New Python 3.0 string formatting - really necessary?

Aaron Brady castironpi at
Sun Dec 21 16:57:12 CET 2008

On Dec 21, 8:50 am, Steve Holden <st... at> wrote:
> r wrote:
> > This all really comes down to the new python users. Yea, i said it.
> > Not rabid fanboys like Steven and myself.(i can't speak for walter but
> > i think he would agree) Are we going to make sure joe-blow python
> > newbie likes the language. And doesn't get turned off and run over to
> > ruby or whoever. Like it or not, without newusers python is doomed to
> > the same fate as all the other "great" languages who had their 15 mins
> > of fame.
> > We must proactively seek out the wants of these new users and make
> > sure python stays alive. But we also must not sell are pythonic souls
>                          that's "our" (possessive), r, not "are" (verb)
> > in the process.
> > It would be nice to get a vote together and see what does the average
> > pythoneer want? What do they like, What do they dislike. What is the
> > state of the Python Union? Does anybody know, Does anybody care? I
> > think python is slipping away from it's dominate foothold on the
> > world. Google's use of python may be the only thing holding this house
> > of cards together. Ruby's "hype" is defiantly growing and unless we
> > strive for greatness, python may fail. I think ruby may have their act
> > together a little better than us right now. And since Ruby is such a
> > hodge-podge of different languages, the __init__ hold is there for
> > many.
> > what does joe-python want???
> Don't make the mistake of assuming there is a "Joe Python" whose needs
> neatly encapsulate the sum of all Python users' needs. There's plenty of
> evidence from this group that different people like, want or need
> different things from Python, and attempting to measure user
> requirements by democratic means is not likely to produce much useful
> information.
> There is no such thing as "the average Python programmer": an average
> can only be measured for one-dimensional values on some sort of linear
> continuum. Python users live in a multi-dimensional space where the
> concept of an average has little meaning and less use.

You've confused dimensions with modes.  There is such thing as the
center of a bivariate distribution--- it is merely the most common of
the individual variables, the top of a 3-D hill, or the center of

However, an average only makes sense for unimodal distributions.  If
the distribution is bi-modal, there's no "average" in the neat sense.

Dollars earned per hour spent writing in Python is a good candidate.
There are two modes in that distribution.  One at 0, the other in the
tens or hundreds.  And the global average is less common than either
mode individually.  So in this case, we have one "Joe Py" for every
mode: Joe Free Py, and Joe Paid Py.  (You might actually get multi-
modal on that one-- Joe Salary Py, Joe Wage Py, Joe Stipend Py, Joe
Free Py, but $0.01/hr. is less common than 0, and less common than

You might also argue that the standard deviation is so high as to make
any one data point unrepresentative of many others.  But if you have
variables in two dimensions, they're independent by definition (or
there exists a basis set that is).

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