I'm not particularly swayed by the arguments to remove the Recommends
from the Debian package.

I don't think the Recommends of youtube-dl are excessive. mplayer2 is no
longer recommended. The other recommends are needed to download media
from certain sites.

"So there is no dispute that ytdl is quite useful for mpv, only that
users should likely acquire & update ytdl on their own from the site."

One of the main points of a distribution is so that users _do not_ have
to do this.

Why does mpv recommending youtube-dl prevent them from updating it
themselves if they want to? By having youtube-dl installed, mpv will
even print a nice message telling them how to update.

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  Recommend of youtube-dl is questionable

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