On Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 09:08:31PM -0000, Keara Berlin wrote:
Hi all, this is a very small change, but I thought I would field it here to see if anyone has suggestions or ideas. Instead of requiring that comments be written in Strunk & White Standard English, PEP-8 should require instead that English-language comments be clear and easily understandable by other English speakers.
"Clear and easily understandable" is subjective. What is clear and understandable to me may be impenetrably confusing to others, or obnoxiously dumbed down.
Language that is clear and understandable to a Geordie, Brummie or Weegie could be incomprehensible to others. I've intentionally used only examples of white people here because this issue is not about "people of color" and it transcends parochial concerns about race.
How would you feel about this as documentation for collections.deque?
"If maxlen is set and the deque is chockers, appending a new item at one end will chuck out the item at the other end."
That's perfectly clear and understandable to me and me mates.
Strunk & White (which, by the way is not my first choice, not by a long, long way) at least offers a common standard that anyone can use, regardless of skin colour or native language. Far from putting up barriers, it levels the playing field by agreeing on a set of rules when we have a doubt about idiomatic written English.
We don't have to engage in tedious arguments about whether Indian English or Singlish or Derry English or Pennsylvania Dutch English are "correct" or better or worse, we just have to agree on a set of rules to decide the troublesome cases.
And this especially goes for people whose native tongue is no dialect of English at all, but a "foreign" language (except of course it's not foreign to them, English is the foreign language).
This accomplishes the same goal without alienating or putting up barriers for people (especially people of color) whose native dialect of English is not Standard English.
No, it doesn't accomplish the same goal. It strips us of a common set of standards and divides us instead of bringing us together.
We have been remarkably light on arguments about grammar and spelling in the docs because we had a common standard. It is not a standard I like, and the American-centric spelling offends my sensibilities, but having a standard is better than on-going arguments about who is correct and who isn't.
This change is a simple way to correct that while maintaining the original intent of the requirement. This change may even make the requirement more clear to people who are not familiar with Strunk & White, since for programmers, the main relevant aspect of that standard is "be clear and concise;" simply saying that instead of referencing Strunk & White may communicate this more effectively.
That's prejudicial against neuro-atypical programmers (of whom there are many) who are not certain what clear and concise should mean. Clear and concise according to whom, according to what rules?
I dislike Strunk and White, and don't follow it myself (except by accident, as it were) but I've worked with neuro-atypical programmers who found it really useful to have a common standard that they could follow and reduce the uncertainty of what makes for good writing.