[Numpy-discussion] NA masks in the next numpy release?

Travis Oliphant oliphant@enthought....
Tue Oct 25 16:56:53 CDT 2011

It is a shame that Nathaniel and perhaps Matthew do not feel like their voice was heard.   I wish I could have participated more fully in some of the discussions.  I don't know if I could have really helped, but I would have liked to have tried to perhaps work alongside Mark to integrate some of the other ideas that had been expressed during the discussion.   Unfortunately,  I was traveling in NYC most of the time that Mark was working on this project and did not get a chance to interact with him as much as I would have liked. 

My view is that we didn't get quite to where I thought we would get, nor where I think we could be.  I think Nathaniel and Matthew provided very specific feedback that was helpful in understanding other perspectives of a difficult problem.     In particular, I really wanted bit-patterns implemented.    However, I also understand that Mark did quite a bit of work and altered his original designs quite a bit in response to community feedback.   I wasn't a major part of the pull request discussion, nor did I merge the changes, but I support Charles if he reviewed the code and felt like it was the right thing to do.  I likely would have done the same thing rather than let Mark Wiebe's work languish. 

Merging Mark's code does not mean there is not more work to be done, but it is consistent with the reality that currently development on NumPy happens when people have the time to do it.    I have not seen anything to convince me that there is not still time to make specific API changes that address some of the concerns.   

Perhaps, Nathaniel and or Matthew could summarize their concerns again and if desired submit a pull request to revert the changes.   However, there is a definite bias against removing working code unless the arguments are very strong and receive a lot of support from others. 

Thank you for continuing to voice your opinions even when it may feel that the tide is against you.   My view is that we only learn from people who disagree with us.  

Best regards,


On Oct 25, 2011, at 1:24 PM, Benjamin Root wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 1:03 PM, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 8:04 AM, Lluís <xscript@gmx.net> wrote:
> > Matthew Brett writes:
> >> I'm afraid I find this whole thread very unpleasant.
> >
> >> I have the odd impression of being back at high school.  Some of the
> >> big kids are pushing me around and then the other kids join in.
> >
> >> It didn't have to be this way.
> >
> >> Someone could have replied like this to Nathaniel:
> >
> >> "Oh - yes - I'm sorry -  we actually had the discussion on the pull
> >> request.  Looking back, I see that we didn't flag this up on the
> >> mailing list and maybe we should have.  Thanks for pointing that out.
> >>  Maybe we could start another discussion of the API in view of the
> >> changes that have gone in".
> >
> >> But that didn't happen.
> >
> > Well, I really thought that all the interested parties would take a look at [1].
> >
> > While it's true that the pull requests are not obvious if you're not using the
> > functionalities of the github web (or unless announced in this list), I think
> > that Mark's announcement was precisely directed at having a new round of
> > discussions after having some code to play around with and see how intuitive or
> > counter-intuitive the implemented concepts could be.
> I just wanted to be clear what I meant.
> The key point is not whether or not the pull-request or request for
> testing was in fact the right place for the discussion that Travis
> suggested.   I guess you can argue that either way.   I'd say no, but
> I can see how you would disagree on that.
> This is getting very meta... a disagreement about the disagreement.
> The key point is - how much do we value constructive disagreement?
> Personally, I value it very much.  My impression of the discussion we all had at the beginning was that the needs of the two distinct communities (R-users and masked array users) were both heard and largely addressed.  Aspects of both approaches were used, and the final result is, IMHO, inspired and elegant.  Is it perfect? No.  Are there ways to improve it? Absolutely, and I fully expect that to happen.
> If we do value constructive disagreement then we'll go out of our way
> to talk through the points of contention, and make sure that the
> people who disagree, especially the minority, feel that they have been
> fully heard.
> If we don't value constructive disagreement then we'll let the other
> side know that further disagreement will be taken as a sign of bad
> faith.
> Now - what do you see here?  I see the second and that worries me.
> It is disappointing that you choose not to participate in the thread linked above or in the pull request itself.  If I remember correctly, you were working on finishing up your dissertation, so I fully understand the time constraints involved there.  However, the pull request and the email notification is the de facto method of staging and discussing changes in any development project.  No objections were raised in that pull request, so it went in after some time passed.  To hold off the merge, all one would need to do is fire off a quick comment requesting a delay to have a chance to review the pull request.
> Luckily, git is a VCS, so we are fully capable of reverting any necessary changes if warranted.  If you have any concerns or suggestions for changes in the current implementation, feel free to raise them and open additional pull requests.  There is no "ganging up" here or any other subterfuge.  Tell us exactly what are your issues with the current setup, provide example code demonstrating the issues, and we can certainly discuss ways to improve this.
> Remember, we *all* have a common agreement here.  NumPy needs better support for missing data (in whatever form).  Let's work from that assumption and make NumPy a better library to use for everybody!
> Cheers!
> Ben Root
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Travis Oliphant
Enthought, Inc.

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