Whitespace and bullying

Jeremy Allison jra at samba.org
Fri Apr 6 20:06:18 UTC 2018

On Sat, Apr 07, 2018 at 07:59:35AM +1200, Andrew Bartlett wrote:
> I'm sorry, but that is a pretty weak argument to me.
> Such settings are easily disabled again.  My point is that we put so,
> so much effort into this, indeed it seems it has become an obsession
> for many, and I'm calling out the social aspect here as being
> particularly harmful.
> I'm calling for a re-assessment as to if this is where we want to be
> putting our efforts into, and a thought as to if this has actually got
> to the point of bullying. 
> > Is there a reason you don't want to add the same editor macros
> > everyone else uses ?
> You would have to ask Gary, it is his code.  I've added the 80 line
> macro, and I'm happy to take a look at others, but first I want us to
> seriously consider ditching this.
> Beating up long-standing team members for whitespace violations is
> pretty standard these days, but is this really the kind of rule we need
> to be enforcing on new contributors?  
> The justificaitons seems to be the same as for bulling in boarding
> schools and nursing[1][2]:  The previous generation did it to me, so I
> do it to the next.  

You raise a pretty good point here.

> If it is serious enough an issue, it should be enforced by an automated
> test, not the current manual and emotive process.  (That totally
> removes the problematic social element).

That seems a good compromise to me. How about we add
something to the git autobuild/submit process that
bounces any '+' diff lines that have trailing whitespace ?

That way it's not personal and everyone just 'gets it right'.

> Otherwise, how about we try and drop this particular element of our
> culture and focus on things that actually improve things for our
> patients (err, users). 

The problem is some people like the rule. I'm one of them actually.

I don't call people out on it publicly - as you have pointed
out this can be abrasive and annoying, but seeing trailing
whitespace in code is very distracting to my kind of mind.

> Finally, I suggest reading and watching this from Daniel Vetter from
> the Linux Kernel graphics community:
> http://blog.ffwll.ch/2018/02/lca-sydney.html

Hopefully we're not as abrasive as lkml :-).

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