[python-committers] Transfer of power

Doug Hellmann doug at doughellmann.com
Tue Jul 17 08:50:01 EDT 2018

Excerpts from Jack Jansen's message of 2018-07-17 11:33:22 +0200:
> > On 17 Jul 2018, at 02:02, Tim Peters <tim.peters at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > [Tim]
> >> Guido's most visible (well, to us committers) BDFL role has been in "yes/no", "go/nogo" language/library design questions, which don't even overlap with the PSF's proper concerns.
> >> 
> >> But I'm not sure it's fully appreciated just how active Guido has been in those at times.  The "accepted/rejected" at the end of major PEPs is just a small part of that.  Along the way, e.g., it's been pretty common to see a "Save your breath.  That's not going to happen." from Guido to end a distracting alternative (sub)proposal persistently promoted by one (or a few) very active and/or loquacious posters.
> > [Jack Jansen]
> >  
> >> This is a very good point. And it is a role that is not “formally encoded” anywhere, and one that I think cannot be formally encoded.
> >> 
> >> And actually I wonder whether this role could be fulfilled by any person/committee/procedure other than Guido himself. Which means that in future we should prepare for doing without this role. Which will lead to more contentious issues being put in front of the whatever-body-replaces-the-bdfl, because the early weeding out isn’t going to happen.
> >> 
> > I'm not quite as hopeless ;-)  Most notions on python-ideas are dropped voluntarily, after it's clear that they generate little interest - or massive hostility ;-) 
> > 
> > For one that proceeds to a preliminary PEP, I think it would be wise for the Elders (whatever it's called) to appoint a BDFL-workalike for that specific PEP.  Which may or may not be an Elder.  That person would need to commit to staying current with the PEP's progress, and would have final "yes/no", "this/that", ...  authority on all the design decisions on the way to polishing the PEP.  But not the final accept/reject decision (if the PEP survives that long).
> I’m not hopeless either:-)
> But the point I was trying to make is that Guido has a standing _within the wider community_ that will cause people to sit and ponder his replies, in stead of quickly replying and going into the defensive. The Elders will probably miss that standing in the community at large, at least for the time being. So I think we should prepare for more and longer heated discussions, and make sure that the procedures for the eventual decision are such that people can generally live with the outcome and don’t turn their back on the community.

I agree that having a consensus-based process that everyone agrees
to use and abide by is important.

Perhaps we can also take change the process to start eliminating
the culture that leads to so much heat in the first place. Healthy
debate is all well and good, but it seems like we've had a couple
of examples of things getting out of hand recently.


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