[Numpy-discussion] On responding to dubious ideas (was: Re: Advanced indexing: "fancy" vs. orthogonal)

Ralf Gommers ralf.gommers at gmail.com
Wed Apr 8 15:40:54 EDT 2015

On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 9:05 PM, Eric Firing <efiring at hawaii.edu> wrote:

> 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
> of scenarios.
> Now, can we please get back to consideration of reasonable options?

Well, in many people's definition of reasonable, that's basically Jaime's
proposal and maybe the original __orthogonal_indexing__ one. Those both
have a chance of actually being implemented, and presumably the original
proposers have a use for the latter. Their proposal is not being discussed;
instead that potentially useful discussion is being completely derailed by
insisting on wanting to talk about changes to numpy's indexing behavior.

To address in detail the list of Matthew you mention above:

  * implement orthogonal indexing as a method arr.sensible_index[...]
That's basically Jaime's PR.

  * implement the current non-boolean fancy indexing behavior as a method -
Not that harmful, but only makes sense in combination with the next steps.

  * deprecate non-boolean fancy indexing as standard arr[...] indexing;
No, see negative reaction by many people.
  * wait a long time;
  * remove non-boolean fancy indexing as standard arr[...] (errors are
preferable to change in behavior)
Most definitely no.


P.S. random thought: maybe we should have a "numpy-ideas" list, just like
python-dev has python-ideas
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