Python Warts: The where, when, how, and why of a PyWart.

Rick Johnson rantingrickjohnson at
Tue Feb 19 00:55:58 CET 2013

On Monday, February 18, 2013 4:31:01 PM UTC-6, Terry Reedy wrote:
> This was a threat to abuse StackOverflow with off-topic posts if 'we' 
> did not pay him more attention.

If that is in-fact true then i am going to be as upset with Anatoly as you seem to be. Pointing out problems on appropriate list is fine, but making spam threats is totally wrong.

> [...]
> I will just briefly repeat two points:
> 1. we already have a searchable list of Python problems -- the tracker; 

But i don't believe a "Bug Tracker" and a "Language Wart" listing are the same. My belief is that a Tracker is for posting patches for "bugs"; meaning either the kind that throw errors:

[Warning: Naively hypothetical examples ahead!]
    py> 1+2 
    Exception: Seg Fault!
...or the kind that produce illogical results:
    py> 1+2

I also believe a Bug Tracker is a serious place where stict etiquette and posting rules should be maintained:

 * only post if you have a working solution!
 * express the problem as succinctly as possible in text.
 * provide example code that exposes the error in a succinctly manner.
 * check any emotional baggage at the door.
 * only present "real bugs" and not illusions or preconceived notions of how a certain chunk of code, or syntax, or whatever, should behave.
As you can see, a bug tracker is in contrast to a PyWart listing that i propose. You can think of the PyWart listing as the first stop to solving all problems in the language. Only the true bugs, for which a patch has been written, should continue on to the Bug Tracker.  

In the PyWart list we want to get feedback not only for true bugs, but for un-intuitiable API semantics, inconsistencies, multiplicities, and asininities. 

We also want people to express themselves without applying any filters. If a certain feature "bugs" them, then rant about it a little bit, let people know how you feel about the wart, and THEN try to offer a solution if you have the capacity to do so. If not, hope that someone more talented will be influenced enough by your arguments to submit a patch on the tracker.

So, you could conclude that a PyWart listing is an informal manner by which /all/ levels of the community can participate in the evolution of the language. Anyone who has a mouth and a problem will now have an outlet. 

Sure, some people will consider ridiculous things to be warts that need removing, and they might rant and rave and nobody will pay them any attention, but hey, at least with my proposed PyWart listing they have a safe outlet for these emotions. And, "maybe" a fix will be the result, who knows.

All groups need an area where you can go and misbehave without being ostracized from the community. Some groups call this area "the bar" or what ever. With a PyWart listing we can maintain a high level of professionalism at py-ideas and at the bug tracker whilst simultaneously providing a synergy of evolutionary ideas to be expressed without censorship.

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