So apparently people think of the Python documentation as a snore-fest
. Compared to the Perl documentation, it apparently lacks wit and other entertaining qualities.
I don't want to dispute the main points, but note that this issue brings up an interesting point about the role of humor in different cultures. It is said that humor pervades every aspect of life in Anglo-Saxon cultures (an often cited example being president Reagan's "Honey, I forgot to duck"
after being shot). Everyone is supposed and encouraged to show "humor and grace", even under pressure and in so-called "serious" situations. The British even go so far as to ridicule people taking themselves too seriously.
In contrast, Germans usually frown upon this kind of ever-present humorous subtext. There is humor, but it is assigned specific places and situations in life. People "joking" all the time are seen as "clowns" and dismissed quickly as incompetent fools. The lack of humor in everyday life is then invariably overcompensated in events like German carnival, which mostly consists of people trying so obsessively to be funny it's a sad thing to behold. I know, this is shameful. But at least you can't say we don't have any
sense of humor.
Now, back to my two cents about the docs. I assume the Perl docs to be written mostly by Larry Wall and other Americans, while a good part of the Python docs were written by Guido himself, at least in the beginning. Others followed the style already present. Now, this is pure speculation on my part, but it may well be that the Dutch culture handles humor similar to the German one. I'm not implying Guido has a questionable sense of humor -- on the contrary, as his choice of name for Python shows -- but it probably just didn't occur to him to put jokes, allusions, word-plays, etc. into the text. And if that kind of style doesn't come naturally to you, it will seem artificial.
Just my two cents, of course.