On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 1:36 PM, Stephen J. Turnbull <stephen@xemacs.org> wrote:
Pascal Chambon writes:

 > So could't we smoothen edges, in order to keep the discusion as it's
 > supposed to be - a harmless sharing of pros and cons arguments, which
 > endangers no one's life -

In discussions about Python development, misuse of the term "Pythonic"
to support one's personal preference is not harmless.  It leads to
confusion of newbies, and ambiguity in a term that is already rather
precise, and becoming more so with every PEP (though it is hard to
express in a few words as a definition).  The result is that the BDFL
may use that term at his pleasure, but the rest of us risk being
brought up short by somebody who knows better.

 > instead of having it randomly turned into a  confrontation of egos,

This was not a random event.  It was triggered by, *and responded only
to*, the misuse of the word "Pythonic".


I guess it's never occurred to me, and I wouldn't have thought it would be immediately clear to everyone, that Pythonic simply means "Whatever BDFL thinks". I've always thought it meant "elegant and in keeping with the design philosophy of Python", and up for discussion and interpretation by everyone. I never thought that it would be used as a means of *preventing* discussion about what was or was not 'Pythonic'. *Obviously*, BDFL's opinions on the language are authoritative, but that doesn't make them beyond discussion.

This is the Python Ideas list, not the dev-list, and I was discussing my own interpretation, not trying to force anyone on anything. To recall a quote I heard once, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts". I would have thought that expressing ones' opinion about what is or is not Pythonic is a wonderful thing to encourage. It's like encouraging people to discuss what elegant code looks like, or the merits of a piece of writing.

I thought was very clear that I was talking about my interpretation of what was Pythonic, and clear that I was in no way talking about trying to claim authority. I feel a bit like I've been targetted by the thought police, truth be told, although that overstates matters. I didn't think I was in any way saying "My way is absolutely more Pythonic, you should all think like me", but much more along the lines of, "Hey, I think my solution captures something elegant and Pythonic, surely that's worth talking about even if there are some practical considerations involved".  I just thought I'd be clear in saying "seems to me to be more Pythonic" rather than "is more Pythonic".

Where are people going to talk freely about their interpretation of what is and isn't Pythonic, if not the ideas list? I'm also subscribed to the python-dev list, and I've never attempted to force an opinion there. Isn't *this* list the right place to have conversations about these concepts? I don't think people should be pulled short for talking about Pythonicity, just for trying to impose their world-view. That's what rubs wrongly -- being told you're not even supposed to *talk* about something, or not be entitled to an opinion on something. I would have thought that getting involved in discussing the Zen of Python is something that should be a part of everyone's learning and growth, rather than something which is delivered like a dogma. That's not to say there isn't a right answer on many issues, but it has to be acceptable to discuss the issues and to hold personal opinions.

Cheers,
-T