On Thu, Nov 07, 2013 at 11:37:38AM -0800, Junio C Hamano wrote:

> Junio C Hamano <gits...@pobox.com> writes:
> > Karsten Blees <karsten.bl...@gmail.com> writes:
> >
> >> Additionally, precedence of negated patterns is exactly as outlined in
> >> the DESCRIPTION section, we don't need to repeat this.
> >
> > Very good, thanks.
> >
> > Even though I have a suspicion that somebody else may be able to
> > come up with a better phrase that does not sound unnecessarily
> > strongly than "recursively and irrevocably", that somebody else is
> > not me, so I'll queue this as-is for now.
> Just in case somebody thinks about rephrasing, to me, these two
> words sound heavier than the information they actually convey, and
> that is why I said "unnecessarily strong".

I agree that it seems unnecessarily strong.  The word "irrevocable" to
me implies that it cannot ever be changed. But of course it is only
irrevocable for the particular run; you can always edit the .gitignore
file. :)

> The key thing in the behaviour when a directory is excluded is that
> it tells us to stop going into that directory, and there is no way
> to override it with another .gitignore file somewhere inside,
> because we are told not to even bother looking for it.  "Recursively
> and irrevocably" may be an accurate description of the end result,
> but that sounds more like a rule without a "because"; to a reader
> (me), it lacks the "aha, of course" that comes from understanding
> why.

I think it is more than just "we do not descend and so do not read the
.gitignore file". I thought the previous discussion on this topic showed
that you cannot do:

  $ cat .gitignore

to see foo/bar.

> >>   - An optional prefix "`!`" which negates the pattern; any
> >>     matching file excluded by a previous pattern will become
> >> -   included again.  If a negated pattern matches, this will
> >> -   override lower precedence patterns sources.
> >> +   included again. It is not possible to re-include a file if a parent
> >> +   directory of that file is excluded (i.e. excluding a directory
> >> +   will recursively and irrevocably exclude the entire content).
> >>     Put a backslash ("`\`") in front of the first "`!`" for patterns
> >>     that begin with a literal "`!`", for example, "`\!important!.txt`".

How about:

  It is not possible to re-include a file if a parent directory of that
  file is excluded. Once git considers a directory excluded, it does not
  descend into the directory to consider its contents further.

> >> +Example to exclude everything except a specific directory `foo/bar`
> >> +(note the `/*` - without the slash, the wildcard would also exclude
> >> +everything within `foo/bar`):
> >> +
> >> +--------------------------------------------------------------
> >> +    $ cat .gitignore
> >> +    # exclude everything except directory foo/bar
> >> +    /*
> >> +    !/foo
> >> +    /foo/*
> >> +    !/foo/bar
> >> +--------------------------------------------------------------

That looks good to me. The simplest example would be handling a
top-level directory (i.e., ignore all except `/foo`). That is a subset
of what's happening above, and I think showing the general case is good.
I'd worry slightly that a non-astute reader might not figure out how to
simplify down to the top-level case, and we should have two examples. I
may just be overly pessimistic, though.

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