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How are the defaults chosen?

From: Thibaut Verron
Subject: How are the defaults chosen?
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2020 10:02:15 +0200

Dear all,

In line with the recent and current discussions on possible changes 
to the defaults, I have come to realize that I don't know what the 
reasons for choosing the current defaults is, in many cases.

For example, in some cases, the option which is deemed superior, 
even though it can be more confusing, is the default: undo-ring vs 

In some cases, it is the opposite, the superior option is left for the 
user to activate, the default behaviour is the simple one: list-buffers 
vs ibuffer, all the commands marked 'disabled.

In some cases, where there is no clear superior/confusing, the 
default option is the one you would find in most other software: 

And yet, in others, it is not the case: visual-line-mode is not enabled 
by default.

I'm not trying to start a new discussion on each one of those defaults, 
but are there clear guidelines on what makes a default value better 
than another? 

Or is it just a dozen individual discussions, sometimes resulting in 
a new default, and in all other cases the default is whichever option 
appeared first?

If the latter, maybe spending time to agree on or decree such guidelines, 
at the same time as on how to change the defaults in the least 
disruptive way possible (already in progress) would help both with
the current and the inevitable future discussions?


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