Am 09.09.2013 01:13, schrieb Felipe Contreras:
On Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 10:21 AM, René Scharfe <> wrote:
Am 31.08.2013 19:20, schrieb Felipe Contreras:

A summary should contain as much information that would allow me to
skip the commit message as possible.

If I can't tell from the summary if I can safely skip the commit
message, the summary is not doing a good job.

"trivial simplification" explains the "what", and the "why" at the
same time, and allows most people to skip the commit message, thus is
a good summary.

No patch should be skipped on the mailing list.  As you wrote, trivial
patches can still be wrong.

What patches each persons skips is each person's own decision, don't
be patronizing, if I want to skip a trivial patch, I will, I can't
read each and every patch from the dozens of mailing lists I'm
subscribed to, and there's no way each and every reader is going to
read each and every patch. They should be prioritized, and trivial
ones can be safely skipped by most people.

Yes, of course; someone needs to review every patch in the end, but each reader decides for themselves which ones to skip. I can't keep up with the traffic either.

By the way, the bikeshedding phenomenon probably causes trivial patches to receive the most attention. :)

When going through the history I can see that quickly recognizing
insubstantial changes is useful, but if I see a summary twice then in my
mind forms a big question mark -- why did the same thing had to be done yet

As an example, both 0d12e59f (pull: replace unnecessary sed invocation) and
bc2bbc45 (pull, rebase: simplify to use die()) could arguably have had the
summary "trivial simplification", but I'm glad the author went with
something a bit more specific.

Well I wont. Because it takes long to read, and after reading I still
don't don't if they are trivial or not, I might actually have to read
the commit message, but to be honest, I would probably go right into
the diff itself, because judging from Git's history, chances are that
somebody wrote a novel there with the important bit I'm looking for
just at the end, to don't ruin the suspense.

Ha! It's better to write it down at all than to miss it years later, when even the original author has forgotten all about it.

In the first commit, it's saying it's a single invocation, so I take
it it's trivial, but what is it replaced with? Is the code simpler, is
it more complex? I don't know, I'm still not being told *why* that
patch is made. It says 'unnecessary' but why is it unnecessary?

The sed call is unnecessary because of the fact that it can be replaced. :) I'm sure I would have understood it to mean a conversion to Shell builtin functionality in order to avoid forking and executing an external command, even if I hadn't read the patch.

In the second commit, it's saying it's a simplification, but I don't
know if it's just one instance, or a thousand, so I don't know what
would be the impact of the patch.

Either way I'm forced to read more just to know if it was safe for me
to skip them, at which point the whole purpose of a summary is

I don't see how using "trivial simplification" as the summary for both could have improved matters.

Again, triviality and correctness are two separate different things.
The patch is trivial even if you can't judge it's correctness.

Well, in terms of impact I agree.

No, in all terms. A patch can be:

Trivial and correct
Trivial and incorrect
Non-trivial and correct
Non-trivial and incorrect

Well, yes, but I thought your statement that "The patch is trivial" was referring to my actual patch which started this sub-thread. And I meant that the benefit of that patch to users and programmers was small.

To me, what you are describing is an obvious patch, not a trivial one.
An obvious patch is so obvious that you can judge it's correctness
easily by looking at the diff, a trivial one is of little importance.

That's one definition; I think I had the mathematical notion in mind that
calls proofs trivial which are immediately evident.

We are not talking about mathematics, we are talking about the English
human language.

Here we were talking about source code patches. As formal descriptions of changes to (mostly) programming language text they are closer to mathematics than English. Using math terms when talking about them is not too far of a stretch.


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