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bug#24518: 25.2.50; dired-mark-extension with prefix arg fails

From: John Wiegley
Subject: bug#24518: 25.2.50; dired-mark-extension with prefix arg fails
Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 11:34:08 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.130014 (Ma Gnus v0.14) Emacs/25.1 (darwin)

>>>>> "AS" == Andreas Schwab <address@hidden> writes:

AS> Yes, it is. It's a misfeature. It makes it alien with all the other dired
AS> commands.

Hello, I'm just joining this conversation, but I've read all the backlog.

First, if Eli believes that maintenance requires retaining a 22 year old
feature -- however improbable its use, however idiosyncratic its behavior when
compared to other dired commands -- that's the end of the discussion here. I
ask that you respect this. You need to convince your maintainer of the merits
of the change, not argue that his decision is without ground. He has all the
ground he needs due to his role on this project.

Do I think it's a wart that should be fixed? Maybe. But we have to tread very
carefully here. We have a commitment to those whom we maintain Emacs for: to
avoid gratuitously changing long-standing behavior without considering every
angle. If we allowed everyone to change whatever annoyed them, just because
they thought it was an improvement, we'd be in a terrible state.

I'd like to see a couple of things happen from here:

 1. Begin a discussion on emacs-devel about the behavior of this command.
    Solicit the wisdom of other old-timers on that list. Present your case
    dispassionately, in terms of what we gain from such a change.

 2. Somehow poll our users to find out if, truly, no one uses this command. We
    may not find those people -- to date, we've been terrible at effective
    polling -- but if we can't find a single person who wants the feature, and
    many who want uniformity, at least we have some data to consider.

Calling each other reasonable or unreasonable, or debating this as though it
should "just be obvious" and thus Eli's opinion doesn't matter, is not the way
to make progress. _What he says goes_, because in the end, he controls who is
allowed to commit changes and who isn't.

Let's focus on the technical issues, and broaden the discussion. So far, a
heated debate between three people will never convince me that we need to
change 22 years of prior art, either.

John Wiegley                  GPG fingerprint = 4710 CF98 AF9B 327B B80F
http://newartisans.com                          60E1 46C4 BD1A 7AC1 4BA2

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