> I guess that leaves Alex's question of whether or not supplying a string of 
> some
> description as the initial value can be legitimately translated to:
>    if isinstance(initial, basestring):
>      return initial + type(initial)().join(seq)

If you're trying to get people in the habit of writing sum(x, "")
instead of "".join(x), I fear that they'll try sum(x, " ") instead of
" ".join(x), and be sadly disappointed.

Frankly, I've had enough of this exploration of alternative
definitions for sum(), and think it is perfect as it is.

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)
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