[swift-evolution] Swift phases and mis-timed proposals

John McCall rjmccall at apple.com
Tue Jun 13 02:18:48 CDT 2017

> On Jun 13, 2017, at 1:08 AM, Jacob Bandes-Storch via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 9:31 PM, Paul Cantrell via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org <mailto:swift-evolution at swift.org>> wrote:
> I support everything Jon wrote.
> +1 Free-for-all brainstorming venue separate from focused proposal discussion.
> +1, particularly for this being a section in Discourse ;-)

You posted this with a wink, but I think it's actually quite important.  I see some value in having a "sounding board" area where people can talk through ideas that maybe aren't anywhere close to proposal yet, but actually encouraging the use of a completely different venue would be pretty unfortunate:

1. That venue would become important to the community, but it wouldn't really be a *part* of the community in some ways.  For example, it would be a terrible failure if the fashionable place for (say) talking about new reflection APIs was a website where not everyone felt comfortable participating because some of the established contributors there were jerks.  We really want everything in the project to be covered under the Code of Conduct.

2. Today, there's one standard venue for in-depth conversations about Swift evolution: this mailing list.  Having one venue is self-reinforcing: if you have a conversation somewhere else, you're always missing people, and convincing people to join your side-conversation naturally makes them ask why you're not having it on the main venue.  In contrast, telling people to have conversations elsewhere means intentionally fracturing the community, and there's no reason it would stay with just two venues.  We'd probably end up with a ton of short-lived, hard-to-find, poorly-archived discussion groups with their own isolated focus and culture; that's a situation that naturally leads to different groups not realizing that they need to be talking to each other.  It'd be more like the salon system than an engineering project.

3. Having a separate venue for early-stage discussions also creates an awkward transition when the proposal is ready to move on.  Discussion probably doesn't totally stop in the old venue, and in the new venue the discussion has lost a lot of context, and it's annoying to constantly refer back to the old venue.  In contrast, if early discussions are just threads on a different part of the same forum, they can simply be moved around as they mature.

So, in my opinion, we should just bear with the current situation until we have a proper forum.

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