we meanies won't let you put it on the personal page.

    Just add it back to the stooop page and everything will be solved. It's not a requirement that all personal pages have an email address, or that personal addresses only appear on the personal pages. It makes things a lot easier if people follow that practice, but it's both too much work and too intrusive to enforce it by rules or by editing.

    As a side note, you did scrape up Jean-Luc's address from somewhere else on the wiki, but something tells me you haven't tried contacting him ...

    Lastly, you left a note, which I deleted very quickly due to being very angry at that point, about using `%` pseudo-prompts and `# ->` return value markers (and `# =>` for output, which I didn't use here).

    I'm afraid it's a rather common convention both on this wiki and in many other places, and it does make the listings clearer. It's too bad if you find it ugly, but I'm not about to change it right away. (I might some time in the future, of course.)

    [PYK] circa 2014-03-04:
    It's a common convention , but ... words words words ...

    BTW, there's no record of Jean-Luc actually ever creating or editing his namesake page on this wiki.

    [PL] 2014-03-09:
    I'm going to have a lookaround to see what other people use. Myself, I actually prefer omitting the prompt characters since that format allows you to just copy and paste code into the interpreter. I was using this style mostly because I saw it as the standard convention for this wiki.

    Now, speaking of ugly, you seem to favor breaking lines containing nested commands directly after the opening square bracket. THAT is unusual and looks very off. Most people break the line before the opening square bracket or after the command. Your way of breaking the line saves you a backslash, but that may not actually be advantageous as the backslash provides a visual cue that the invocation continues on the next physical line. Strictly speaking, the opening bracket should provide a cue as well, but it's not as familiar.

    In the absence of evidence that someone else created the page, we should assume Jean-Luc made it.

    [PYK] 2014-03-19:
    I've been wondering how many people out there use that convention. I really like it. Yes, it's unfamiliar on this wiki, but familiarity is only a matter of time, and I think it's a fantastic way to avoid backslashes, which just make me itchy all over. .... words words words ...

    [PL] circa 2014-03-19:
    I find it atrocious, but to each his own. If you want to use it in your own code, by all means go ahead. If you change other people's code in this way (as you have on the page mentioned) I might change it back to the original author's style. That's another boundary you need to respect: coding style.


'aspect' steps in, to aid PL:

    [aspect] 2014-03-28:
    I know I'm breaking the flow of discussion on this page, but I'd like to add my voice to [PL]'s in suggesting that you please refrain from line-wrapping paragraphs in wiki pages. Regardless of arguments for or against adhering to 80 columns (which I submit are completely irrelevant to text that is edited in an html textarea), the diffs for edits which enforce this limit are entirely confusing and obfuscatory.

    As someone who likes to keep an eye on wiki activity via recent changes, this is quite painful and frustrating - I simply can't tell what changes you have made using any of the wiki's builtin diff capabilities. It's also worth observing that for other wiki editors to adopt your convention they would have to use an external editor which performs the line wrapping, which is not always an option - I can tell you that hand-wrapping paragraphs in a textarea is a tedious exercise :-) .

    [PYK] 2014-03-28:
    OK, Done. It's a deep part of my editing groove, so bear with me while I make the switch.

    [PYK] circa 2014-03-28:
    a little later, wishes the world could just accept [RFC] [|%2646] . Yer all unwashed heathens ;)


    [EMJ] circa 2014-03-28:
    But it's not about the length of the lines, it's about NOT CHANGING existing line boundaries for lines you aren't actually editing!

    [PYK] circa 2014-03-28:
    For me it's about giving pages a uniform text style . ... words words words ...

    [EMJ] circa 2014-03-28:
    Is there anyone else who cares what the raw text looks like? I care about the difference between "someone has fixed two spelling mistakes and added one new link" and "someone has re-written the whole thing", and this is a difference your edits are concealing!

    For pages that I care about , that difference is enormous, and I have to do my own comparison in the second case in case I have corrections.

    [PYK] 2014-03-26:
    Yes, I can see that that's a problem. I wonder if it could be solved with a more appropriate diff algorithm.

RLE steps in here, to the aid of EMJ:

    [RLE] 2014-03-26:
    Probably , but the wiki does not yet have that "more appropriate diff algorithm" installed. It has its current diff algorithm, which creates a lot of false differences for changes in line lengths, quite obscuring the actual changes in many instances. So until you've 1) discovered that "more appropriate" algorithm and 2) managed to get it installed as the wiki's diff algorithm, please don't change the line lengths for existing pages. It gives your edits an extremely low signal to noise ratio, making them much harder to follow for anyone else than they would otherwise be.

      [Thank you, RLE, for weighing in and trying to make a dent in the 'habits' of Coulter = PYK.]

    [aspect] circa 2014-03-26:
    FWIW, while I think writing a text-wrapping-aware diff algorithm would be a thankless task, I can see merit in a wiki page renderer for text/plain that reflows paragraphs to 79 characters (or any other specified width). This should be a pretty straightforward matter, applying the wiki's formatting rules to text-blocks that have first been un-wrapped to show their LOGICAL structure (WINK).

We get a welcome relief from this thread started by 'PL' --- as 'AMG' weighs in with more pages that Coulter's edits have screwed up --- causing AMG stress and wasted time. Let's listen in:

    [AMG] circa 2014-03-26? :
    Whatever external editor you're using doesn't play nice with non-ASCII characters. See [] for an edit you made which had the side effect of converting "????????" (Eurobyte) to question marks "????????" .

    [AMG] circa 2014-03-26? :
    It happened again! Now see [] .

    [AMG] circa 2014-03-26? :
    And again. []. Please, please fix your editor! This Wiki used to be plagued with encoding corruption problems due to bad browsers, and lots of time was sunk into cleaning up after everyone's edits. Don't bring this old problem back. Question marks are even worse than the [|%mojibake] we were getting because they're stealthy .

    [PYK] circa 2014-03-26? :
    I've got this fixed now, and will try to make sure [vim] doesn't end up in latin-1 mode whenever I'm editing this wiki.

    [AMG] circa 2014-03-26? :
    The problem happened again. See []. I fixed it in the subsequent edit .

    [AMG] circa 2014-03-26? :
    Haha, in the process of editing this section, I see the above Eurobyte was also corrupted at some point.

    [PYK] 2015-02-23:
    Arggh! I've been playing musical laptops lately, and every time I install gvim in Windows and forget to add "set encoding=utf-8" to the rc file, I end up in gvim's default latin1 mode. If only the gvim default was utf-8! Thanks for catching it (again). I've added the configuration to my rc file on this computer. I know , I know. I should be using fossil to manage my rc files across computers. It's on the to-do list.

    [AMG] date? :
    You lost my sample code at [] when you moved the terminal stuff from [ANSI] to [terminal control sequence]. I added it back []. Please be more careful!

And now we get someone breaking this little conversation between 'AMG' and Coulter --- as 'EMG' weighs in with some observations. Observe Coulter's fixation with putting a space before all punctuation:

    [EMJ] circa 2014-05-10? :
    In normal English usage, a comma immediately follows the preceding word and is followed by a space. There MAY be cases where an EXTRA space in front is a good idea, but there is always a space after.

    [PYK] circa 2014-05-10? :
    I prefer to place the space before the comma ,like this . Language is a bush .

    [EMJ] circa 2014-05-10? :
    So what other easily accessible things may I read that consistently do that ?

    [PYK] circa 2014-05-10? :
    [|%Transact-SQL Formatting Standards (Coding Styles)], Robert Sheldon , 2009-08-25 . I think the space-before-comma style makes more sense in English as well . Come to think of it ,I rather like this space-around-sentence-terminators style as well . Come to think of it , maybe commas would also look better that way . Yeah , they do ! '' [pyk] walks off enormously-satisfied with this new puncuation scheme . . . ''

    [EMJ] circa 2014-05-10? :
    He doesn't actually recommend any single format, and he's talking about a COMPUTER LANGUAGE !!! In case you didn't notice, every comma in the English text of the article has a space after and not before. If he didn't write it like that someone at the publishers will have changed it, because it's the normal standard for written English.

      [NOTE: Let me, the author of this web page interject here :
      If you put a space before a period, sometimes the period ends up on the next line by itself. It happened to me with some of the space-before-period lines of PYK on this web page. There's a reason why publishers do the things they do. But I guess PYK has to learn the hard way, and we all have to suffer as he learns --- or stubbornly insists on his way.]

    [PYK] circa 2014-05-10? :
    PYK is amused by the irony of Tcltrippers that have problems with non-standard use of punctuation marks !

      [NOTE: Another interjection by the author of this web page :
      He laughs at the distress and frustration and wasted-time he causes. <sarcasm>Nice guy.</sarcasm> He is totally clueless about the 'unintended consquences' of his way-too-many edits.]

    [EMJ] circa 2014-05-10? :
    EMJ is not particularly amused at being referred to as a "Tcltripper". You seem to have made up the term (nothing in Google) and it doesn't sound to me as if it's meant to be complimentary. I like Tcl, I have written lots of stuff using it (never for money, though I have written lots of stuff in lots of computer languages for money), but there is no way I am comfortable with that term.

    More importantly, there is no correlation whatsoever between the use of punctuation characters in any computer (or mathematical) language and their usage in a written human language. Computer languages need to use punctuation (and other non alpha-numerics) for special purposes - trying to avoid that leads to COBOL at one end of the spectrum (though a missing full stop can be a nightmare bug), or APL at the other (invents loads of its own characters, though many of them are "borrowed" from somewhere).

    Human languages have their own rules, which do evolve, but written language evolves much more slowly than spoken language, and unusual usages in writing tend to say "subculture" or "unprofessional" or "ignorant". Even the first is often viewed as a negative .

    [PYK] 2014-05-10:
    Yes , that's precisely the irony I'm refering to . The unusual use of punctuation in Tcl has lead programmers to be biased against it in exactly the way you describe , even as they fail to see its superiority ;)

    ... words words words ...

At this point 'uniquename' weighs in with some agreement with 'PL' and 'EMJ'.

    [uniquename] 2014-05-28 :

    I would just like to let 'PL' and 'EMJ' (whose comments on PYK's 'behavior' on this wiki are posted above) know that I agree with them. In particular, I think PL's statement that PYK's "attitude is alarming and completely inappropriate for a wiki editor" is RIGHT ON.

    I think PL is showing amazing restraint in his 'discussions' with PYK.

    A growing number of my code contribution pages on this wiki have suffered at the hand of PYK. For example, I take offense to the fact that he changes section headings so that they have a little blue 'edit' link next to each section heading. I think this is a distraction for the reading of the text. Furthermore, it serves no useful purpose because anyone who wants to make a comment can make it by simply inserting their name and date along with their comment ---preferably at the bottom of the page unless there are compelling reasons to alter the author's text flow by inserting the comment in the body of the text . (There needs to be a few 'sign-posts' on this wiki that advise people to add the day's date along with their added comments. Examples of the failure to do this abound just above.)

    How are wiki editors (a.k.a. wikignomes) 'licensed to edit' (OTHER PEOPLE'S content and formatting) on this wiki? Are they approved by Clif Flynt or some governing board? Are they self-appointed? I think any wikignome should be required to contribute at least 10 original scripts on this wiki before they qualify to be a wikignome. And there needs to be some clarity on who is the contact for complaints about the behavior of 'wikignomes'.

    [PYK] 2014-05-28 : Blaise , no need to speak in third person on my namesake page - I'm right here ! ... words words words ...

    [uniquename] 2014-06-09:
    I KNOW you are right here. That is why I put these comments on this page. So you can see the comments. But you have proved by many of your comments above that you are insensitive and clueless. There is no sense in me trying to change your mind on anything because it [your mind] is made up. So I talk to 'PL', not to you. Like 'PL' says above (on your drastically changing people's pages, even when they are still alive, without checking with them first): "I find your rather cavalier attitude to this quite upsetting." I would replace 'rather cavalier' with 'extremely cavalier'.

    You seem to think we all have time to check all our pages on this wiki for changes that you have made, and then undo them if we do not like your changes. No. That is not the right approach. (Especially since we will have to keep checking the pages to see if you changed them back again because you are convinced that you are The Arbiter-in-Chief.) Unless it is something minor (like a spelling error), you should not be making major changes to people's pages. I do not have time to be checking for changes you have made [on more than 60 pages of code and text that I have contributed to the wiki].

    By the way, I just saw (a couple of days ago) that you replaced the code of a large script on one of my pages and left the message that if I wanted to change it back, I could start a new page. No. That is not appropriate behavior. You should start the new page, not me. In fact, I was going to return to that script in the next few months and add a pretty significant enhancement.

    I am not dead (yet). And I am not inactive on this wiki. Keep your clueless hands off of my pages until you check with me. And keep your hands off of most other pages, like the Fontaine page that you and PL talk about above. If I look at Fontaine's page, I would like to see what HE wrote --- not your droppings.

    By the way, your website link at the top of this page and on the [Tcl'ers] page seems to be dead. How about editing that?

    [PYK] 2014-06-10:

    The page [uniquename] is referring to above is [Functional Imaging with a High-Capacity GUI] .

    ... words words words ...

    If the edits of an individual become disruptive to the wiki , the people to contact are Jos Decoster, Clif Flynt, Steve Landers, Colin McCormack, Steve Redler, or (ahem) me .

Well, Coulter let the comments of 'uniquename' roll off his back. He continued to re-format uniquename/Blaise's pages without informing him. He continues with his "I'm right and all of you are wrong" ways. Now we have a run-in with 'samoc'.

    [PYK] circa 2014-06-10? :
    JSON is yet another syntax that is inferior to Tcl , yet somehow has gained more traction .

    [samoc] circa 2014-06-10? :
    What a load of .... A syntax is "inferior"? It has "gained" what? How is this useful information for Tcl users.

    I for one have had enough of the attitude of "PYK". If I want streams of ignorant opinion I'll go and read YouTube comments.

    This wiki is intended to allow Tcl professionals to share experience and information. This page is here to help people who need to use JSON with Tcl.

    PYK, please act like an adult. Your behaviour is not welcome on our wiki. Some of us are trying help each other to get serious work done.

    [PYK] circa 2014-06-10? :
    Rregarding samoc's criticism , my criteria in this case are ... words words words ...

So much for this 'run-in' between Coulter and 'samoc'. Let's check in on a comment from 'aspect', from whom we have not heard since 2014-03-28, above.

    [aspect] 2015-03-06:
    For my blood pressure, I'm going to have to stop watching recent changes. Your latest batch of edits have removed useful information from some pages. (I restored only one - the note about "last updated in 2003" in [FBSQL]) and reintroduced a bunch of stylistic issues that have been discussed to death a year ago ([RLE] has been fixing space-comma).

    I still find "A list is not a data structure" in the main text of [list] highly disturbing. I'm clearly not alone in feeling you respond incredibly poorly to feedback, and finding you impossible to collaborate with.

    I feel a bit silly getting so worked up about a wiki, so time to join less patient folks like [EMJ], [PL] and others who in vain voiced their concern on the recent clt [ comp.lang.tcl ] thread. Good bye and good luck.

Rationalizations (and 'edicts') of Coulter

It appears that while Coulter was having the 'exchanges' (outlined above) --- with 'PL' and 'EMJ' and 'AMG' and 'aspect' and 'samoc' et. al. --- in 2014, Coulter was forming in his mind the 'rules of wiki editing' that would justify his various editing actions on

Around the end of 2014 or early 2015, Coulter posted a set of 'expectations' at the top of his 'PYK' Person page, on the wiki.

This set of about a dozen 'expectations' (which sound to me like 'edicts') appear to be designed so that he can refer to them at any time in the future --- to justify his various wiki-editing actions.

Coulter writes under an 'Expectations' section at the top of his 'Person' page:

    I continue to get the impression ... that ... contributors begrudge even having to engage in these discussions in the first place. I've come to the conclusion that it's not just a question of etiquette, but of fundamental expectations about the nature of this wiki. I don't currently know how to reconcile those difference. What they want the wiki to be is not what I want it to be.

Note: First, Coulter thinks we all have time to indulge his desire for 'discussions'. Second, Coulter apparently thinks he, and only he, has the proper idea of what the wiki should be. This is the kind of inflexible, dictatorial attitude that is driving contributors away. In fact, he says:

    This wiki is a resource for the community, and all content is subject to editing by anyone.

Note: Coulter is using this 'unilateral edict' (of his) as an excuse to edit anyone's content, without notifying them and without checking first whether the person agrees with the (non-trivial) edits he wants to perform. He says:

    No individual owns any page, not even their namesake page.

Note: Coulter is essentially declaring that he has the right to edit anyone's namesake/Person page, without consulting with them first.

In fact, he goes on to say:

    It is never necessary to ask for permission to make an edit.

Note: There it is. Coulter came right out and said it. He believes he can change anyone's pages (in any way --- not just little things like correcting typo's) without their permission.

This poor excuse for a human being talks of etiquette above. Where is the etiquette in his attitudes and actions? He does not know the meaning of the word etiquette --- OR, in re-reading what he said about etiquette above carefully, it appears that he may be saying that etiquette has no place on the Tcl-Tk wiki.

Coulter also says (declares) :

    ... a wiki is intrinsically contention-based. A contributor should be ready and willing to take the time necessary to defend their position.

Note: Coulter has no clue as to how many man-hours of people's time he is wasting by dragging them into 'discussions' on his 'unilateral, unannounced' edits. He has no respect for people's time. He seems to be very needy. He wants lots of attention. He should get a cat. He should get ten cats.

Coulter also says (apparently with a straight face) :

    Collaborative editing can require extreme patience and indulgence. A contributor should meet unwelcome edits with a good nature and a willingness to engage in the game. It's almost always best to resist the temptation to take offense at other contributors. There is usually something to be learned, even from the conversation with the jerk that's insulting your mother, kicking your dog, and questioning your sexuality.

Note: Coulter calls what he is doing 'collaborative editing'. Where is the collaboration? He unilaterally edits and declares that he does not have to ask for permission. I don't mind being a jerk to this jerk. I don't question his sexuality (I could care less) --- but I DO question his sanity.

Note: He also calls for 'willingness to engage in the game'. Again, he has no respect for other people's time. Causing people wasted time and anguish is a game to him. And, with these words, he exhibits again an inordinate need for attention. If ten cats aren't enough, Coulter, get some dogs.

Coulter is not finished --- not by a long shot. He goes on to say :

    It is not necessary to use external side channels to get approval or build consensus in advance for controversial edits. The wiki *IS* the side channel, and consensus can be hashed out right here on its pages. However discussions may be moved off to another page .

Note: What is this 'side channel' he is talking about? It seems that he is saying that he does not have to ask any 'Tcl (Community) Association' board members for permission to do his edits. (Note that he is obviously admitting here that many of his edits are controversial.)

It seems that he has appointed himself Chairman of the 'Tcl (Community) Association'.

Hey, Clif Flynt! Are you aware of all these statements this apparent friend of yours is making???

Coulter goes on to say :

    In the case of an edit conflict, a contributor should attempt to explain their position and rationale - again and again and again, and also to rethink their position - again and again and again.

Note: Again, Coulter shows that he has no respect for other people's time. He thinks they have nothing better to do than to explain themselves to HIM - again and again and again. AND that shows, again, that he is 'high-maintenance' --- he is in need of constant attention --- via the relative anonymity (and safety) of the wiki.

It is apparent that 'rethink their position - again and again and again' means that he thinks that everyone should come around to his way of thinking.

Before that happens, people will just abandon the wiki. It is not worth it to them to waste their time. Some quotes above --- like "good bye and good luck" --- from exasperated contributors --- demonstrate that they would rather flee than waste any more time in 'explaining their position again and again and again'.

Coulter goes on to say :

    This wiki is a good place to chat with other Tclers.

Note: One of Coulter's 'expectations' for the wiki is for it to be a chat site. There is that need for attention again. I don't think that ten cats and ten dogs will be enough.

Coulter goes on to say :

    A contributor who is right, and gets angry because another conributor is wrong, might as well go off and maintain their own website, as they are bound to be disappointed here .

Note: Coulter, by his actions --- his edicts and edits --- is guaranteeing that that will happen. See quotes of disgusted contributors above. In fact, my future 'tkGooie' developments will go on my web site first --- into the FE (Freedom Environment) 'tkGooies' sub-system --- and then, maybe, onto

Coulter goes on to say :

    This wiki needs a greater diversity of editors. If you are a teen or know someone who is, please encourage them to start contributing !

Note: What the wiki needs more than a diversity of editors is one less editor --- an editor by the name of Nathan Coulter. He is making this wiki become some sort of nightmare --- a rehab center for Nathan Coulter.

The following comments by Coulter speak volumes as to his audacity and his cluelessness as to how much of people's time he is wasting.

    [PYK] 2015-03-06:
    In today's edits I did remove a good amount of information that I deemed unhelpful or outdated , and I think the wiki is better off without that info . ... I'll be paying attention to what people bring back and will use that information to inform subsequent edits ...

    If I deleted information you thought should not have been deleted , bring it back . I'll notice .

      [Right. I will check my 60-plus lengthy pages on the wiki, almost daily --- both code and text --- for your changes, Coulter. That is a good use of my time. Cheez. I long for the days when Keith Vetter and Richard Suchenwirth were dominant figures on the wiki. They were true contributors who did not think they needed to change-the-heck out of other people's postings on this wiki. Coulter has turned the wiki into sh*t. I guess I should say that with a string of dots, as 'samoc' did above.] PYK continued:

    The space-comma occurrences that [RLE] has been removing are what remain from older edits from last year , not any newer edits . I'm trying to remember to search through pages that I edit and change space-comma to comma-space , but so far [RLE] has been more vigilant about that than me .

      [Gee. It appears that Coulter has gone through some immaculate transformation. Someone has convinced him that space-before-all-punctuation-marks is not a good idea. BUT ... note all these space-comma and space-period occurrences in these paragraphs from Coulter's own Person page. I can't avoid wondering if RLE is good-naturedly cleaning up after Coulter's messes.]

    I spent about 12 hours on today's wiki edits , and managed to clear a few pages that were filled with redundant information . It's easy to overlook how painstaking cleanup work is , and I seem to be the only one doing it .

NOTE: Even after all the comments from 'contributors' above who are asking him to refrain from doing so much editing, he continues to think he is not doing enough. And he seems to want thanks, in spite of all the wasted time he has caused --- time that could have been spent on more productive activities.

Why does Coulter think someone wants him to do such extensive, obsessive-compulsive editing?

Is there someone on the board of the 'Tcl (Community) Association' who is leading him on?

OR is it the voices in his head that are leading him on?

Section 3. GOOD-BYES

I have collected here some of the 'good-byes' from some of the wiki contributors who finally became exhausted from their labors in trying to reason with Coulter.

EMJ's good-bye:

On EMJ's Person page (EMJ = Eric Junkermann), EMJ posted the following parting comments.

    [But first note that I have inserted some explanatory comments, for the benefit of those who have not experienced Coulter's edits and for those who have not been 'steeped' in the 'discussions' that have transpired between Coulter and EMJ --- and between Coulter and other wiki-contributors, like PL and others. I have also highlighted certain phrases that are worth noting, for those who do not want to read every word.]

"On 26 May 2014 I pretty much lost interest in this wiki in the face of the enormous number of pages that have been turned into meaningless lists under inappropriate headings with any real content pushed off the immediately visible part of the page, and where the personality of past contributors has mostly been erased."

    [This is a polite reference to PYK's editing.]

"On 22 Feb 2015 I said that this wiki is now well on the way to becoming one person's personal playground."

    [The 'one person' referred to here is PYK.]

"Some other people agreed with me (perhaps not as many as I should have liked, but more than PYK seems to think there are)."

    [Ah, finally, EMJ mentions PYK. But the 'casual reader' is probably not going to make the connection between 'one person' and PYK.

    I agree with you, 'EMJ' --- as do 'PL' and 'aspect'. And there are, no doubt, others --- but most of them have (probably wisely) decided not to waste their time in putting their comments on]

    EMJ finishes with:

"There are comments on this scattered throughout the wiki, and a long thread on comp.lang.tcl (which I did not start and which has wandered into other types of problem with the wiki)."

    [That comp.lang.tcl thread was started by 'PL'. See his good-bye below. Unfortunately, exactly as EMJ mentions, each time someone comments on the inappropriateness of many of PYK's wiki edits, the discussion seems to get diverted into details about Tcl syntax and Tcl command descriptions --- or diverted into complaints about the software used to manage the wiki. Hence a main reason for this page: to keep the 'inappropriate editing' discussion on track --- and to not shy away from mentioning the identifiers 'PoorYorick' or 'PYK' or 'Nathan Coulter'. The ultra-politeness of not indicating who the 'one person' is just makes people wonder what (and who) the complaints are about.]

PL's good-bye:

On PL's Person Page (PL= Peter Lewerin), PL placed parting comments, after about a year of long-running (and obviously-frustrating) discussions with 'PoorYorick', on the 'PYK' Person page. See some of PL's discussions in the "Tcler's Distress" section above. PL's brief 'parting comments' follow.

"In 2015, he [PL = Peter Lewerin is referring to himself in the 3rd person] found he could no longer tolerate the editing policies which he strongly believed were degrading the content."

    [This is a polite reference to PYK's editing.

    It is amazing to me that, after a year of more-and-more heated 'exchanges' with Coulter, PL does not mention 'PoorYorick' or 'PYK' in his good-bye. (PL still did not know, at the time of this good-bye, that PoorYorick is Nathan Coulter, so PL would not have known to identify the person who goaded him into this good-bye as Nathan Coulter. But why not clarify the situation by mentioning PYK as executor of the 'editing policies' that PL mentions here??)]

    PL quickly finishes with:

"Unable to change the policies, he [PL] decided to leave. On leaving, he [PL] deleted some of the pages that seemed to be interesting mostly to himself, but left others that might still be of general interest."

aspect's good-bye:

On PoorYorick's Person Page (PoorYorick = PYK = Nathan Coulter), 'aspect' placed parting comments --- after a months-long, obviously-frustrating 'discussion' with PoorYorick. Here are those 'parting comments', from the 'PYK' page.

"aspect 2015-03-06:
For my blood pressure, I'm going to have to stop watching recent changes."

"Your [PYK's] latest batch of edits have removed useful information from some pages (I restored only one - the note about 'last updated in 2003' in FBSQL) and reintroduced a bunch of stylistic issues that have been discussed to death a year ago (RLE has been fixing space-comma). I still find 'A list is not a data structure' in the main text of list highly disturbing."

    'fixing space-comma' is a reference to PYK's decision to use code to sweep through wiki pages and put a space before all comma's and periods. This is a bad idea on HTML pages because it can lead to flowed paragraphs in which some lines start with a period or a comma --- instead of the period or comma being on the previous line, as the original author intended. Book publishers do not publish their books with a space before periods and commas. Good luck, RLE, in reverting all those changes by PYK.]

"I'm clearly not alone in feeling you [PYK] respond incredibly poorly to feedback and [I'm clearly not alone in] finding you impossible to collaborate with."

    [I think that Clif Flynt, Arjen Markus, and various Tcl-Tk support people at Active State --- who probably refer corporate customers to the wiki for help on Tcl-Tk details --- would be very concerned about PYK's behavior as summarized by this statement. This statement could have come from PL, EMJ, me, or many other Tcler's. There are many who would agree with this statement.]

"I feel a bit silly getting so worked up about a wiki, so time to join less patient folks like EMJ, PL and others who in vain voiced their concern on the recent clt [comp.lang.tcl] thread."

"Good bye and good luck."

    [This reference to 'the recent comp.lang.tcl thread' is the same thread that EMJ referred to above. It is a thread titled 'Declining quality on the Tcler's Wiki', which was started by 'PL'. Like EMJ said, that thread 'wandered into other types of problem with the wiki'.

    Unfortunately, various people posting to that thread simply read the title and did not notice PL's words near the top of his original post:

      "... in the last few years I have seen some content problems. Mostly these have to do with Poor Yorick's attitude towards wiki management. When I noticed that he had been rewriting some articles to contain demonstrably false content, I confronted him. ..."

    In other words, the 'Declining quality' to which PL was referring was declining quality caused by 'PoorYorick' (Nathan Coulter).

    Many of the comments on that thread 'wandered' into other wiki-topics --- and did not address PL's main issue --- the declining quality caused by Coulter's editing.

'PL' and 'aspect' showed AMAZING patience :

Note that 'EMJ' got frustrated with 'PYK' a lot faster than 'PL' and 'aspect' did. It took 'EMJ' only a month or two to recognize the futility of trying to reason with 'PYK'. It took 'PL' and 'aspect' about a year. 'EMJ' said his good-byes in early 2014. 'PL' and 'aspect' said their good-byes in early 2015.

I ('uniquename') said my good-byes in early 2015 --- after about a month of observing the time-wasting, futile discussions that 'PL' and 'EMJ' and 'aspect' were having with 'PYK' --- and after about two months of assembling my (approximately 60) code contributions into a 'tkGooies' system at the FE (Freedom Environment) web site at

The bottom line :

Someone in the 'Tcl (Community) Association' needs to revoke Coulter's 'license to edit'.

Bottom of the
Nathan Coulter = Poor Yorick = PYK
- Why He Must Go

    This FE web page was created 2015 Mar 22 ---- to try to clarify the amount of distress, distraction, wasted-time, etc. that Coulter is causing to contributors to the Tcl-Tk Wiki.

To return to a previously visited web page location, click on the Back button of your web browser a sufficient number of times. OR, use the History-list option of your web browser.
OR ...

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Page history:

Page was changed 2015 Apr 29.
(Added 'Good-byes' section, and a 'Preface'.)

Page changed 2015 Apr 30.
(Some small modifications and additions.)

Page was changed 2019 Jul 15.
(Added css and javascript to try to handle text-size for smartphones, esp. in portrait orientation. Specified image widths in percents to size the images according to width of the browser window. Some minor reformatting of paragraphs.)