Back to the issue... (was RE: Squeak coding style...)

Lex Spoon lex at
Sat Mar 6 16:00:07 UTC 2004

Lex wrote:
> > On the flip side, bad code cannot be made good just by forcing it into
> > some conventions.   Do we want to have to accept code just because it
> > follows some list of rules?  I don't think so -- we should also require
> > that the most important packages have a certain level of functionality
> > and quality, for example.  There is no safety to be found in lists of
> > rules; poor authors will always find a new abheration to circumvent
> > them.  :)

goran.krampe at wrote:
> Personal reflection:
> I find it interesting that so many - at least considering the vocal
> people - are so negative about trying to establish small little rules.
> We do it all the time! The mistake I did this time was obviously to
> *ask* about it. ;)

This is important to me.  Most rules will not improve the
situation--they'll just make more rules.  If you want to make things
better then someone has to go in and make some positive effort.  Rules
are negative efforts that merely say what people cannot do.  On coding
conventions, I do not want to reject code merely because it disobeys
some arbitrary coding convention.  That sounds like a net minus, given
that we can all read the existing code fine, but a new contributor may
well not be hip with the conventions.

I am sorry if I am sensitive about this, but I see it in Debian and I
see it in the laws of my country.  People pile on rules in order to try
and protect themselves from bad stuff, but it doesn't work.  Life always
has danger, and bad coders will always astound you with a new
abberation.  The criterion for a good rule (or a good law) is that it
improves things on the whole when it exists, not that it corresponds to
good practice.  Rules are a good tool for a community to use, but the
tool must be used with care.  Let's make just a few rules, let's choose
them carefully, and let's *not* have lots of small rules.  Let's hack
code, not policy docs.

By the way, if you truly have made policy without asking, I am unaware
of it and I do not feel compelled to comply.


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