[Catalog-sig] Package comments

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Wed Nov 4 10:55:08 CET 2009

"Martin v. Löwis" wrote:
> And I'm in favor of deleting spam (i.e. comments that are clearly
> unrelated to the package - as graffiti is clearly unrelated to
> the place where it gets attached).

I think we have to differentiate a bit more:

PyPI is the central place where users go to find packages. As such,
it's much higher ranked than some blog, newsgroup, wiki, mailing list
or even a site dedicated to just rating and commenting on Python

Messages posted on PyPI receive a lot more visibility than other
places - mostly because it provides the download links to many
packages, so care has to be taken when allowing public comments
in this particular spot.

Package authors will love good comments and probably also
appreciate criticism, but mainly negative comments would
likely not go down too well, esp. if these comments are not
really based on good intentions or just rants.

So the main question becomes: What to do with negative comments ?

Or taken to a higher level: Does PyPI really want to get into
the business of dealing with these problems ?

If PyPI is meant to go social rather than being purely a search
engine, then the ones who put their content up on PyPI should at
the very least be allowed to reply to comments and to be fair,
ratings should be visible to all and only be possible together with
a comment.

Regarding the usefulness of such a feature, take the PIL package
as example:


 Package rating (3 votes): 4.66666666667

    * 4 points: 1 vote
    * 5 points: 2 votes

Ratings range from 0 to 5 (best).
Package Comments:

    * Hugely stable, been around forever, and works. Unfortunate distribution naming causes problems
with setuptools. (chrisw, 2009-10-05, points)
    * super cool lib - #1 pick! just sad to see the packaging difficulties. (jensens, 2009-10-05,

Those comments are not really all that useful for a user,
since they put too much emphasis on a non-package related issue.
This is like saying: "Great bag, but doesn't come in pink, so
only 4 points.". An educated user will notice, a casual user
will just see the negative vibes and not bother with PIL,
since it "causes problems" - now *that* is sad.

Personally, I think that PyPI should not be in the social business.
We have plenty of sites, wikis, blogs, mailing lists, etc. that already
serve those needs quite well (and which are self-maintaining) and
provide more context than a two line comment.

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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