Meta: Lifetime of an idea. 1, 2 & 3

If we don’t want this, I think it is pretty clear that the category description should be changed. The distinction that @fungi mentioned between “I want to change something (i.e., via my own work)” and “I want something to change (i.e., via requesting a change)” is a rather subtle shade of meaning to expect people to glean from the particular phrasing of the category description (“Would you like to change something in Python?”).[1]

That is a great point and I’ve wondered about it as well. I think having a clear list of FAQ reasons why an idea needs more work would make it easier for people to just say “Please see the pinned post for why this idea needs X”.

The problem you note, though, is likely another result of the same cause, namely a larger group of people participating in Ideas here compared to the old mailing list. If new people are reading posts here who didn’t read the old list, then ideas that rehash old ideas from the list really are new to those readers. So even people giving criticism on rehashed ideas are doing needless work, because they don’t realize their arguments may have been given years ago on the mailing list! :slight_smile: I’m not sure what the solution to this other than what’s already been discussed, namely throwing up some gentle hurdles to nudge people to work on their ideas a bit more before posting.

  1. That’s not to say the distinction itself is small, just that it requires an unusually precise reading of the text of the description. ↩︎

Ok, I think this is the central driver to this whole discussion.

As someone new to “the open source community” and who has been learning the ropes I’m sympathetic to both groups, those who want things from python and those who want to contribute to Python.

As for those who want things from python: They got a lot out of python without putting anything in. They just download python and get the result of decades of development work. They don’t know how python gets developed, or how few core developers there are for how much work there is to be done. In my opinion it’s very reasonable for them (again, recalling that these are people who may not be steeped at all in the culture of OSS, OSS contribution etc.) to pop into the python discourse ideas category and say “hey I have an idea for python”.

But immediately on the other hand, it’s very reasonable for folks here to say, “thanks for your idea, before we can discuss it you need flesh this out into a proper proposal satisfying our guidelines”. It will then be important in the guidelines (I know this is being discussed in the other thread) to encourage users that their idea should be something that THEY plan to put a lot of work into. Or at the very least indicating that if they’re not willing to put work in then likelihood of eventual acceptance is super low.

So, again, the key to making it easy to teach someone the standards is to have a pinned post they can quickly be pointed to. And, importantly, the pinned post will include, among other things, encourage of the contribution mindset.

Said another way: I don’t think we can “administrative control” away the problem of “drive by proposals” or proposals from people just want something but don’t want to contribute. Instead we should just try to make it as effortless as possible to educate them.

edit: I’m gonna go start checking out the convo in the other thread more now.

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Really? I thought that was the way you change nothing. That’s how
it is with most poprietary software. Unless you have a SLA, you
can’t even complain that it isn’t working properly. Most companies
seem to be of the opinion that, even after you pay them a
whack-ton of money on a regular basis, you still have no rights to
the software, and if their servers happen to be down today, you’re
out of luck.

Apologies, I was being snarky, didn’t intend to derail the

Of course there is money that changes hands, but when you’re in the
trenches at a large corporation filing a feature request
(begging/pestering the software manufacturer) you likely don’t spend
a lot of time thinking about the fact that there’s some PHB several
layers above you stamping cheques from a ledger to cover the
contract with that third party, unless word trickles down to you
from time to time that you’ve gone over budget. Similarly the people
exchanging funds are too many levels removed from the technical
detail of the proposals to have much idea what it’s all about save
for some vague line item with a (comparatively small) number

From the user’s perspective, they tell the software manufacturer
“this would be nice” and they may eventually get back a response
asking to please provide more detail so that the sales engineer can
draft a sensible change proposal (after checking that their support
contract is up to date, and maybe having a few good laughs with the
developers about yet another confused customer request).

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If this separation is at the core of the issue, then this can be a non-deniable effortlessly-determinable separation factor.

Maybe this sort of split into 2 different categories be beneficial?

And posts in either group that are deemed to be wasting time of others just get moved to “Help” (regardless whether one is willing to do work or asking others to do it).

Group 1. (Willing to do it myself)

Group 2. (Asking others to do it)

Group 3. Currently uncertain, but it would be nice to know if they are willing to work on it themselves and would naturally find its place in Group 1 or Group 2.

I am now sceptical of my initial proposal of segregating by % baked. I think this is hard to quantify and I believe there are exceptions. If I try to put myself in coredev’s shoes I think there would be some ideas that are 1% baked, but if a person is willing to work on it and I like it, I would not move it to help. And similarly, some ideas could be 50% baked, but on such wrong premises that it is just wasting time of others.

At least a compulsory checkbox when creating a new thread in ideas. Even by not being a coredev this information would change how I react to it.

3th draft, still looking for feedback from more than 2 people.

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As I’ve said in my reply to that thread

People here haven’t decided on which direction to go yet. Some opinions are

  1. Do nothing
  2. Make an idea template
  3. Make an idea pinned post
  4. Rename Python Help
  5. Edit the description of Ideas
  6. Add a category between Python Help and Ideas
  7. Add a category between Ideas and PEPs
  8. etc.

I don’t see the point of discussing the wording of the pinned post, when there’s no consensus that there should be a pinned post.

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Paul has already said that these posts belong in Python Help period:

A template is too prescriptive and won’t be filled in properly, renaming Python Help isn’t going to fix that and editing the description of Ideas won’t be able to go into enough detail.

That leaves the idea pinned post as the only viable solution that makes it easier to explain what’s wrong with a post.

But as you yourself pointed out, that’s only the opinion of one core developer. My word is not law, and I don’t want it to be. The Python community works by consensus (mostly).


And I have asked for this conversation to be suspended until the other one is settled.
Most sections have pinned posts, Ideas doesn’t and is the second most frequented section, so a pinned post makes sense on its own regardless of this discussion.
And as I said before, implementing a repressive policy (voluntary moving ideas where they will have less visibility) without disclaiming it is absurd, so at a bare minimum the criteria that make a post good should be explained.


Well technically it does have a pinned post (if you haven’t accidentally unpinned it like I did), but it’s not detailed enough.

@pf_moore I’m glad if there is no consensus about moving ideas out of Ideas. But there seems to be a consensus, I believe, about what makes an idea good. So let’s post that.

I heard people say that, but I checked again and I didn’t see it. Where can I find it ?

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I just posted the 6th draft: Add pinned post in ideas - #75 by Nineteendo. Please give some feedback.

I’ve added some comments there, but can I also say that this has been a productive and helpful discussion - thanks for managing it the way you have :slightly_smiling_face:


I think we need a process diagram of an idea. It should cover majority of different path possibilities from inception to implementation.

Also, it would be nice to see the difference of how this process differs for someone in core-dev team and someone new.

Having such high level map, problems of current situation can be addressed in more informed manner and appropriate goals can be set.

I Have an idea
 Are you core-dev?
|                |
yes              no
|                |
\/               \/
???           Round 1