[Python-Dev] Issues with process and discussions (Re: Issues with Py3.1's new ipaddr)

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Thu Jun 4 09:12:37 CEST 2009

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Antoine Pitrou writes:
>  > Terry Reedy <tjreedy <at> udel.edu> writes:
>  > > 
>  > > I watched and was greatly impressed by the video demo of Google's new 
>  > > Wave collaborative communication system.  I believe it would/will help 
>  > > with some of the chronic problems we (and others) have.
>  > 
>  > I really don't think technical systems are an answer to social
>  > issues. It's a flaw of the engineering mindset.

Well, its true that telephones did not cure people of dishonesty, but it 
did make communication-at-a-distance, truthful or otherwise, easier.

> That depends on the definition of "problem".  For example, if the
> problem is "half our people detest web interfaces and want to discuss
> issues by email", then "Roundup: nosy list" *is* a technical system
> that is an answer.

And for me, it is very helpful.

> I agree that Terry wasn't particularly specific about what impressed
> him and how it would help for what problem.

Right.  A quick three lines plus a few more.  There were several things 
that Wave brings together.  I will suggest specific experiments when it 
is actually available for use.

 > But rather than just say
> "technology is not a universal answer", we should ask "what problem
> does this address?" 

As I said in my response to Ben Finney, two problems addressed are

1. Reading a document that has been edited since you read it last.

The old method of in-place deltas -- typically strikeout for deletions 
and some other special marking for additions -- has stood that test of 
time. Many word processors do this, but Waves improve on them by 
individualizing the markings for the particular reader and then removing 
them once read.

2. Multiple people editing a document.

One solution is the "You're it" method, whether informal by passing a 
doc around either on paper or electronicly or formal by VCS checkout. 
Another is edit in isolation, merge, and resolve conflicts.  Waves allow 
real-time simultaneous editing and merging via micro-deltas, so 
conflicts are immediately apparent.  This would generally work better 
with text docs than with code, which needs to be frequently frozen to 
run, but code might even be workable for side-by-side pair or sprint 

 > (Personally, I'm satisfied from the example Terry
> gave that he had the "summarizing the opinions of those whose opinions
> we respect in this domain" problem in mind, and I think there *are*
> technical solutions to that.  Terry?)

The current 'summarize opinion' system is somewhat haphazard and 
informal, with no auto-tabulation.  It seems to have broken-down a bit 
for the ipaddr issue, at least until the last few days when the best 
solution was to remove and defer.  Better would have been either not add 
and defer or add with generally supported revision.  I speculate that if 
there had been a proto-pep wave (though not then possible) with a vote 
widget with buttons such as Accept as is, Probably accept after 
revision, Don't know, and Reject, we might have reached a better outcome 

Terry Jan Reedy

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