[Python-Dev] Goodbye

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Wed Sep 22 16:17:09 CEST 2010

On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 4:07 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 8:47 PM, Antoine Pitrou <solipsis at pitrou.net> wrote:
>> Simply, situations like the above (Mark closing a bug just because
>> nobody would answer his message on a short delay) have happened
>> multiple times - despite people opposing, obviously -, and we decided
>> that it was better to remove his tracker privileges since his
>> contribution has not really been productive for us.
>> There was a whole python-dev thread some time (weeks? months?) ago where

I think it was the thread "No response to posts" started (by Mark) on July 31.

>> several of us already tried to suggest more fruitful ways of
>> contributing, suggestions which weren't received very welcomingly AFAIR.

Yup. In that thread (and others) I see lots of evidence where Mark
responded very negatively (from "I disagree entirely" to "I find this
response quite pathetic") when people explained how we treat the
tracker, and stuck to his guns no matter how many people tried to
explain that he should stop.

His attitude can be summarized by his  "Fly back at me if you like.  I
don't care about me.  I don't care about you.  I do care about

Which to me sounds defiant and passive-aggressive. I don't want to go
into analyzing, but I expect that Mark has issues that are beyond what
this community can deal with.

>> Now I understand that opinions over this may vary and involve multiple
>> factors, but I would suggest that at least a bit of mentoring is needed
>> if we want to give privileges early on.
>> (and the amount of mentoring needed can vary wildly from one person to
>> another)
> I still prefer the "trust but monitor" approach over excessively high
> barriers to entry, but we do need to recognise that one consequence of
> that approach is that we *will* get into situations where we need to
> tell people "thank you for your contributions, but we think, on
> balance, we will be better off if you don't contribute in this way any
> more".
> Mark *did* do quite a bit of good in his time with tracker privileges.

Right, that was my impression from the issues he touched on which I
happened to be subscribed.

> A number of lingering issues that would have otherwise continued
> lingering did indeed get closed. That work is still appreciated, even
> if it was ultimately deemed by the other tracker admins not to be
> sufficient to balance out the hassles created by his aggressive stance
> towards closing older issues (which, while unloved, are not
> automatically invalid).

How and how often was Mark reminded about this?

> If this had happened *without* the prior discussion regarding more
> appropriate handling of tracker issues, then I would have an issue
> with it. However, given that the first reaction was to provide
> additional mentoring, with revocation of privileges only happening
> when the problems continued, that seems to me like the way this
> process is *meant* to work.

Where was the decision to revoke privileges discussed? Not on any
mailing list that I am subscribed to. Was Mark given an ultimatum?

Given that this came out rather unfortunately (even if the end result
is the best that could have happened) I would recommend that in the
future more attention is paid to "documenting" publicly that someone's
being booted out was inevitable, by an exchange of messages on
python-dev (or python-committers if we want to limit distribution).
And no, I don't think that IRC (where I suspect this happened) is

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

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