python-dev Summary for 2004-08-01 through 2004-08-15

Brett Cannon bac at OCF.Berkeley.EDU
Thu Aug 26 00:32:07 CEST 2004

Robert Brewer wrote:

> Brett C. wrote:
>>I just don't want people to suddenly get the impression that they can
>>always just throw a little mutiny every time Guido makes a decision. 
>>Do that and he will just ignore what people want period and never even
>>give people a chance to propose an alternative once it reaches
> Well said.

Thanks.  Just glad I am not the only one who thought that.

>>And I want people to realize my tirade was just that, a personal
>>tirade.  It was out of frustration and thus should be taken with a
>>grain of salt.
> But that frustration is grounded in reality.

I thought so, but then people started to question whether I overstepped 
some bound or something.

>>And that frustration came from the feeling that the Python community,
>>which I love, seemed to suddenly form a mob, grab pitchforks and
>>torches, and started screaming.  And then they seemed to hold a public
>>meeting with *everyone* proposing their idea and not completely
>>listening to initial decisions.
> I attribute the breakdown-of-process to scale issues, and not much else.
> The decorator debate had:
>     a) the largest body of dissenters I've ever seen for a new Python
> feature, and
>     b) the largest volume of alternate proposals.

I would put it mostly in b) than a), but both are true.

> Many new features have had a certain amount of tweaking to be done even
> after Guido has pronounced. Each of these tweaks requires communication.
> In the case of decorators, the volume of communication required was
> simply too much for the medium of Usenet, which promotes short,
> tangential discussions rather than systemic analysis. This is the
> primary reason I felt a focused paper would benefit the process.
> One of my hopes is that, for large, complex community responses in the
> future, someone else will do the same. This proposal sets a precedent
> for those cases which overload the normal response process. However, it
> should be made clear that _not every response warrants this format_.

That is basically the PEP process.  And that is basically what you have 
written, Robert.  That is a good route to go; a PEP that presents an 
alternative.  Helps centralize information, makes a single person the 
main contact point to filter out background chatter, and solves world 
hunger.  =)

> In Brett's language, go ahead and hold "public meetings". But either
> hire a Usenet police force or (much better) police yourselves--when the
> debate begins to explode, form a task force and write a proposal or two.
> I am *not* placing blame on anyone here, just pointing out that this is
> the first time such a step was needed. We are all watching it play out
> for the first time. Let's learn from it and apply those lessons next
> time.

Totally agree.

> Although I like J2, I'm not rabid about it (and despite the opinions of
> the pundits, I do *not* have "too much free time"; far from it).

People have been saying that?  That's a shame.  Just means you care 
enough to put the time into it.  Anyone else could  do what you are 
doing, you just happen to care.  Not like any of us have loads of free 
time, we just make a decision on what to do with what little free time 
we do have.

> I could
> have written an equally-compelling paper on any of the alternatives. I
> am far more dedicated to the "meta-outcome" of this proposal, that Guido
> is presented with alternatives in a usable and effective fashion, than I
> am in which option he selects. The "next level" of course, is whether
> that goal is met and how to reproduce such a success (or avoid such a
> failure) in the future.

And I personally thank you for it even if I prefer the '@' syntax.  =)

>>I truly hope that next time Guido makes a decision that people as a
>>whole disagree with everyone involved can get together and discuss it
>>calmly without flooding my inbox.  =)
> Me too. This isn't a fundamentally hard problem, it simply happens to be
> a management issue for a bunch of techies. Once in a while, Guido's
> "cabinet" needs to manage people and process as much as it does source
> code. As Python gains more of a following, this will occur more often.

But  I don't want to play "Middle Management".  =)

But you are right.  python-dev probably could have stood to put its 
collective foot down earlier about moving the discussion off-list.  Live 
and learn.  Trouble when we all don't work in the same room.


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