[meta-sig] toward a more pythonic edu-python

Michael Tobis mtobis at gmail.com
Thu Jul 19 02:24:19 CEST 2007

I myself do not care to participate in discussions of educational
politics, and I rather doubt that they should be hosted under
python.org. This is not because I am disengaged, as it happens. I have
my own axes to grind as a casual search for my online presence will

As a matter of fact, my attraction to Python is largely based on the
ability of the community to rise above controversy and create
artifacts of amazing power and a strange beauty. I come to Python to
get my work done, yes, but also to have my creative inclinations and
desire for community uncolored by controversy.

We ought to have, we ought to be able to manage to have, a harmonious
and creative, stylistically Pythonic community working on educational
Python. The online presence of this community should be like the other
subgroups of Python, focused on creativity and learning and mutual
support, and not on argumentation about tangential issues, no matter
how important. This is the community that a person searching
python.org for "education" expects to find, should find, and so far
does not find.

I write here because in an extensive off-topic posting to edu-sig,
Paul Fernhout quotes me, invoking my previous effort to provide a
venue for Pythonically falvored discussion of Python in education.

I wish to make clear that my doing so was a mistake.

I volunteered to set up a googlegroup at the PyCon before last because
of widespread dissatisfaction with the existing edu-sig, but it was
essentially a unanimous decision among all attendees at the edu-BOF.
Interested readers may wish to consider that unanimity. (It is my
opinion that matters have deteriorated considerably since that time.)

Guido's preference is for a single list per sig. On this matter I am
indifferent, but I (or some member of the BOF of longer standing in
the community) should have consulted him before trying to start an
alternative list. Since Guido is reading I need not speak for him, but
he has expressed in mail to me a strong preference for a single
edu-sig list.

This was our mistake. Since we could not get critical mass for
edupython googlegroup without linkage at the edu-sig page, we should
have gone through a proper sig process. We would have arrived at
roughly the same point that we are now as Guido's preference became

The success of Python in education has huge implications for the long
term prospects of the platform we all so greatly appreciate. That
success requires a group with the enthusiasm for Python and the casual
indifference to matters non-Python that is seen on other Python lists.
That group needs to be linked from the edu-sig page. This is what
Python enthusiasts interested in education expect and deserve. This is
also, as I understand it, what Guido expects and wants. He, too,
deserves our co-operation in this matter.

Michael Tobis

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