[Numpy-discussion] Args for rand and randn: call for a vote

Robert Kern robert.kern at gmail.com
Sat Jul 8 17:04:46 CDT 2006


Ed Schofield wrote:
> Last week's discussion on rand() and randn() seemed to indicate a  
> sentiment that they ought to take tuples for consistency with ones,  
> zeros, eye, identity, and empty -- that, although they are supposed  
> to be convenience functions, they are inconvenient precisely because  
> of their inconsistency with these other functions.  This issue has  
> been raised many times over the past several months.
> 
> Travis made a change in r2572 to allow tuples as arguments, then took  
> it out again a few hours later, apparently unsure about whether this  
> was a good idea.
> 
> I'd like to call for a vote on what people would prefer, and then ask  
> Travis to make a final pronouncement before the feature freeze.

I would like to ask about the purpose of calling for a vote, here. What 
authority do you intend the result to have? If you are just asking for a straw 
poll of opinions from the list to inform Travis' decision, do you think that he 
hasn't read the previous discussions? Are previous non-participants being drawn 
out of the woodwork? Or do you intend the majority winner of the vote to force 
Travis' decision? In which case, who comprises the voting membership, and why?

Voting is a notoriously bad way to make decisions in software development. Open 
source did not change that. It should be a very rare occurrence and happen in 
very specific circumstances. Two CFVs in as many days is entirely unreasonable. 
And when a vote *is* taken, it should be done with much more care than I think 
you are showing here (specifically, a CFV should not be making the case for only 
one of the choices).

Karl Fogel's book _Producing Open Source Software_ thoroughly discusses these 
issues:

   http://producingoss.com/html-chunk/consensus-democracy.html#voting

-- 
Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
  that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
  an underlying truth."
   -- Umberto Eco





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