The Tragedy of the Common Lisp:

Why Large Languages Explode

Adapted from a 2015 es-discuss thread. “Common Lisp” is not the topic. It serves only as one of many illustrative counter-examples.

I have been on the JavaScript standards committee (TC39) since 2007. On TC39, we appreciate the value of language simplicity. But over time, we have lost our vigilance against encroaching complexity. We must better understand how that happens naturally, what the costs are if left unchecked, and what to do about it. This essay is addressed not just to TC39, but to all those…