[python-committers] Reminder of BDFL succession timeline + CFP

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Sat Aug 4 05:36:12 EDT 2018

On Thu, Aug 02, 2018 at 09:22:44AM +0100, Paul Moore wrote:
> On Thu, 2 Aug 2018 at 08:50, Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
> > Indeed. A hard deadline concentrates the mind. It doesn't need to be
> > tomorrow, I think your choosen dates are a great balance, neither too
> > quick nor too drawn out.
> But it also encourages people (particularly people with limited free
> time) to rush decisions, and focus on "getting something done in
> time", rather than "doing the right thing". Balancing those two
> pressures is not easy, and the balance point varies significantly
> between individuals.

A proposal is not an agreement to accept that proposal. If people submit 
rushed, poor quality proposals, they will likely not be accepted. And if 
they are, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Can't blame Facebook 
and fake news if we vote badly :-)

The longer we push out any such deadline, the more likely people will 
simply forget about it, or delay until the week before and then have to 
rush a poorly delivered proposal (or no proposal at all).

> > If Python is still rudderless by Christmas, I think we have failed.
> Do you really consider Python "rudderless" at the moment?

*shrug* I'm not married to that specific word, but we have no BDFL and 
no mechanism in place for making big decisions about the language. What 
term would you use?

Certainly day to day development continues as normal. Bugs get fixed, 
minor releases get released, PRs get reviewed, etc. That's great and a 
credit to the core developers.

But this thread suggests that if we're not careful, we could get bogged 
down for many months just deciding on the mechanism we use to decide 
what to do next. That's why I like Mariatta's concrete proposal to set 
some firm dates for action.

In my opinion, if people can't find an hour or four to write up a 
concrete proposal for choosing a new Dictator/Despot/Council/whatever in 
eight weeks, they're not likely to find the time/motivation in eight 
months either.

> I honestly think that describing the current situation as "rudderless"
> and a "failure" if it carries on, is a pretty big exaggeration.

Christmas is almost five months away. Do you think that it is acceptable 
for such a small group as us to take five months and still not have 
decided on a new leadership model? That's a matter of personal opinion 
and I accept we can differ on tolerance for bikeshedding. How many 
months, or years, before you personally would call it a failure?

When Australia's prime minister disappeared, it took two days to swear 
in a replacement and less than a month to call a new election.


Obviously the stakes are higher for national governments, we can afford 
to be more leisurely about the process, but I don't think we should let 
it drag on and on. I think that Christmas is more than sufficient. If 
you don't, how long do you feel will be? This isn't a rhetorical 
question. I'm not wedded to this time frame -- if you think we need six 
months, I'm listening. If you think we need six years, forget it :-)

It's been three weeks since Guido's retirement, approaching a month. We 
agree that we need some sort of leadership model, and we know that 
there's a risk of the process devolving into endless argument with no 
progress, or just fading away into inactivity, unless managed. In my 
opinion agreeing on concrete deadlines, not too rushed but certainly not 
too far away either, is a good first step at managing this.


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