[Python-Dev] Two small PEP ideas

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Fri Sep 3 17:45:42 CEST 2010

On Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 8:15 AM, Barry Warsaw <barry at python.org> wrote:
> One thing that would help would be for Guido to let us know early on when he'd
> prefer to delegate the decision.

Hey! I'm still here! :-)

More to the point, you can assume that I'm happy to have every PEP
decision made by someone else *except* if you see me participate in
the thread. If I don't show up in the thread, you can assume that
either (a) I don't care or know enough about the topic, or (b) I am
confident that it's going in the right direction.

> This goes along with identifying the
> ultimate PEP arbiter (UPA? :) as early as possible.

I prefer acronyms derived from BDFL, like BDFM ("BD for the moment")
or perhaps BDFP ("BD for the PEP"). (BDFM sounds better but BDFP is
more accurate. I'll leave it up to the FLUFL to pick one.)

> As Raymond says, it
> should be someone independent of the proposal, but with the interest, time,
> and experience necessary to make an informed decision.  We might even want to
> capture the arbiter selection in a PEP header (similar to the new Resolution
> header for capturing the final decision reference).
> While I agree that we don't want decision by committee, I think we should
> consider a preference for paired arbiters.  I have the highest respect for all
> the senior developers who would likely make up the pool of PEP deciders, but
> it gave me great confidence to have both Benjamin and Georg decide the fate of
> PEP 3149.  As someone who might serve a similar role in the future, I would
> value a second person to sanity check my own thoughts on the matter and to
> identify any holes in my understanding (or <shudder> missed emails :).  I'd
> say, let's state a preference (not a requirement) for two arbiters for any PEP
> that's not decided by Guido.

Hm... As long as we can make sure not to pick the same pair all the
time this makes sense. (Not that I have any objections to how the
Georg+Benjamin pair decided PEP 3149 -- to the contrary -- but I think
it would be good to spread the power.)

But if a pair can't be found I think a single BDFM/BDFP will work too.

> We'd talked before about allowing the RM for the target version to make the
> decision.  Maybe the RM can serve as that second arbiter when no other obvious
> candidate is available.

Good fallback plan.

> Raymond, you identified a great set of criteria that the arbiters should use
> to guide them to a decision.  I'm willing to write up an informational PEP
> that codifies this and any other guidelines we come up with for non-BDFL PEP
> decisions.
> Finally a reminder to PEP authors that it is your responsibility to shepherd
> your PEP through the process.  Don't be a pest, but do keep an eye on the
> release calendar so that you're not scrambling for a snap decision at the last
> minute.  18 months can go by quickly. :)

Well, realistically, there's only so much grief that anyone PEP author
can be expected to put up with. I expect that a lot of PEPs won't be
written or will be withdrawn in the face of prolonged discussion.
Early selection of a BDFM (maybe the M can also refer to mentorship)
ought to help in encouraging where encouragement would help -- and of
course sometimes the best thing to do is to encourage the PEP author
to drop the idea, if no consensus is in view (or if the author is
particularly hard-headed).

--Guido van Rossum (python.org/~guido)

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