[Python-ideas] Keeping discussion relevant

Cameron Simpson cs at cskk.id.au
Fri Feb 8 21:10:14 EST 2019

On 08Feb2019 17:15, James Lu <jamtlu at gmail.com> wrote:
>Sometimes I see threads briefly go into topics that are unrelated to 
>new features in Python. For example: talking about a writer’s use of 
>“inhomogeneous” vs “heterogenous” vs “anhomogenous.” We get what the 
>original author meant, there is no need to fiddle with the little 
>details of language at this point, even if it is fun.
>These extra emails, though harmless, impose a visual, time, and navigational burden on the readers of the thread. It’s okay if the problem is little but not if it’s big.
>Two questions:
>How often does off-topic discussion occur? Does it need to be find ways to reduce the amount?
>How can we find ways to reduce the amount?

Conversations always branch. We try, thoguh self discipline, to keep 
things on topic.

If you're going to diverge morethan transiently there are a few decent 
ways to deal with it:

- edit the subject, indicating the old subject, for example: 
  "inhomogeneous vs heterogenous (was: former subject header)"
  so that readers can easily identify the branch and follow/ignore it

- commence a new discussion (like your post)

- pointedly take it offline; mostly suitable when the topic is off topic 
  for the list and the participants are few (ideally just 2)

- take it to another suitable list (and of course say so so that 
  interested people can follow); this has its own downsides because the 
  other list isn't necessarily one used by everyone who cares

I lean to the first of these, at least initially. It is less intrusive 
and makes the shift evident.

Cameron Simpson <cs at cskk.id.au>

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