[Python-Dev] Goodbye

Michael Foord fuzzyman at voidspace.org.uk
Wed Sep 22 17:16:15 CEST 2010

  On 22/09/2010 15:33, darren at ontrenet.com wrote:
> If you guys continue to make a public jury of this, no one else will want
> to step into that role....

One of the perhaps-downsides of projects with an open community and open 
development processes is that any dirty-laundry there might be tends to 
get washed in public. Difficult decisions will always be accompanied by 
a measure of soul-searching and disagreement. I guess this is what you 
mean by "public jury". I think reaching decisions like this in private, 
without public discussion, would be worse (decisions could only be made 
by a 'secret cabal' with much less accountability and opportunity to 

I don't think this kind of process can ever be easy (unless we eliminate 
the involvement of humans in Python development altogether), but we do 
have a process. Particularly bearing in mind the comments of Guido on 
the topic we can further improve the process.

I too found Mark's contributions to issues I'm involved in helpful, but 
I understand the decision entirely. We all need to be able to work 
together and despite best efforts that just wasn't working out. I also 
wish Mark the best for the future and hope that he is still able to find 
some way to contribute to Python.

All the best,

Michael Foord
>> 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
>> Python."
>> 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
>> sufficient.
>> --
>> --Guido van Rossum (python.org/~guido)
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