[Numpy-discussion] On responding to dubious ideas (was: Re: Advanced indexing: "fancy" vs. orthogonal)
efiring at hawaii.edu
Wed Apr 8 15:05:08 EDT 2015
On 2015/04/08 8:09 AM, Alan G Isaac wrote:
> That analogy fails because it suggests a private conversation. This list is extremely public.
> For example, I am just a user, and I am on it. I can tell you that as a long-time numpy user
> my reaction to the proposal to change indexing semantics was (i) OMG YMBFKM and then
> (ii) take a breath; this too will fade away. It is very reasonable to worry that some users
> will start at the same place but them move in a different direction, and that worry should
> affect how such proposals are floated and discussed. I am personally grateful that the
> idea's reception has been so chilly; it's very reassuring.
OK, so I was not sufficiently tactful when I tried to illustrate the
real practical problem associated with a *core* aspect of numpy. My
intent was not to alarm users, and I apologize if I have done so. I'm
glad you have been reassured. I know perfectly well that
back-compatibility and stability are highly important. What I wanted to
do was to stimulate thought about how to handle a serious challenge to
numpy's future--short-term, and long-term. Jaime's PR is a very welcome
response to that challenge, but it might not be the end of the story.
Matthew nicely sketched out one possible scenario, or actually a range
Now, can we please get back to consideration of reasonable options?
What sequence of steps might reduce the disconnect between numpy and the
rest of the array-handling world? And make it a little friendlier for
Are there *any* changes to indexing, whether by default or as an option,
that would help? Consider the example I started with, in which indexing
with [1, :, array] gives results that many find surprising and hard to
understand. Might it make sense to *slowly* deprecate this? Or are
such indexing expressions actually useful? If they are, would it be out
of the question to have them *optionally* trigger a warning, so that
numpy could be configured to be a little less likely to trip up a
> On 4/7/2015 9:06 PM, Nathaniel Smith wrote:
>> If a grad student or junior colleague comes to you with an
>> idea where you see some potentially critical flaw, do you
>> yell THAT WILL NEVER WORK and kick them out of your
>> office? Or, do you maybe ask a few leading questions and
>> see where they go?
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