how to create strawman proposals?

Bob Nystrom rnystrom at
Fri Jun 3 10:20:30 PDT 2011

On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 10:15 PM, Kyle Simpson <getify at> wrote:

> 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.

"Shoehorn" has negative connotations. If this list *does* tend to point to
an existing proposal when a new idea comes up, there's merit in doing so: by
referencing an existing proposal we can bring in all of the context that
committee members have in their head that is likely to be relevant to this
new one. It's more efficient to discuss the delta between an old idea (that
has likely had a lot of brain juice poured onto it) and a new one then it is
to start from scratch. Doing so doesn't imply that you're constrained to the
original proposal, just that it's a useful starting point to minimize
rehashing stuff.

> 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.

Your frustration is valid, and shared by lots of people. But it's also worth
remembering where the committee members are coming from. They spend a *ton* of
time on this list interacting with the larger JS community and (as I'm sure
you've noticed) much of it is re-answering the same questions and comments
that have been brought up time and again. I can't fault them for being a
little terse given that.

> 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.

This is a great idea. If I had a new proposal that I wanted to bring up for
discussion, I'd probably:

1. Write it up in markdown on github.
2. Post a link to it on my blog/twitter/reddit/etc. to get some discussion
3. Post a link to it here.

#1 makes easy for people to fork, modify and refine it.
#2 gets your idea outside of the JS echo chamber.
#3 gets it in front of the actual committee.

- bob
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