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ITERATE, DEFINE, WHEN, cells, etc.

Why are people so hot to change the report?  Many of these questions
(such as that of ITERATE and its alternatives) were discussed last fall,
and we agreed that we couldn't agree, so the features got omitted.  The
report seems mostly fine to me, and given how strongly people feel about
iteration primitives, DEFINE, and everything else, I don't think it's
worth rocking the boat again.  Perhaps not everyone who is participating
in current discussions has an understanding of how strong the
disagreements are, or perhaps they forget that we agreed that
controversial features are to be ommitted, unless their absence gravely
compromises the ability to express programs at all.

If anything, the report should be pruned, not expanded.  It is already
much larger than most of us would like it to be.  My suggestion that
 (IF A B)  be changed from essential to optional was an attempt to remove
something I thought was both redundant and controversial, and I thought
it a reasonable suggestion, for symmetry with the optionality of
 (DEFINE (F X) Y) ; the fact that there's been so much argument just
supports my proposal that it be removed from the essential dialect!  In
any case, I think we should concern ourselves with inconsistencies and
redundancies, not with questions which were settled (by agreeing to not
settle them) long ago.  The most serious omissions (numbers, strings,
and I/O) have already been addressed.  These other features are simply
not in that class (although I suppose that this meta-point is what the
arguments are about, in part).

Please, be conservative, and consider that if you are likely to meet
implacable opposition, it is probably better to be quiet.  If you have a
new proposal which is just so good that you think everyone will like it,
by all means submit it, but remember that most of us are fanatical
minimalists, and have incompatible measures of minimality.  Form models
of other peoples' viewpoints and modify your speeches accordingly.

Please forgive me for this outburst, but I felt things were getting a
bit out of hand.  This is not to say that many recent messages have not
been reasonable and good.