On 17 October 2016 at 18:32, Steven D'Aprano <st...@pearwood.info> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 12:11:46PM -0400, Random832 wrote:
>> Honestly, it goes beyond just being "wrong". The repeated refusal to
>> even acknowledge any equivalence between [...x... for x in [a, b, c]]
>> and [...a..., ...b..., ...c...] truly makes it difficult for me to
>> accept some people's _sincerity_.
> While we're talking about people being insincere, how about if you take
> a look at your own comments? This "repeated refusal" that you accuse us
> (opponents of this proposal) of is more of a rhetorical fiction than an
> actual reality. Paul, David and I have all acknowledged the point you
> are trying to make. I won't speak for Paul or David, but speaking for
> myself, it isn't that I don't understand the point you're trying to
> make, but that I do not understand why you think that point is
> meaningful or desirable.

For my part:

1. I've acknowledged that equivalence. As well as the fact that the
proposal (specifically, as explained formally by Greg) is
understandable and a viable possible extension.
2. I don't find the "interpolation" equivalence a *good* way of
interpreting list comprehensions, any more than I think that loops
should be explained by demonstrating how to unroll them.
3. I've even explicitly revised my position on the proposal from -1 to
-0 (although I'm tending back towards -1, if I'm honest...).
4. Whether you choose to believe me or not, I've sincerely tried to
understand the proposal, but I pretty much had to insist on a formal
definition of syntax and semantics before I got an explanation that I
could follow.


1. I'm tired of hearing that the syntax is "obvious". This whole
thread proves otherwise, and I've yet to hear anyone from the
"obvious" side of the debate acknowledge that.
2. Can someone summarise the *other* arguments for the proposal? I'm
genuinely struggling to recall what they are (assuming they exist). It
feels like I'm hearing nothing more than "it's obvious what this does,
it's obvious that it's needed and the people saying it isn't are
wrong". That may well not be the truth, but *it's the impression I'm
getting*. I've tried to take a step back and summarise my side of the
debate a couple of times now. I don't recall seeing anyone doing the
same from the other side (Greg's summarised the proposal, but I don't
recall anyone doing the same with the justification for it).
3. The fact is that the proposed behaviour was *specifically* blocked,
*precisely* because of strong concerns that it would cause readability
issues and only had "mild" support. I'm not hearing any reason to
change that decision (sure, there are a few people here offering
something stronger than "mild" support, but it's only a few voices,
and they are not addressing the readability concerns at all). There
was no suggestion in the PEP that this decision was expected to be
revisited later. Maybe there was an *intention* to do so, but the PEP
didn't state it. I'd suggest that this fact alone implies that the
people proposing this change need to write a new PEP for it, but
honestly I don't think the way the current discussion has gone
suggests that there's any chance of putting together a persuasive PEP,
much less a consensus decision.

And finally, no-one has even *tried* to explain why we need a third
way of expressing this construction. Nick made this point, and
basically got told that his condition was too extreme. He essentially
got accused of constructing an impossible test. And yet it's an
entirely fair test, and one that's applied regularly to proposals -
and many *do* pass the test. It's worth noting here that we have had
no real-world use cases, so the common approach of demonstrating real
code, and showing how the proposal improves it, is not available.
Also, there's no evidence that this is a common need, and so it's not
clear to what extent any sort of special language support is
warranted. We don't (as far as I know, and no-one's provided evidence
otherwise) see people routinely writing workarounds for this
construct. We don't hear of trainers saying that pupils routinely try
to do this, and are surprised when it doesn't work (I'm specifically
talking about students *deducing* this behaviour, not being asked if
they think it's reasonable once explained). These are all arguments
that have been used in the past to justify new syntax (and so reach
Nick's "bar").

And we've had a special-case function (flatten) proposed to cover the
most common cases (taking the approach of the 80-20 rule) - but the
only response to that proposal has been "but it doesn't cover
<artificial example>". If it didn't cover a demonstrably common
real-world problem, that would be a different matter - but anyone can
construct cases that aren't covered by *any* given proposal. That
doesn't prove anything.

I don't see any signs of progress here. And I'm pretty much at the
point where I'm losing interest in having the same points repeated at
me over and over, as if repetition and volume will persuade me. Sorry.

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