[Haskell-cafe] Monad of no `return` Proposal (MRP): Moving `return` out of `Monad`

Augustsson, Lennart Lennart.Augustsson at sc.com
Tue Oct 6 11:57:23 UTC 2015

To question 1 my answer is NO!  I think voting to decide these kind of issues a terrible idea; we might as well throw dice.

-----Original Message-----
From: Haskell-Cafe [mailto:haskell-cafe-bounces at haskell.org] On Behalf Of Henrik Nilsson
Sent: 06 October 2015 12:33
To: haskell-prime at haskell.org List; Haskell Libraries; haskell cafe
Subject: Re: [Haskell-cafe] Monad of no `return` Proposal (MRP): Moving `return` out of `Monad`

Dear all,

Executive Summary: Please let us defer further discussion and ultimate decision on MRP to the resurrected HaskellPrime committee

While we can discuss the extent of additional breakage MRP would cause, the fact remains it is a further breaking change. A survey of breakage to books as Herbert did is certainly valuable  (thanks!), but much breakage will (effectively) remain unquantifiable.

It is also clear from the discussions over the last couple of weeks, on the Haskell libraries list as well as various other forums and social media, that MRP is highly contentions.

This begs two questions:

   1. Is the Haskell Libraries list and informal voting process
      really an appropriate, or even acceptable, way to adopt
      such far-reaching changes to what effectively amounts to
      Haskell itself?

   2. Why the hurry to push MRP through?

As to question 1, to Graham Hutton's and my knowledge, the libraries list and its voting process was originally set up for 3rd-party libraries in fptools. It seems to have experienced some form of "mission creep" since.
Maybe that is understandable given that there was no obvious alternative as HaskellPrime has been defunct for a fair few years. But, as has been pointed out in a number of postings, a lot of people with very valuable perspectives are also very busy, and thus likely to miss a short discussion period (as has happened in the past in relation to the Burning the Bridges proposal) and also have very little time for engaging in long and complicated e-mail discussions that, from their perspective, happen at a completely random point in time and for which they thus have not had a chance to set aside time even if they wanted to participate.

Just as one data point, AMP etc. mostly passed Graham and me by simply because a) we were too busy to notice and b) we simply didn't think there was a mandate for such massive overhauls outside of a process like HaskellPrime. And we are demonstrably not alone.

This brings us to question 2. Now that HaskellPrime is being resurrected, why the hurry to push MRP through?
Surely HaskellPrime is the forum where breaking changes like MRP should be discussed, allowing as much time as is necessary and allowing for an as wide range of perspectives as possible to properly be taken into account?

The need to "field test" MRP prior to discussing it in HaskellPrime has been mentioned. Graham and I are very sceptical. In the past, at least in the past leading up to Haskell 2010 or so, the community at large was not roped in as involuntary field testers.

If MRP is pushed through now, with a resurrection of HaskellPrime being imminent, Graham and I strongly believe that risks coming across to a very large part of the Haskell community as preempting proper process by facing the new HaskellPrime committee with (yet another) fait accompli.

Therefore, please let us defer further discussion and ultimate decision on MRP to the resurrected HaskellPrime committee, which is where it properly belongs. Otherwise, the Haskell community itself might be one of the things that MRP breaks.

Best regards,


Henrik Nilsson
School of Computer Science
The University of Nottingham
nhn at cs.nott.ac.uk

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