[Python-Dev] How do we tell if we're helping or hindering the core development process?

Ben Finney ben+python at benfinney.id.au
Tue Jul 28 14:35:55 CEST 2015

Paul Moore <p.f.moore at gmail.com> writes:

> But isn't the whole *point* of a non-rational decision (as you
> describe it) that you *can't* articulate your reasons for making that
> decision.

You've conflated the process used to make a decision, with the
justifications that support that decision.

Those are separate. When I decide to avoid travelling a particular route
to work one day, my decision could very likely be made non-rationally.

Yet when challenged to say why it's a good choice, the non-rational
processes I used to make the decision would rightly be dismissed. I can
either present rationally compelling justification for choosing the
route I used, or the challenger can rightly dismiss my choice as
insufficiently justified.

> You can't have your cake and eat it - are core devs allowed to make
> "non-rational" judgements or not?

All humans, core developers included, can and must continue to make most
of our decisions in a non-rational manner. That's not the issue.

> (In your view - in mine, they clearly are, and being required to
> justify those decisions after the fact is *not* acceptable).

I'm unsure what the objection is. The challenge is not to the person to
justify themselves; it is to the change made, and what justification
there is for it. This distinction is subtle but crucial.

What do you imagine is the alternative? That changes which lack rational
support should be allowed merely because of the person who made them?

People can, do, and probably must make many decisions through
non-rational processes. I don't propose to change that.

Choices can be made that, when challenged, lack compelling rational
justification. I do propose that such a challenge should be taken as a
healthy desire to improve Python, not a personal attack.

Challenging ideas can be misunderstood as challenging a person's
character. That's a mistaken conflation, and I try hard to avoid it; I'd
love for all of us to do the same.

 \       “If you don't know what your program is supposed to do, you'd |
  `\                 better not start writing it.” —Edsger W. Dijkstra |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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