New private names proposal

Mark S. Miller erights at
Thu Dec 23 17:20:21 PST 2010

On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM, David Herman <dherman at> wrote:

> All we've asked is that we not assume prima facie that we must pick a
> winner and stop all work on the other. That said, I don't think we should do
> much design work on the list or in committee meetings. The "champions" model
> has worked well (for example, for the proxies spec). I think Allen and
> others should continue working on private names, and Mark and others should
> continue working on soft fields. This conversation has raised helpful
> feedback and ideas, so now it's time for people to go back to the drawing
> board and do some more independent design work.


I feel like we've made important progress on this thread: We broke through
an impasse of mutual inability to understand each other, are now in a
position of a fair degree of mutual understanding, and at a remaining
impasse only at making progress from understanding towards towards
agreement. I have had some good aha's in getting here, and I hope others
have too, but now I feel like we're arguing about the nature of our argument
rather than the subject matter. I do not feel I am learning anything new. I
think reverting to off-list design work before another round of on-list
discussion is a fine thing, and I do like the champion model. So I fully
endorse your paragraph above.

That said, once we do resume these on-list or in meeting discussions, I see
much right and nothing wrong with comparing the proposals and seeing how
much use-case ground that we actually care about we can cover with how
little mechanism. Questions of the form "If A can cover this subset of the
use cases motivating B, do we need B?" are perfectly legitimate. Indeed,
asking such questions vigorously is our only hope at avoiding a kitchen sink
language. We have seen the usability of other languages be ruined by
undisciplined growth.

That does not mean that we need to ask these questions so early as to
suppress exploration and brainstorming. But we are the gatekeepers between
"strawman" and "proposal". We need to ask these questions before admitting
designs across this threshold.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the es-discuss mailing list