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Re: Confused by y-or-n-p

From: Stefan Kangas
Subject: Re: Confused by y-or-n-p
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2021 12:06:44 +0100

Gregory Heytings via "Emacs development discussions."
<emacs-devel@gnu.org> writes:

> A rule is not a mathematical law, it's an action guideline.

No, a rule is obviously stronger than a guideline.

Otherwise, you would have proposed a guideline.  Which would be a fine
proposal, and AFAICT equivalent to what we have already.

> ... developers start working on something thinking that scratching the
> current state of affairs to create something they believe is better
> without thinking about backwards compatibility ...

Do you have any evidence to back up the claim that this has happened?

> By the way, the feedback in this case came from Richard, who wanted the
> old behavior back, and he got it back in a few days.  I'm curious whether
> this would have happened if the feedback had been sent by a random user.

Of course Richard's word has more weight than that of "a random user".
This is expected in any project.  (Guido in Python, Larry Wall in Perl,
Linus in Linux, etc.)

But in general, backwards compatibility complaints are taken seriously
no matter the sender.  In fact, this project sometimes goes to extreme
lengths simply to maintain backwards-compatibility even in the most
minor and inconsequential cases.

But of course on occasion we trip up: we don't pay enough attention to
this aspect, or we take it much too far.  Both are equally bad, IMHO.
To my mind, we need to take a balanced view.  I don't see how a hard
rule (or even a soft one) will help us do that better.

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