Performance: sets vs dicts.

rurpy at rurpy at
Fri Sep 3 17:54:52 CEST 2010

On 09/02/2010 02:47 PM, Terry Reedy wrote:
> On 9/1/2010 10:57 PM, rurpy at wrote:
>> So while you may "think" most people rarely read
>> the docs for basic language features and objects
>> (I presume you don't mean to restrict your statement
>> to only sets), I and most people I know *do* read
>> them.  And when read them I expect them, as any good
>> reference documentation does, to completely and
>> accurately describe the behavior of the item I am
>> reading about.  If big-O performance is deemed an
>> intrinsic behavior of an (operation of) an object,
>> it should be described in the documentation for
>> that object.
> However, big-O performance is intentionally NOT so deemed.

The discussion, as I understood it, was about whether
or not it *should* be so deemed.

> And I have
> and would continue to argue that it should not be, for multiple reasons.

Yes, you have.  And others have argued the opposite.
Personally, I did not find your arguments very convincing,
particularly that it would be misleading or that the
limits necessarily imposed by a real implementation
somehow invalidates the usefulness of O() documentation.
But I acknowledged that there was not universal agreement
that O() behavior should be documented in the the reference
docs by qualifying my statement with the word "if".

But mostly my comments were directed towards some of the
side comments in Raymond's post I thought should not pass
unchallenged.  I think that some of the attitudes expressed
(and shared by others) are likely the direct cause of many
of the faults I find in the currrent documentation.

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