On Sun, Sep 15, 2013 at 6:42 AM, René Scharfe <l....@web.de> wrote:
> Am 09.09.2013 01:13, schrieb Felipe Contreras:
>> On Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 10:21 AM, René Scharfe <l....@web.de> 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. :)

Exactly, so if the summary of the commit message allows people to skip
a patch, that is fine.

>>> 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
>>> again?
>>> 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.

Yes, of course, but that still means the commit message summary failed
it's purpose.

>> 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.

The problem is that the commit message is not for you, it's for every
reader, so the fact that you would have understood it that way is

Maybe this is an exercise in the lack of empathy, and an example of

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

It would say "trivial", which allows me and a lot of other people to
safely skip them, it's as simple as that.

>>>> 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.

I don't understand what you are trying to say, the point remains; a
patch being trivial says nothing about its correctness.

>>>> 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.

No, we are not. Commit messages have nothing formal about them, they
are human oriented and colloquial.

Felipe Contreras
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