Open up the issues tracker on ghc-proposals

David Feuer david.feuer at
Wed May 2 13:23:03 UTC 2018

My main motivation was that I had a vague idea, not remotely ready for a
proposal, and wanted a place to try hashing it out. My limited experience
with glasgow-haskell-users is that it's where threads go to die.
Haskell-cafe might work, but it's a bit tricky to pull up all the language
extension ideas discussed there. So I figured maybe the ghc-proposals issue
tracker would be the best way. Might be worth a try, anyway.

On Wed, May 2, 2018, 5:54 AM Anthony Clayden <anthony_clayden at>

> On Wed, 2 May 2018 at 8:28 PM, Simon Peyton Jones <redirect at>
> wrote:
>> |  > Sometimes, a language extension idea could benefit from
>> |  some community discussion before it's ready for a formal proposal.
>> |
>> |  Can I point out it's not only ghc developers who make proposals.
> | I'd rather you post this idea more widely.
> (I meant for David to post more widely the idea of using Github issues
> tracker. Because I suspect the people who would most benefit from the
> 'community discussion' are not participants on ghc-devs.)
>> The Right Thing is surely for the main GHC proposals pav[g]e
>> to describe how you can up a "pre-proposal".  That is, document
>> the entire process in one, easy to find, place.
>> Mind you, I'm unclear about the distinction between a pre-proposal
>> and a proposal. ...
> Thanks Simon,
> Speaking as a non-developer of ghc, often there's a bright idea with no
> very clear notion how best it fits into Haskell, or could be implemented
> effectively/efficiently:
> * maybe it's something seen in another language;
> * maybe the proposer finds themself writing the same boilerplate
> repeatedly, and wonders if that's a common idiom the language could capture;
> * sometimes it starts as more of a 'how do I do this?' question; then you
> get told you can't; then other people chip in with 'yes I'd like to do that
> too'.
> * sometimes it's more of a niggle: this really annoys me/is awkward/is
> confusing every time I bump into it/even though I can work round it.
>  Both are drafts that invite community discussion,
>> prior to submitting to the committee for decision.
> I'm guessing as to why David raised the question. I've noticed (a minority
> of) proposals generate a huge amount of discussion, a lot of which is: you
> can already do that, or nearly all of that, or there's good reasons why
> ghc/Haskell shouldn't do that. Then maybe the difficulty that needs
> tackling is that the submitter isn't really following the process/perhaps
> the process document should be clearer about what threshold of readiness
> the ideas should be in before formalising(?) I'll try to avoid specifics
> here, but two proposals I can think of essentially amounted to: Language
> XXX has YYY; language XXX is similar to Haskell; I think YYY is great;
> please put YYY in Haskell; P.S. I don't really understand ghc and all the
> extensions it now offers.
> As you've remarked yourself, sometimes the 'community discussion' gets so
> convoluted and sidetracked it's impossible to make out where the proposal
> is at, and whether all objections have been addressed. That's the point at
> which IMO the proposal should be withdrawn and resubmitted as a 'fresh
> start'.
> OTOH, as I said, there's plenty of other forums those less
> formal/pre-proposal discussions could happen. Some used to happen on
> Trac/started life as bug reports -- which is rightfully discouraged.
> _Could_ happen but often doesn't raise a response. What if Github issues
> tracker just becomes another backwater where ideas go to get ignored?
> AntC
>> |  -----Original Message-----
>> |  From: Glasgow-haskell-users <glasgow-haskell-users-
>> |  bounces at> On Behalf Of Anthony Clayden
>> |  Sent: 02 May 2018 02:34
>> |  To: glasgow-haskell-users at; ghc-devs at
>> |  Subject: Re: Open up the issues tracker on ghc-proposals
>> |
>> |  > On May 1, 2018, at 2:24 PM, David Feuer <david.feuer at
>> |> wrote:
>> |  >
>> |  > Sometimes, a language extension idea could benefit from
>> |  some community discussion before it's ready for a formal proposal.
>> |
>> |  Can I point out it's not only ghc developers who make proposals. I'd
>> |  rather you post this idea more widely.
>> |
>> |  As a datapoint, I found ghc-users and the café just fine for those
>> |  discussions.
>> |  Ghc-users seems to have very low traffic/is rather wasted currently.
>> |  And I believe a lot of people pre-discuss on reddit.
>> |  For ideas that have been on the back burner for a long time, there's
>> |  often wiki pages. (For example re Quantified
>> |  Constraints.)
>> |
>> |  > I'd like to propose that we open up the GitHub issues
>> |  tracker for ghc-proposals to serve as a place to discuss pre-proposal
>> |  ideas. Once those discussions converge on one or a few specific plans,
>> |  someone can write a proper proposal.
>> |
>> |  I'm not against that. There gets to be a lot of cruft on some
>> |  discussions about proposals, so I'd expect we could archive it all
>> |  once a proposal is more formalised.
>> |
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