Voting for PEP 308 (was Re: For review: PEP 308 - If-then-else expression)

Erik Max Francis max at
Sun Feb 9 09:29:22 CET 2003

Aahz wrote:

> Nope.  There are two aspects to my proposed system.  First of all,
> Guido
> said in PEP 308, "if this PEP is approved with a clear majority, it
> will
> be implemented in Python 2.4."  To me, "clear majority" implies
> supermajority -- but Guido will ultimately make that decision.  I'm
> just
> going to publish the results.

So why not just publish the results and leave it at that?  There's no
need for you to be enforcing supermajorities of an arbitrary ratio. 
Just collect the data and present them to Guido.  Then he'll decide.

> The two-stage approach *ameliorates* Guido's threat to forever banish
> conditional expressions, by permitting people to vote in favor of
> conditional expressions in general.

The insistence of an arbitrary (and _enormous_ required supermajority)
hardly ameliorates it.  I think it's highly unlikely that a 3/4
supermajority vote would pass, based on the responses so far (i.e.,
certainly more than one in four people have declared their disinterest
in a conditional operator).  I can't imagine that you wouldn't also
already have this impression, so your insistence on such an outrageously
high supermajority feels like fixing the ballot.

I'm not saying you're doing it deliberately, or even that you're doing
it.  My gut reaction is that the declaration of the requirement of a
supermajority and a "threat" behind the failure of a no-confidence vote
sounds heavy-handed for someone not making the decision and someone who
is already on record as not being in favor of the proposal.

Besides, I don't think that "clear majority" in the wording of the PEP
need really literally represent an actual majority or supermajority in
terms of raw figures.  All I suspect it means is that he really wants to
judge where there are _a lot_ of people want this feature, and if so,
what they want the feature to look like.  Mind you, he may have meant
"clear majority" literally; I'm not a mindreader, but I don't think it
needs to be interpreted that way.  All the PEP really gets at is that he
wants to see what the community thinks, and that he'll consider that in
judging whether or not to approve the PEP.

So just give him that.  Take the tally of people who want a conditional
operator, hand that data to Guido; let _him_ interpret it how he wants
to.  If he concludes that it warrants approval, then we can move on to
the preferred syntax (which is a complex issue, since in a vacuum some
choices might be preferred, but are declared unacceptable by fiat) --
perhaps something of the form of "Here are n different possibilities for
the syntax, choose one to three and rank them."

 Erik Max Francis / max at /
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