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Re: How are the defaults chosen?

From: Stefan Kangas
Subject: Re: How are the defaults chosen?
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2020 08:07:36 -0700

Göktuğ Kayaalp <self@gkayaalp.com> writes:

> I doubt we can come up with any useful guidelines or rules to make it
> into a more ‘objective’ process that could apply generally, but maybe
> it’d be a nice idea to have the rough rule of thumb that ‘defaults of
> user-facing variables, or whether some modes are enabled by default,
> should be debated before new features are merged’.  That possibly
> already is how stuff happens, but we could just emphasise it as a
> conscious UX decision that’ll need to be supported once released.

Yes, that is what already happens.  No need for red tape.

This entire discussion seems to start out from the premise that the
defaults change willy-nilly, when the reality is that Emacs is famous
precisely for being very backwards compatible and conservative.  They
change only when there are strong reasons to do so.

I think it would be more useful to demonstrate some important breaking
changes that we should not have done.  Then we could draw the necessary
lessons from that to avoid such a situation in the future.

For example, perhaps those breaking changes were just bugs or mistakes,
just like the breaking changes that happen in any software project (yes,
including the Linux kernel).  One way to improve that is to write more
unit tests.  Everyone is free to help with that work.

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