c.l.py dead, news at 11 (was Re: Mangle function name with decorator?)

Albert Hopkins marduk at letterboxes.org
Sat Mar 28 03:59:18 CET 2009

On Fri, 2009-03-27 at 21:15 -0400, andrew cooke wrote:

> c.l.python used to be the core of a community built around a language.  It
> no longer is.  It is a very useful place, where some very helpful and
> knowledgeable people hang out and give advice, but instead of representing
> the full interests of the Python community it is now very much a resource
> for helping new users.

> At least, that's how it seems to me.  And I don't think this is
> necessarily "natural" or "normal" - I think it may be a failure on the
> part of someone (who?  I don't quite know, perhaps all of us) in managing
> a community.  Now there is an obvious argument against that - that the
> language was becoming so popular that a single meeting place was no longer
> practical - but without a crystal ball it is hard to know how true that
> is, or what alternatives might have been.
> I feel quite strongly about this.  I thought that c.l.python was almost
> exceptional in the range (the perl group was another, similar community
> back then).  I do worry that someone might have screwed up in a quite
> major way, and that Python will suffer seriously, in the longer term, as a
> result.
> Another reason might be that the action has moved on to Haskell.  I get
> the impression that it is undergoing the same kind of surge in popularity
> from the "smart early adopters" that Python might have benefited from back
> in the day (for some perverse reason I am actually moving back to Python
> from more strongly typed functional languages).

Sentimental... yet comical.  It's still, to me, a natural event.  The
same things happens to nearly every new, upcoming, grassroots
technology.  Linux was the same way.  So was KDE (and probably GNOME as
well).  This is just a natural evolution of the connection between
community and technology.

Simply put, Python isn't a baby anymore.  I remember being on c.l.python
back in like '97 or '98.  Back then it was pretty much the only place to
come to share info/interest Python.  There was the newsgroup,
python.org, and Starship.  That's it.  Nowadays Python is everywhere.
There are forums, blogs, magazines, books, local user groups, PyCon,
PyPi. etc.  And Python is so big that there are sub-communities such as
CherryPy and Django, SQLAlchemy, Jython and IronPython, etc.  There are
so many sub-groups with their own visions and plans and momentum, and
that's a good thing!  c.l.python is no longer the big fish in a small

So I'm sorry but c.l.python can no longer be the sole place to represent
the "full interests of the Python community" because the community is
much too big for it.  It can't be "managed" by a central source.  It's
bigger than that. And, let's face it, a smaller fraction of people get
their information from Usenet and mailing lists today compared to 1996. 

Looking back at some postings from '95 [1] I don't see that much
different from then and now, except there was a lot more off-topic
stuff,  there was a periodic FAQ,  GvR, and I didn't see any GIL
flamewars.  Some similarities include newbie-type questions, style
questions, questions regarding the C API, architecture- and
module-specific questions, posts from some of the same people I still
see today and, of course, regular expressions.  But maybe your nostalgia
predates 1995 (I didn't start using Python until 1997).

Anyway, I'm bored with this discussion. It seems to be a natural part of
technology communities as well.  I'm on another mailing list where,
almost every month, a different person independently comes to the
conclusion that the technology is dying.  And it's been that way ever
since I joined the mailing list 6 years ago.  If these things are dying
why can't they do so quickly (and quietly)?



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