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Re: "Entry: NA" in debian/upstream/metadata

Hi Steffen,

On 2021-03-04 23:12, Steffen Möller wrote:
> This reminds me of the early days of my computer science education with
> the question if {} and {{}} are the same thing. They are not. My first
> idea was that the parser is to blame, but the example at
> https://yaml.org/type/null.html makes the same
> what-I-consider-to-be-a-mistake. I am a fan to use the ~ as a proper NA
> substitute but there is little point if we cannot distinguish it from
> nothing when parsing it.

If the DEP 12 was designed just now, I would vote for ""/~ pair, because
these two are clearly separable via parsers. Moreover, I am positive
that empty string ("") would not clash with any identifier in any
registry. However, consensus seems have been reached here that
Debian-wide replacement s/NA/""/g is not worth the hassle, as we should
not worry about an identifier equal to "NA". And I see the point.

> Somewhere else was the suggestion made to also add a time stamp. This
> makes perfect sense for the NA/~ and in that case, if that date was
> specified, we know that unknown is a confirmed unknown. For entries that
> are found, we should possibly just rely on git blame in salsa.

Exactly. This was my point. Because if someone stumbles upon a timestamp
from 3+ years ago, one may check the registry to see if the entry is
still not there. If the entry is still missing, one would update the
timestamp to let everyone else know "hey, I have checked it, and it is
not there". Otherwise one's effort will be lost, and the next one who
sees a missing entry may repeatedly drain one's time looking.


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