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Rename "best-effort" to "ad-hoc" #255

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commented Sep 10, 2019

I noticed the current draft of the support format uses "best effort", a problematic legalism common in contracts that's usually taken to mean rather the opposite of what the group seems to mean here. I recommend replacing "best effort" with something else, and propose "ad hoc" as a starting point. I also considered "impromptu", "informal", "sporadic", and "casual". I'd rather avoid Latin, but couldn't find an earthy Anglo-Saxon synonym.

"Best efforts" and the like are strongly discouraged usages in legal drafting. See, for example, a post from Ken Adams, a well known drafting specialist.

When lawyers use them anyway, the question often becomes how much pain, inconvenience, and expense the party that promised best efforts has to endure to get the job done. Since "best" is a superlative, the expectation is that in nearly every normal case, the job will get done. Not that the job will get done if one feels like it, has time, takes an interest, and so on.

I have a broader, related concern about the way that a standard like this could put pressure on already stretched maintainers to make essentially gratuitous support SLA commitment to all comers. But as much as I care about that more than this word-choice issue, I'd prefer to table the broader issue for now. It's more than I can bite off right now.

docs/drafts/PACKAGE-SUPPORT.md Outdated Show resolved Hide resolved
fix(package-support): fix typo
Co-Authored-By: Rich Trott <rtrott@gmail.com>
@ljharb
ljharb approved these changes Sep 10, 2019
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Seems reasonable; we can bikeshed more later if someone comes up with a better alternative.

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commented Sep 10, 2019

Thanks, @ljharb. I agree that once we step away from the "best effort" landmine, this becomes a bikeshed.

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commented Sep 10, 2019

I agree we should be careful to protect authors as much as possible. Having a lawyer view here is incredibly valuable. Would as-available do?

I don't really have a problem with ad-hoc, but it seems a bit more obscure in meaning than some of the other tags. I know we are being very "english-centric" here, but I assume that "plain english" is better than specialized terminology for international understanding?

Also, ad-hoc to me can imply even less support as sometimes the term is used to mean temporary or to use one of your other proposed terms sporadic. I am not sporadic in my response, but I think most of my projects receive "as available" support, and might not fit the legal definition of "best effort" but that is analogous in my mind.

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commented Sep 10, 2019

Maybe something like no-commitment or no-sla?

We're bikshedding.

@lholmquist

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commented Sep 10, 2019

To add to the bike-shed, what about just PRs-welcome :)

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commented Sep 10, 2019

For sure bikeshedding, sorry that I started it but I think if we are going to change it doesn't hurt to do it a bit now 😄

no-commitment or no-sla

I am trying to capture the meaning of "I will try hard to help, but if I am on vacation or busy with other things, this might slip". These to me sound more like "no support given", which sends the wrong message IMO.

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commented Sep 10, 2019

"good-intentions"

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commented Sep 10, 2019

try-hard

@vweevers

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commented Sep 10, 2019

willing
open

@mhdawson

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commented Sep 10, 2019

how about time-permitting

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commented Sep 13, 2019

Emoji vs bikshedding

in order of appearance:

  • ad-hoc --> put an approve (sorry there is only 8 emoji for comments)
  • as-available 👍
  • no-commitment 👎
  • no-sla 😄
  • good-intentions 🎉
  • try-hard 😕
  • willing ❤
  • open 🚀
  • time-permitting 👀

Vote!

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commented Sep 13, 2019

I'm sorry, fellas. It's not fair to anyone else pretending I have spare cycles for this.

I'm going to go ahead and close the PR. Please feel free to consider it like an issue instead, expressing concern with best-effort.

@kemitchell kemitchell closed this Sep 13, 2019

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commented Sep 17, 2019

I'm sorry for this, my intention was to reach consensus regarding the word that best fits your great analysis and clear meaning for all the community

As said #255 (comment), for italians ad-hoc means something that is special, like a party or an exception.

Please feel free to consider it like an issue instead

It worth 👍

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commented Sep 17, 2019

Nothing to apologize for, @Eomm.

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commented Sep 17, 2019

I am 👍 for reopening this and letting the conversation land on a better therm, then just updating the PR to reflect that consensus.

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commented Sep 17, 2019

@wesleytodd I don't have bandwidth to keep pushing this PR. Feel free to open one of your own.

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commented Sep 17, 2019

Looks like we have a runoff between as-available and time-permitting. Anyone have an opinion not already expressed?

@wesleytodd wesleytodd reopened this Sep 17, 2019

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commented Sep 17, 2019

i'd vote for time-permitting

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