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Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?
Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2016 22:06:50 +0200

> From: Ingo Lohmar <address@hidden>
> Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2016 20:32:28 +0100
> > If a git log message starts off life unreliable (i.e. there are mistakes
> > in it) it can never be corrected.  It stays unreliable for the lifetime
> > of the repository.
> That's pretty much what I meant.  It may not contain the information you
> (and I) would like to see in it, but it is highly reliable in that it is
> the message that was used to describe the commit.

Yeah, it's a reliable lie.  How helpful is that?

> > I am an experienced Emacs contributor, and I have, even recently, made
> > mistakes in my commit messages.  I resent the fact that it is so
> > difficult to correct them, even before pushing to savannah.  I don't
> > think I need any teaching on the importance of good commit messages.
> I make a lot of mistakes in commit messages, and I do not agree that it
> is difficult to fix them before pushing.

Indeed, it isn't difficult.  But since mistakes do get pushed, I guess
people are not careful enough to review their commits before pushing,
or else we wouldn't be having this conversation, and there would be no
need for the procedures to correct pushed commits with mistaken log

> You surely don't need any teaching about commit messages, but Eli
> has repeatedly referred to those who do, and I try to counter the
> argument that Changelog fixing teaches them a *good* lesson.

Telling the wrongdoer to clean up their mess surely does teach them a
lesson.  It could well be the lesson we both agree is the best one:
review your commits before pushing.

I hope you agree that NOT fixing the mistakes teaches them an entirely
different lesson, the one we think is undesirable: that mistakes don't
matter, and eventually that the log messages don't matter, as long as
they say _something_.

> > Not everybody has access to the git repository, and not everybody who
> > has is capable of using it effectively.  ChangeLogs remain a useful,
> > easy to use summary of Emacs's progress.
> I cannot speak for anybody but myself.  When I am a user of Emacs,
> trying to get an idea of what has changed on the level of detail that
> the Changelog provides, I would rather go to the authoritative source,
> if online (without any repository) at
> http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/emacs.git.

I guess you never had to work in segregated networks, where access to
the outside world is not available.

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