[Python-ideas] Using an appropriate tone in emails (was: Adding a thin wrapper class around the functions in stdlib.heapq)

Brett Cannon brett at python.org
Mon Nov 27 15:17:41 EST 2017

On Tue, 21 Nov 2017 at 14:57 Nick Timkovich <prometheus235 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 4:16 PM, Sven R. Kunze <srkunze at mail.de> wrote:
>> Maybe, that suffices: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/xheap
> I still think the heapq.heap* functions are atrocious and they should
> immediately be packaged with *no additional features* into a stdlib object
> for reasons along the line of
> https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-ideas/2017-October/047514.html

I wanted to address the general tone people should aim for on this list so
that people don't inadvertently insult people. Now I'm going to preface
this as I'm not explicitly calling out Nick here on this, I'm just using
his email as an illustrative example as it's what happened to trigger me to
write this email.

So Nick said above that the design of the heapq module is "atrocious", to
the extent that it should be "immediately" fixed with an OO wrapper. So
obviously Nick doesn't like the design of the heapq module. ;) And that's
okay! And he's totally within his rights to express the feeling that the
heapq module as it stands doesn't meet his needs.

But calling it "atrocious" and so bad that it needs to be fixed
"immediately" as if it's a blight upon the stdlib is unnecessarily
insulting to those that have worked on the module. To convey the feeling
that you think an OO wrapper would be helpful as the current design doesn't
work for you, you could just phrase it as I just did to get the same point
across without insulting anyone. Basically if you wouldn't like your own
work called "atrocious" by someone you respect, then it's probably best to
not use that phrasing when talking about a stranger's code either.

If you want more context as to why this all matters in order to keep open
source sustainable, you can watch my 15 minute keynote from JupyterCon this
year for a more in-depth, verbal explanation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y19s6vPpGXA .

And BTW, the heapq module is 15 years old, has a history, and there are
explicit reasons it's designed the way it is, so from that perspective I
would argue it has a good design.
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