how to create strawman proposals?

Kyle Simpson getify at
Thu Jun 2 22:15:12 PDT 2011

>> So if a non-TC39 member wants to create suggestions and proposals and 
>> ideas for the community to discuss, am I to understand that not only this 
>> list, but also the wiki that this list so frequently references, are not 
>> really intended for that?
> I didn't say anything about this list. Discussion on all kinds of ideas 
> goes on here. (Yes, people including me get grumpy about overciting, 
> filibustering, padding with rehashed motivation, etc. -- so what?)

With all due respect, it's a somewhat common occurrence on this list when 
someone brings up an idea that bears even a remote resemblance to an 
existing official strawman, the instinctual and rapid triage is to shoehorn 
the discussion into the strawman and quickly move on.

That is of course perfectly fine to run *this* list that way, but I was 
asking if there was a place (or could there be a place?) where ideas could 
be discussed in a less formal setting without the need for formalized 
strawman proposals, and certainly without the urge to immediately bucket 
each idea or question into an existing proposal, or dismiss a topic as 
having already been hashed out long ago.

> So, dismount that high horse, please.

I don't see any high horse around here. I am coming at this from quite the 
opposite perspective, of being just the common folk outsider looking to get 
a leg up. I'd really prefer it if there could be a bit more benefit of the 
doubt around here. Do these types of discussions really have to so regularly 
devolve into this combative tone?

>> There've been several times on this list in various discussion threads 
>> where it was clear that only official-wiki-based strawmans were things 
>> people wanted to seriously discuss. And now to find out that such 
>> strawmans cannot even be authored by any of us non-committee members, it 
>> seems like it further reinforces the desire that there be some other 
>> forum for the "Rest of us"T to use to talk about *our* ideas, not just 
>> the ideas of the committee members.
> Yeah, pay-to-play standards bodies suck, news at eleven. This applies to 
> just about all the big ones. Ecma is far better than some, and TC39 is 
> healthier by many measures than most standards bodies I've seen and 
> participated in.

Your sarcasm suggests that you have taken my observations about the tone and 
demeanor of *this list* as personal (or organizational) attacks -- that 
definitely wasn't intended at all. I'm quite aware of how this list works, 
and I have my own opinions about the pluses and minuses. But I think it's 
fine that this list and TC39 operate as they do, and I'm sure it's for good 

I wasn't suggesting that this list or TC39 should change how they operate. 
I'm merely pointing out that a regular source of frustration on this list 
comes from people like me wanting to discuss ES related topics in a forum 
that has more relaxed rules and standards than this one has.

Why is it that asking for a separate and less formal place to discuss ES 
issues and ideas comes off as threatening or criticizing? It seems to me 
like it'd be useful to have such an informal forum where ideas can percolate 
until they solidify and are ready to be elevated to a more formal discussion 
process such as the ones that most regulars on this list seem to prefer.

> Talk here. What is stopping you?

For one, the perception that if I'm not discussing an already accepted 
strawman sponsored by an existing TC39 member, then the tolerance level 
*here* for such discussion and informality is somewhat low. Again, such 
discussions don't often seem to belong (or really be wanted) on *this* list, 
and so I'd rather stop generating the same friction every time I have an 
idea I want to discuss or get feedback on.

>>> Is there any precedent for this in other perl-based regexp packages?
>> ....Perl6....
>> But more to the point of my intended proposal, .NET has the /n flag for 
>> turning off capturing for ( ) -- I'm not sure if it then turns on 
>> capturing for (?: ) or not, someone more familiar with .NET would have to 
>> inform here.
> That's interesting. I found
> There is no sign of non-capturing syntax (?:...) here at all. This n flag 
> seems a bit different from what you propose.

Again, I'm not sure if .NET swaps the default behavior as I'm proposing, 
when /n is present. But it seems quite natural to me that /n would do so, 
rather than having a strange asymmetry where without the flag, both 
capturing and non-capturing are possible, but with the flag present *only* 
non-capturing is possible.

> As with all things RegExp, I wonder what Steve thinks.

Do you mean Steven Levithan (aka "Mr Regex")? If so, he already commented at 
length on that blog post I mentioned. I guess he implies the discussion is 
worth having by saying "...and which can be explored in future ECMAScript 

>> I am well aware of the discussions on this list about continuations, as 
>> well as the existing strawmans. I am also well aware that my views on 
>> that topic aren't particularly popular.
> So why in the world do you think jamming your views into 
> is going to do any good?

Who's jamming anything? I politely asked if there was a way for me to create 
a more formalized statement around my proposal/idea, so that future 
discussions around it could be more productive. I understand that you and 
others already disagree with me on it, and would rather just focus on what 
you've already written up (and I guess have me quit bothering you about it), 
but I wish that you'd show a little more tolerance and patience for 
dissenting ideas like mine and not move so tersely to shoot down a cordial 
and well-intentioned request that you simply don't like.

Prior to this discussion thread, I assumed that strawman proposals could be 
put up by interested community members in a similar fashion to how I've 
written up a few proposals for the WHATWG and W3C HTML-WG groups using the 
WHATWG wiki. Please forgive my clearly incorrect assumption.

Furthermore, I wasn't intending to rehash that discussion on *this* list at 
all. As I've said half a dozen times now, I was hoping it could be the 
catalyst for discussions in some other (informal) forum, where it could be 
kicked around based on its own merits without baggage. I had hoped that if 
any of my informal ideas ever amounted to anything useful, only then would 
they bubble up from that other forum into the ranks of this formal list and 
TC39 strawmen.


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