PEP 308: Alternative conditional operator forms

Laura Creighton lac at
Tue Feb 11 11:41:50 CET 2003

> Laura Creighton wrote:
> > If the vote is 50/50 then we have done our poll wrong.  The people
> > who don't care should get to vote that.
> I have no problem with that provided everybody agrees on how it plays
> into the voting process.
> The problem I see with it is that people who don't care simply won't
> bother voting (except to demonstrate proudly that they don't care), so
> including it and trying to use that figure for something meaningful will
> be misleading.

No, that is only the people who don't care enough to vote.  It is a
problem with _voting_, and the self selected set, and an insoluable
one, unless you have a mechanism for forcing people to vote.  That
has its own problems.

> I think when it was suggested people vote on the question, "Do you want
> a short-circuiting conditional operator to be added to Python, yes or
> no?" explicitly is directed at the people who _do_ care one way or
> another.
> You'll never know how many don't care but didn't vote, so I'm not sure
> if trying to include that as an option in the vote is really going to
> get you a figure that reflects reality.

It has got to reflect reality better than simply assuming that those
who do not care do not matter, or that those who wish to participate
in the political process must be forced to take sides, or that
abstainers fall neatly into 50% pro/ 50% anti proportions.  It also
means that the entire political process is not subordinate to the job
of 'picking winners and losers' ... it actually represents an attempt,
however flawed, to 'find out what people want'.  You alienate members
of your society when you hold a vote and give them no way to express
their views.  I think that this is evil, and moreover, it makes it
really hard to get them to show up again should you ever decide
to have _another_ referendum.


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