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Re: The Problem with Non-Functional Metrics

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Eric Wilhelm
June 30, 2008 12:50
Re: The Problem with Non-Functional Metrics
Message ID:
# from chromatic
# on Monday 30 June 2008 11:19:

>On Monday 30 June 2008 04:01:01 Salve J Nilsen wrote:
>> If people are actually annoyed about getting in the "hall of shame",
>> we shouldn't remove the hall, but instead give them useful info on
>> how to get out of it. If authors add useless "workarounds" just to
>> get on the top of the CPANTS game, we shouldn't remove the game, but
>> instead find ways to make this tactic useless.
>Let's try a thought experiment. ...
<snipped lots of good points>
>If public humiliation doesn't encourage people to write better code,
> I'm not sure what kind of metric I can add that will.

The goal of the kwalitee metrics should probably steer away from 
attempting to encourage conformity to some arbitrarily selected and 
arguably bad habits.  The game attempts to fix people problems with 
technology, but what we've ended up with is the need to fix technology 
problems (in the metrics) with people -- which is far worse.

The kwalitee metrics should be useful data points when selecting between 
multiple modules, which means that the searcher (me) makes the 
decisions about which ones are important.  For example, the Test::Pod 
and Test::PodCoverage metrics are indicators of cargo-cult practices 
and I tend to see them as lowering quality if anything.  The bonus 
metrics such as inclusion in debian or is_prereq are potentially 
useful, but only in comparing potential apples.

It does nobody any good to compare an XML parser to an IMAP client on 
the basis of whether one or the other is included in debian.

But, no search tool currently allows kwalitee as a criteria, so all 
we've gotten from it thus far is the game, the noise, and some 

Consumers want choice, consumers want openness.
--Rob Glaser

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