[Python-Dev] Encouraging developers

glyph at divmod.com glyph at divmod.com
Mon Mar 5 21:50:46 CET 2007

A few meta-points:

On 07:30 pm, phil at riverbankcomputing.co.uk wrote:
>2. Publically identify the core developers and their areas of expertise 
>responsibility (ie. which parts of the source tree they "own").

I'd like to stress that this is an important point; although we all know 
that Guido's the eventual decision makers, there are people whose 
opinions need to be influenced around particular areas of the code and 
whose opinions carry particular weight.  *I* have trouble figuring out 
who these people are, and I think I have more than a casual outsider's 
understanding of the Python development process.
>3. Provide a forum (a python-patch mailing list) where patches can be
>proposed, reviewed and revised informally but quickly.

This reminds me of a post I really wanted to make after PyCon but 
rapidly became too sick to.

The patches list really ought to be _this_ list.  The fact that it isn't 
is indicative of a failure of the community.  A good deal of the 
discussion here in recent months has either been highly speculative, or 
only tangentially related to Python's development, which is ostensibly 
its topic.  We shouldn't really be talking about PR or deployment or any 
issues which aren't bug reports or patches here.

I've certainly contributed somewhat to this problem myself, and I've 
made a resolution to stick to development issues here.

This post itself is obviously in a grey area near the edge of that, but 
I do feel that, given the rather diverse population of readers here, we 
should collectively make the purpose of this forum explicit so that the 
python developers can use it to develop Python.

One worrying trend I noticed at PyCon is that it seems that quite a lot 
of communication between core developers these days happens over private 
email.  Core developers use private email to deal with pressing issues 
because python-dev has become crowded.  This makes it difficult to see 
high-priority issues, as well as fostering an environment where every 
minor detail might get responded to with a cascade of "me too" posts or 
bike-shed discussions.  The core guys have a lot of stuff to get done, 
and if there isn't an environment where they can do that in public, 
they're going to get it done in private.

Taken together, all this has the overall effect of making the 
development process a lot harder to follow, which worsens, for example, 
issue #2 which I responded to above.  It also creates a number of false 
impressions about what sort of development is really going on, since 
many posters here are not, in fact, working on core Python at all, just 
speculating about it.

A few others have already pointed out the python-ideas list:


where the more speculative ideas should be discussed before being 
brought here as a patch or PEP.  Of course, for more general discussion 
there's always good old "python-list".

As far as bike-shed discussions, we can all do our part by just 
considering what threads we all really have something useful to 
contribute to.  Let's all try to put the python dev back in python-dev!
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