Re: CFD: (was [PATCH] Standardindentation of arguments)

From: Al Viro
Date: Wed May 21 2008 - 05:42:08 EST

On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 01:50:37AM -0700, Andrew Morton wrote:
> On Wed, 21 May 2008 09:34:13 +0100 Al Viro <viro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > This is a call for discussion for new maillist on vger.
> >
> > List name: linux-wanking@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Oh, what a marvellous way to encourage new contributors that was. Thank
> you so much.
> For the record: Al speaks only for himself and a lack of expressed
> disagrement from others should not be taken as agreement.

Of course I speak for myself. And I am absolutely open about my belief
that such _contribution_s_ need to be discouraged. Actively.

Hell, a month ago I mentioned right-justifying text in comments as
"we'll never reach _that_" kind of pointless idiocy. And there we
are, much closer to that than I ever expected.

I have nothing against contributors. I *DO* have a lot against a very
specific class of contributions. Exactly because they actively prevent
people from moving on to saner stuff. Rule of the thumb: if a pointless
activity can be carried indefinitely long and creates an impression of
busy doing something, it ought to be discouraged.

Basically, something one could do as infinitely stretchable time-filler
when one _really_ doesn't feel like doing anything that might require
thinking. Think of this situations like "I need to write the next
part of paper, but I just can't get around to starting it; anything
but that - let's rearrange the order of references, rearrange the
pencils, whatever".

And that is where I believe Ingo is wrong - dropping the level of acceptable
pointlessness of patches does *not* encourage meaningful contributions; it
discourages them. Ladder doesn't become more accessible if you extend it
down into swamp; there's a reasonable starting level from which one _does_
go up. It's impossible to define formally, but it's quite real and I'm
very afraid that it's rapidly getting harder to find. Harder for newbies.

> Sheesh

Sheesh, indeed.
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