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Re: The uselessness of arbitrary Metric gaming

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From:
Eric Wilhelm
Date:
June 30, 2008 14:10
Subject:
Re: The uselessness of arbitrary Metric gaming
Message ID:
200806301410.08401.ewilhelm@cpan.org
# from chromatic
# on Monday 30 June 2008 13:01:

>Where CPANTS works now is identifying actual, functional problems with
>distributions: missing licensing information, not extractable, POD
> errors, invalid META.yml, et cetera.

There is some use in that, but what is the line before "&c"?  It's a 
slippery cliff between "what works" and "what some people happen to 
think".  Is in: why isn't "uses Module::Build, contains no Makefile.PL, 
and requires 5.8.8" a point?  What about "does not include cargo-culted 
Test::PodCoverage or Test::Pod"?  "Has no CamelCase"?,  "No methods 
expect ({arbitrary => extra => 'braces'})"?,  "isa() is a 
method"?, "overrides can()"?, "No OPTIONS|AS|NUMERIC|CONSTANTS"?, "Does 
not use Class::Accessor"?, "Mutators are set_foo()"?, "Does not inherit 
Exporter"?,  "META.yml includes keywords"?, "META.yml links to version 
control"?, "Uses Moose"!?

After all, there's supposed to be more than one way to do it, right?  
This implies that some of them haven't even been invented yet.

>Where CPANTS doesn't work is attempting to bolt on several other
>highly-ambiguous metrics in order to turn the ranking into a
> differentiator between similar distribution.

Regardless of whether the metrics are ambiguous or debatable, they can 
only be used for comparisons between modules if you open a new browser 
window/tab and manually lookup each one.

All of it is potentially useful data to someone, but if it is going to 
be anything besides a game, it probably needs more ways to be queried.

Perhaps the wxCPANPLUS Summer of Code project will make it easier to 
integrate some of this sort of stuff in the search process, but the 
current way to update the CPANTS db is to download the 10MB gzipped 
file daily?

So, a wxCPANPLUS plugin allowing users to leverage the data by 
configuring their own client to display what they consider important?  
Maybe that can even turn into a two-way street where the client tells 
the server which metrics its user considers useful -- and then we can 
turn that into a popularity contest game for the metric authors ;-)

--Eric
-- 
"But as to modern architecture, let us drop it and let us take
modernistic out and shoot it at sunrise."
--F.L. Wright
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