[webkit-dev] Breaking other ports

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Wed Jan 30 01:50:04 PST 2013

On Jan 30, 2013, at 12:21 AM, Adam Barth <abarth at webkit.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:58 PM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com> wrote:
>> I agree that the regression should be fixed. But before we discuss that...
>> I am puzzled by the apparent stance of "Alexey must immediately fix this
>> himself or we must revert immediately". That's not the standard we have
>> applied in the past to changes that appear generally correct but end up
>> breaking the UI of a client of a specific port.
> No one said "Alexey must immediately fix this himself or we must
> revert immediately."

In the email I was replying to, James said "If Alexey doesn't want to look into the regression, which is valid, then the only clear option is to roll it out until someone who is familiar with the breakage can look at it.... If Alexey is interested in learning about this and fixing it, that's fine, but in the meantime the regression can't be left in the tree."

I think my paraphrase is reasonable. If it's not what James meant, I welcome clarification.

> Here's what I said:
> "If you cannot address the issue immediately, please let me know so
> that I can take further action."
> Further actions might include me fixing the issue myself.  I hadn't
> figured that out yet.  I just needed an answer quickly so that I could
> make sure we resolved this issue in the appropriate time frame.

This is probably stating the obvious, but you can't support a "no one said" assertion with a single example of something you said.

Though I was mainly replying to James, you also said:
"I filed bug 108214 about the regression.  Please either fix the regression or roll out your change."

In fact, this was posted at almost the same time as your other comment, and likely colored perceptions of what you meant by "further action".

So though I wasn't replying to you, I think it would have been reasonable to infer a similar position. If that's not what you meant, then that's good news, but I think you could have communicated your intent more clearly.

>> To me this example seems pretty parallel to the situation
>> <https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=108214>. Can anyone explain to me
>> why 108214 is being approached so much more aggressively than 52988.
> Honestly, it's because you've changed the ground rules for
> contributing to WebKit such that it's now ok to break other ports in
> some situations.  When Alexey wrote:
> "The fact that you chose to do an obvious hack instead does not make
> it others' responsibility to support it."

Your comment that I cited above seems pretty aggressive to me, and was prior to Alexey's comment that you quoted. I think what Alexey said was needlessly inflammatory, but it was in response to your needlessly inflammatory remark rather than the cause of it. So it seems to me that the suddenly more aggressive stance on this type of regression did not originate with Alexey's remark, unless you have a time machine.

> I interpreted that to mean he felt justified in extending those ground
> rules to parts of WebCore that don't live up to his personal
> engineering standards.  I wanted to be clear that I view that as
> unacceptable.

Your interpretation seems like quite a stretch. Particularly since we've had an in-person conversation about Apple's plans to apply an owners file to WebKit2, where the plans were explained in some detail, including mentioning that we had no intent whatsoever to apply any such policy to WebCore.

Arguing with your own extrapolated version of someone else's position is likely to be perceived a strawman argument. It's not a good thing to do if you want to have a good faith discussion. If you actually were sincerely confused about the scope of the policy (which I'm somewhat skeptical of, but willing to grant), the constructive thing to do would be to ask whether the statement meant what you assumed it did, before saying you find it unacceptable.

I know you are fully capable of being reasonable and thoughtful, so I am disappointed by the quality of your communication about this issue.[*] I would like us all to work well together in the WebKit project, and certainly being helpful about fixing regressions is an important part of that. But another important part is being reasonable even when you have a problem to report, and sometimes even when you feel provoked.


[*] - And yes, I'm also disappointed by the quality of Alexey's communication - it would have been more constructive to start by asking for help investigating the regression from Chromium folks than to say what you quote above.

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