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Re: the RFC process is a pain
From: Sam Kington
July 16, 2022 01:20
Re: the RFC process is a pain
Message ID: E56F7EB3-3BD8-439A-B2E2-BDF217C0996F@illuminated.co.uk
On 15 Jul 2022, at 23:06, Ricardo Signes <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> The RFC process starts with an formal proposal to add or change a language feature in Perl. But you, the prospective author of an RFC, shouldn't start by writing one. Start by posting to p5p that you have an idea. Explain what problem you're solving, how you think you can solve it, and what prior art you looked at. Be clear and concise. Make it easy for the rest of the list to see what you're suggesting without reading an enormous wall of text, but don't lose so much detail as to be meaningless.
> Draft Proposal
> You decided your idea got enough acclaim that you should write it up. You get the template document and fill it out. You take its advice, thinking hard about what goes in each section. Then you post it to p5p as an email with the subject "PROPOSAL: my great idea". Members of the list will reply with more questions and suggested amendments. You should read them and amend the proposal to clarify your ideas or react to valid criticism.
> Open question: Is it better to have the text only emailed to the list, or better to put it in a repository? Right now, we use the perl/RFCs repository, which is fine, but has led to discussions happening in multiple places. The place to discuss these documents should largely be on perl5-porters, not on GitHub.
I think discussion about pre-RFCs should be on p5p; but refinement of draft proposals should be primarily be on GitHub. This is because the nature of the discussion changes.
Pre-RFC threads are typically about (1) is this a good idea? and (2) could this go horribly wrong because of circumstances I haven’t thought of? Obviously #1 is inherently on-topic for p5p; but #2 is also appropriate, because there are a whole bunch of greybeards on p5p who are quite happy to lurk for years, only to occasionally chime up with stuff like “actually, I think you’ll find that Perl scripts which happen to be part of the init process of Solaris v.ancient use this language feature you thought was obsolete”.
But once someone says “looks good, write it up as an RFC”, I think the discussion then happens (or should happen) on GitHub, because often there’s a an iterative cycle of feedback and editing, where people say “looks good, but I think you should clarify this bit” / “you’ve made a typo here”, and it’s fixed, and then more review happens.
Now, it might well be that as a result of this conversation, people realise that there’s an important point that was missed in the pre-RFC discussion, at which point we should start a thread on p5p to bring it to the attention of those people who weren’t interested in copy-editing discussions on GitHub. But my feeling, as an outsider, is that the best way to discuss things is: pre-RFC on p5p, draft proposals on GitHub.