On Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 8:21 PM James Lu email@example.com wrote:
Is that really an issue here? I personally haven't seen threads where Brett tried to stop an active discussion, but people ignored him and kept fighting.
Not personally with Brett, but I have seen multiple people try to stop the “reword or remove beautiful is better than ugly in Zen of Python.” The discussion was going in circles and evolved into attacking each other’s use of logical fallacies.
I disagree with your description, of course, but that's not important right now.
Multiple people *without any authority in that forum* tried to stop a discussion, and failed. Why would it be any different if it happened in a forum? Those same people still wouldn't have the power to lock the discussion. They could only try to convince others to stop.
If the ones with authority wanted to completely shut down the discussion, they can do so now. The only thing that a forum adds is, when they say stop, no one can decide to ignore them. If no one is ignoring them now, then locking powers don't add anything.
Other than that, my biggest issues with the current mailing system are:
- There’s no way to keep a updated proposal of your own- if you decide to change your proposal, you have to communicate the change. Then, if you want to find the authoritative current copy, since you might’ve forgotten or you want to join he current discussion, then you have to dig through the emails and recursively apply the proposed change. It’s just easier if people can have one proposal they can edit themselves.
- I’ve seen experienced people get confused about what was the current proposal because they were replying to older emails or they didn’t see the email with the clear examples.
I agree that editing is a very useful feature. In a large discussion, newcomers can comment after reading only the first few posts, and if the first post has an easily-misunderstood line, you'll get people talking about it.
For proposals, I'm concerned that many forums don't have version history in their editing tools (Reddit being one such discussion site). Version history can be useful in understanding old comments. Instead, you'd have to put it up on a repo and link to it. Editing will help when you realize you should move your proposal to a public repo.
- The mailing list is frankly obscure. Python community leaders and package maintainers often are not aware or do not participate in Python-ideas. Not many people know how to use or navigate a mailing list.
- No one really promotes the mailing list, you have to go out of your way to find where new features are proposed.
- Higher discoverability means more people can participate, providing their own use cases or voting (I mean using like or dislike measures, consensus should still be how things are approved) go out of their way to find so they can propose something. Instead, I envision a forum where people can read and give their 2 cents about what features they might like to see or might not want to see.
Some of these problems are not about mailing lists.
Whether a forum is more accessible can go either way. A mailing list is more accessible because everyone has access to email, and it doesn't require making another account. It is less accessible because people might get intimidated by such old interfaces or culture (like proper quoting etiquette, or when to switch to private replies). Setting up an email interface to a forum can be a compromise.
- More people means instead of having to make decisions from sometimes subjective personal experience, we can make decisions with confidence in what other Python devs want.
I don't agree. You don't get more objective by getting a larger self-selected sample, not without carefully designing who will self-select.
But getting more people means getting MORE subjective personal experiences, which is good. Some proposals need more voices, like any proposal that is meant to help new programmers. You want to hear from people who still vividly remember their experiences learning Python.
On the other hand, getting more people necessarily means more noise (no matter what system you use), and less time for new people to acclimate.
Since potential proposers will find it easier to navigate a GUI forum, they can read previous discussions to understand the reasoning, precedent behind rejected and successful features. People proposing things that have already been rejected before can be directed to open a subtopic on the older discussion.
A kind of GUI version already exists, precisely because this is a public mailing list. Google Groups provides a mirror of the archives. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/python-ideas It's searchable, and possibly replyable. You can even star conversations (but not hide them). If it isn't listed on some python.org page, maybe it should be.
Personally, when I want to find past discussions, I use Google with the keyword `site:https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-ideas/%60. I know a lot of people don't know about that, though. Maybe it can be listed on one of the python.org pages.
As for subtopics, I haven't seen such things. I've seen reply subtrees, but either they don't bump the topic (giving them little visibility), or they do bump the topic (annoying anyone as much as a new topic). I don't know if there is a good compromise there.