[Python-Dev] XXX do we need a new policy?

glyph at divmod.com glyph at divmod.com
Tue Nov 4 11:54:31 CET 2008

On 02:47 am, guido at python.org wrote:
>I disagree. They should be removed when the issue they refer to is
>removed. No sooner, no later. Simply removing every XXX comment older
>than a year would not be helpful. The code base is so large that over
>2000 XXX doesn't faze me particular. There are over 4000 files in the
>Python 2.6 source code tarball!
>The right thing to do with XXX comments is to read them when you're in
>their vicinity, and to act when the urge becomes too strong to deal
>with any one in particular. Dealing with them en masse is just asking
>for a migraine.

I _strongly_ agree with what Guido is saying here.  I already mentioned 
this indirectly in my other post to this thread but I feel like it's 
worth emphasizing, especially given that I think that the Twisted core 
team (myself included) is widely perceived, for good or ill, as being 
process-crazed maniacs.

We have a sort of meta-policy of "never try to boil the ocean".  We 
started Twisted with a freewheeling, anything-goes commit policy, where 
if you had an account on the CVS server (my home desktop computer) you 
could do whatever you wanted: no code review, no compatibility, no 
testing.  There's still a lot of code left over from those days, and a 
lot of it works fine.

Every policy we have applies to _changes_ to the code; nobody has ever 
proposed a policy modification where we first fix all 1000 instances of 
X and then institute a policy on future X.  Quite the opposite: the 
whole point of most of our development process is to avoid needing to do 
broad, sweeping changes.

So, while I don't really care much one way or the other about Python's 
treatment of future XXX, I definitely think it would be a terrible idea 
to try to deal with all XXXes at once, or even start an ongoing process 
of gradually farming through the old XXXes; that would almost certainly 
be a waste of everyone's time.

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