Save It For Your Bartender

Some wise words from Rich Hickey, the creator of the programming language Clojure. The context around this was people complaining that Clojure requires patches to be created, rather than allowing GitHub pull requests.

I’m responding to Jay here (because we’re friends and I know he can take it:), but this is for everyone who feels similarly:

I prefer patches. I understand some people don’t. Can’t we just agree to disagree? Why must this be repeatedly gone over?

I’m not sure what value you think a message like this is going to provide to the thousands of participants in this list. Does it make you feel better? It will not convince me otherwise.

Here’s how I see it. I’ve spent at least 100,000x as much time on Clojure as you will in the difference between producing a patch vs a pull request. The command is:

 git format-patch master --stdout > your-patch-file.diff 

There are two sides to change management - production/submission, and management/assessment/application/other-stewardship. People who argue that the process should be optimized for ease of submission are simply wrong. What if I said patches were twice as efficient for me to assess and manage as pull requests? (it’s more than that) Do the math and figure out how the effort should best be distributed.

I don’t think asking for patches is asking too much, and I truly appreciate the people who are going to the extra effort. And, I respect the fact that people disagree, and they might decide not to participate as a result. However, I don’t need to justify my decision over and over. How about a little consideration for me, and the other list participants? There is a real diluting effect of get-it-off-my-chest messages such as these on the value of the list and the utility of reading it for myself and others.

Sometimes it’s better to save it for your bartender :)