[Catalog-sig] Package comments

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Wed Nov 4 12:42:01 CET 2009

René Dudfield wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 9:55 AM, M.-A. Lemburg <mal at egenix.com> wrote:
>> Regarding the usefulness of such a feature, take the PIL package
>> as example:
>> http://pypi.python.org/pypi/PIL/1.1.6
>> """
>>  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,
>> points)
>> """
>> 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.
> hello,
> I do see how they could be perceived as not being good comments.
> However I see them differently, as being useful...  Those comments are
> both positive, and friendly... but are also offering constructive
> critisism.  They give an overall good impression of PIL(that it
> deserves).
> They both mention a common problem people have with PIL/Image/python
> imaging.  I've had this problem myself, and I've helped people with
> this problem over the years.  It's great feedback for the authors of
> PIL in my opinion, and is a win for the comments on pypi.  If the
> authors decide to fix the problems mentioned, then it's a win for
> users of PIL too.
> People with commercial packages on there would be right to not like
> comments in some respects.  Since commercial organisations often like
> to control their PR as much as possible.  So in this way, the comments
> are not such a good thing for PIL.  However also, commercial
> organisations pay a lot for feedback, QA and market research... so in
> a way it is also good for commercial packages too.
> The python community likes openness I would say, and comments go
> towards more openness.  Comments move the communication on pypi from
> entirely author based, towards letting users speak as well.  Should
> openness be valued more than valuing an authors wishes?

There are enough ways available already to contact the author,
provide constructive criticism, feedback, etc. Users can do
so both in public and private ways.

The problem with making PyPI a social platform is that you are
removing the neutral view on things from the index - something
I think encourages people to upload their stuff to PyPI in
the first place.

By not having comments on PyPI you don't limit the openness
we have in the Python community in any way. Users can still
search for user comments (and will readily find them), if
they care to do so, or just ask on c.l.p for first-hand
experience with a particular package or recommendation
on which to choose.

> Packages can already remove themselves from pypi if they don't like
> it.  However, as someone said before, being able to disable certain
> features would still let them use the features they want.

Making ratings and comments optional would certainly help.

Only leaving the option to remove the complete package in order
to opt-out of these features is not a very Pythonic way to
go about these things (and indeed does limit the openness).

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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