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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: [POLL] don't edit files just for style changes?
Date Sat, 17 Apr 2004 19:57:55 GMT
Bertrand Delacretaz wrote:

> Lately there have been several hints that people are annoyed by commits 
> consisting only of style changes (rearranging imports, "cleaning up" 
> indents) etc.
> Of course, there are always good intentions behind such changes, but 
> IMHO changes which make no difference to the actual code, are:
> a) risky, because every time one edits a file there's a small risk of 
> making a change to the code without meaning it
> b) a waste of our collective energy, as (hopefully) many of us are 
> regularly scanning CVS diff mails, and if it's just to find out that two 
> brackets have been moved it's not very useful.
> I have three suggestions:
> 1) As a general rule, we should refrain from making such changes to our 
> code, unless there is a good reason (code change for example) to edit 
> the file in question.
> 2) When editing a file for a good reason, we should look for such 
> "style" problems and fix them at the same time, or as a separate commit, 
> but before testing our changes.
> 3) We should not change the indentation / code writing style (brackets 
> etc.) of a file when making a minor change to it.
> The idea is to keep the flow of CVS diff messages as low as possible, to 
> save our neuronal bandwidth for more important things than the placement 
> of brackets or the order of imports.

Big +1, even if I find myself guilty of this.

The benefit of clean style is not enough to pay the collective price of 
the reduced signal/noise ratio of the CVS diff knowledge broadcast.

If people start considering that channel to be too noisy, less people 
will take a look at it, thus killing our feedback loop that stabilizes 
our system.

I think that once you realize the danger of doing so, you also realize 
why you shouldn't do it.

So, thanks Bertrand for keeping it up!


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