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Python Enhancement Proposals

PEP 1 – PEP Purpose and Guidelines

Barry Warsaw, Jeremy Hylton, David Goodger, Alyssa Coghlan
21-Mar-2001, 29-Jul-2002, 03-May-2003, 05-May-2012, 07-Apr-2013

Table of Contents

What is a PEP?

PEP stands for Python Enhancement Proposal. A PEP is a design document providing information to the Python community, or describing a new feature for Python or its processes or environment. The PEP should provide a concise technical specification of the feature and a rationale for the feature.

We intend PEPs to be the primary mechanisms for proposing major new features, for collecting community input on an issue, and for documenting the design decisions that have gone into Python. The PEP author is responsible for building consensus within the community and documenting dissenting opinions.

Because the PEPs are maintained as text files in a versioned repository, their revision history is the historical record of the feature proposal. This historical record is available by the normal git commands for retrieving older revisions, and can also be browsed on GitHub.

PEP Audience

The typical primary audience for PEPs are the core developers of the CPython reference interpreter and their elected Steering Council, as well as developers of other implementations of the Python language specification.

However, other parts of the Python community may also choose to use the process (particularly for Informational PEPs) to document expected API conventions and to manage complex design coordination problems that require collaboration across multiple projects.

PEP Types

There are three kinds of PEP:

  1. A Standards Track PEP describes a new feature or implementation for Python. It may also describe an interoperability standard that will be supported outside the standard library for current Python versions before a subsequent PEP adds standard library support in a future version.
  2. An Informational PEP describes a Python design issue, or provides general guidelines or information to the Python community, but does not propose a new feature. Informational PEPs do not necessarily represent a Python community consensus or recommendation, so users and implementers are free to ignore Informational PEPs or follow their advice.
  3. A Process PEP describes a process surrounding Python, or proposes a change to (or an event in) a process. Process PEPs are like Standards Track PEPs but apply to areas other than the Python language itself. They may propose an implementation, but not to Python’s codebase; they often require community consensus; unlike Informational PEPs, they are more than recommendations, and users are typically not free to ignore them. Examples include procedures, guidelines, changes to the decision-making process, and changes to the tools or environment used in Python development. Any meta-PEP is also considered a Process PEP.

PEP Workflow

Python’s Steering Council

There are several references in this PEP to the “Steering Council” or “Council”. This refers to the current members of the elected Steering Council described in PEP 13, in their role as the final authorities on whether or not PEPs will be accepted or rejected.

Python’s Core Developers

There are several references in this PEP to “core developers”. This refers to the currently active Python core team members described in PEP 13.

Python’s BDFL

Previous versions of this PEP used the title “BDFL-Delegate” for PEP decision makers. This was a historical reference to Python’s previous governance model, where all design authority ultimately derived from Guido van Rossum, the original creator of the Python programming language. By contrast, the Steering Council’s design authority derives from their election by the currently active core developers. Now, PEP-Delegate is used in place of BDFL-Delegate.

PEP Editors

The PEP editors are individuals responsible for managing the administrative and editorial aspects of the PEP workflow (e.g. assigning PEP numbers and changing their status). See PEP Editor Responsibilities & Workflow for details.

PEP editorship is by invitation of the current editors, and they can be contacted by mentioning @python/pep-editors on GitHub. All of the PEP workflow can be conducted via the GitHub PEP repository issues and pull requests.

Start with an idea for Python

The PEP process begins with a new idea for Python. It is highly recommended that a single PEP contain a single key proposal or new idea; the more focused the PEP, the more successful it tends to be. Most enhancements and bug fixes don’t need a PEP and can be submitted directly to the Python issue tracker. The PEP editors reserve the right to reject PEP proposals if they appear too unfocused or too broad. If in doubt, split your PEP into several well-focused ones.

Each PEP must have a champion – someone who writes the PEP using the style and format described below, shepherds the discussions in the appropriate forums, and attempts to build community consensus around the idea. The PEP champion (a.k.a. Author) should first attempt to ascertain whether the idea is PEP-able. Posting to the Ideas category of the Python Discourse is usually the best way to go about this, unless a more specialized venue is appropriate, such as the Typing category (for static typing ideas) or Packaging category (for packaging ideas) on the Python Discourse.

Vetting an idea publicly before going as far as writing a PEP is meant to save the potential author time. Many ideas have been brought forward for changing Python that have been rejected for various reasons. Asking the Python community first if an idea is original helps prevent too much time being spent on something that is guaranteed to be rejected based on prior discussions (searching the internet does not always do the trick). It also helps to make sure the idea is applicable to the entire community and not just the author. Just because an idea sounds good to the author does not mean it will work for most people in most areas where Python is used.

Once the champion has asked the Python community as to whether an idea has any chance of acceptance, a draft PEP should be presented to the appropriate venue mentioned above. This gives the author a chance to flesh out the draft PEP to make properly formatted, of high quality, and to address initial concerns about the proposal.

Submitting a PEP

Following the above initial discussion, the workflow varies based on whether any of the PEP’s co-authors are core developers. If one or more of the PEP’s co-authors are core developers, they are responsible for following the process outlined below. Otherwise (i.e. none of the co-authors are core developers), then the PEP author(s) will need to find a sponsor for the PEP.

Ideally, a core developer sponsor is identified, but non-core sponsors may also be selected with the approval of the Steering Council. Members of the GitHub “PEP editors” team and members of the Typing Council (PEP 729) are pre-approved to be sponsors. The sponsor’s job is to provide guidance to the PEP author to help them through the logistics of the PEP process (somewhat acting like a mentor). Being a sponsor does not disqualify that person from becoming a co-author or PEP-Delegate later on (but not both). The sponsor of a PEP is recorded in the “Sponsor:” field of the header.

Once the sponsor or the core developer(s) co-authoring the PEP deem the PEP ready for submission, the proposal should be submitted as a draft PEP via a GitHub pull request. The draft must be written in PEP style as described below, else it will fail review immediately (although minor errors may be corrected by the editors).

The standard PEP workflow is:

  • You, the PEP author, fork the PEP repository, and create a file named pep-NNNN.rst that contains your new PEP. NNNN should be the next available PEP number not used by a published or in-PR PEP.
  • In the “PEP:” header field, enter the PEP number that matches your filename as your draft PEP number.
  • In the “Type:” header field, enter “Standards Track”, “Informational”, or “Process” as appropriate, and for the “Status:” field enter “Draft”. For full details, see PEP Header Preamble.
  • Update .github/CODEOWNERS such that any co-author(s) or sponsors with write access to the PEP repository are listed for your new file. This ensures any future pull requests changing the file will be assigned to them.
  • Push this to your GitHub fork and submit a pull request.
  • The PEP editors review your PR for structure, formatting, and other errors. For a reST-formatted PEP, PEP 12 is provided as a template. It also provides a complete introduction to reST markup that is used in PEPs. Approval criteria are:
    • It is sound and complete. The ideas must make technical sense. The editors do not consider whether they seem likely to be accepted.
    • The title accurately describes the content.
    • The PEP’s language (spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc.) and code style (examples should match PEP 7 & PEP 8) should be correct and conformant. The PEP text will be automatically checked for correct reStructuredText formatting when the pull request is submitted. PEPs with invalid reST markup will not be approved.

    Editors are generally quite lenient about this initial review, expecting that problems will be corrected by the reviewing process. Note: Approval of the PEP is no guarantee that there are no embarrassing mistakes! Correctness is the responsibility of authors and reviewers, not the editors.

    If the PEP isn’t ready for approval, an editor will send it back to the author for revision, with specific instructions.

  • Once approved, they will assign your PEP a number.

Once the review process is complete, and the PEP editors approve it (note that this is not the same as accepting your PEP!), they will squash commit your pull request onto main.

The PEP editors will not unreasonably deny publication of a PEP. Reasons for denying PEP status include duplication of effort, being technically unsound, not providing proper motivation or addressing backwards compatibility, or not in keeping with the Python philosophy. The Steering Council can be consulted during the approval phase, and are the final arbiter of a draft’s PEP-ability.

Developers with write access to the PEP repository may claim PEP numbers directly by creating and committing a new PEP. When doing so, the developer must handle the tasks that would normally be taken care of by the PEP editors (see PEP Editor Responsibilities & Workflow). This includes ensuring the initial version meets the expected standards for submitting a PEP. Alternately, even developers should submit PEPs via pull request. When doing so, you are generally expected to handle the process yourself; if you need assistance from PEP editors, mention @python/pep-editors on GitHub.

As updates are necessary, the PEP author can check in new versions if they (or a collaborating developer) have write access to the PEP repository. Getting a PEP number assigned early can be useful for ease of reference, especially when multiple draft PEPs are being considered at the same time.

Standards Track PEPs consist of two parts, a design document and a reference implementation. It is generally recommended that at least a prototype implementation be co-developed with the PEP, as ideas that sound good in principle sometimes turn out to be impractical when subjected to the test of implementation.

Discussing a PEP

As soon as a PEP number has been assigned and the draft PEP is committed to the PEP repository, a discussion thread for the PEP should be created to provide a central place to discuss and review its contents, and the PEP should be updated so that the Discussions-To header links to it.

The PEP authors (or sponsor, if applicable) may select any reasonable venue for the discussion, so long as the the following criteria are met:

  • The forum is appropriate to the PEP’s topic.
  • The thread is publicly available on the web so that all interested parties can participate.
  • The discussion is subject to the Python Community Code of Conduct.
  • A direct link to the current discussion thread is provided in the PEP under the Discussions-To header.

The PEPs category of the Python Discourse is the preferred choice for most new PEPs, whereas historically the Python-Dev mailing list was commonly used. Some specialized topics have specific venues, such as the Typing category and the Packaging category on the Python Discourse for typing and packaging PEPs, respectively. If the PEP authors are unsure of the best venue, the PEP Sponsor and PEP editors can advise them accordingly.

If a PEP undergoes a significant re-write or other major, substantive changes to its proposed specification, a new thread should typically be created in the chosen venue to solicit additional feedback. If this occurs, the Discussions-To link must be updated and a new Post-History entry added pointing to this new thread.

If it is not chosen as the discussion venue, a brief announcement post should be made to the PEPs category with at least a link to the rendered PEP and the Discussions-To thread when the draft PEP is committed to the repository and if a major-enough change is made to trigger a new thread.

PEP authors are responsible for collecting community feedback on a PEP before submitting it for review. However, to avoid long-winded and open-ended discussions, strategies such as soliciting private or more narrowly-tailored feedback in the early design phase, collaborating with other community members with expertise in the PEP’s subject matter, and picking an appropriately-specialized discussion for the PEP’s topic (if applicable) should be considered. PEP authors should use their discretion here.

Once the PEP is assigned a number and committed to the PEP repository, substantive issues should generally be discussed on the canonical public thread, as opposed to private channels, GitHub pull request reviews or unrelated venues. This ensures everyone can follow and contribute, avoids fragmenting the discussion, and makes sure it is fully considered as part of the PEP review process. Comments, support, concerns and other feedback on this designated thread are a critical part of what the Steering Council or PEP-Delegate will consider when reviewing the PEP.

PEP Review & Resolution

Once the authors have completed a PEP, they may request a review for style and consistency from the PEP editors. However, content review and acceptance of the PEP is ultimately the responsibility of the Steering Council, which is formally initiated by opening a Steering Council issue once the authors (and sponsor, if any) determine the PEP is ready for final review and resolution.

To expedite the process in selected cases (e.g. when a change is clearly beneficial and ready to be accepted, but the PEP hasn’t been formally submitted for review yet), the Steering Council may also initiate a PEP review, first notifying the PEP author(s) and giving them a chance to make revisions.

The final authority for PEP approval is the Steering Council. However, whenever a new PEP is put forward, any core developer who believes they are suitably experienced to make the final decision on that PEP may offer to serve as its PEP-Delegate by notifying the Steering Council of their intent. If the Steering Council approves their offer, the PEP-Delegate will then have the authority to approve or reject that PEP. For PEPs related to the Python type system, the Typing Council (PEP 729) provides a recommendation to the Steering Council. To request such a recommendation, open an issue on the Typing Council issue tracker.

The term “PEP-Delegate” is used under the Steering Council governance model for the PEP’s designated decision maker, who is recorded in the “PEP-Delegate” field in the PEP’s header. The term “BDFL-Delegate” is a deprecated alias for PEP-Delegate, a legacy of the time when when Python was led by a BDFL. Any legacy references to “BDFL-Delegate” should be treated as equivalent to “PEP-Delegate”.

An individual offering to nominate themselves as a PEP-Delegate must notify the relevant authors and (when present) the sponsor for the PEP, and submit their request to the Steering Council (which can be done via a new issue ). Those taking on this responsibility are free to seek additional guidance from the Steering Council at any time, and are also expected to take the advice and perspectives of other core developers into account.

The Steering Council will generally approve such self-nominations by default, but may choose to decline them. Possible reasons for the Steering Council declining a self-nomination as PEP-Delegate include, but are not limited to, perceptions of a potential conflict of interest (e.g. working for the same organisation as the PEP submitter), or simply considering another potential PEP-Delegate to be more appropriate. If core developers (or other community members) have concerns regarding the suitability of a PEP-Delegate for any given PEP, they may ask the Steering Council to review the delegation.

If no volunteer steps forward, then the Steering Council will approach core developers (and potentially other Python community members) with relevant expertise, in an attempt to identify a candidate that is willing to serve as PEP-Delegate for that PEP. If no suitable candidate can be found, then the PEP will be marked as Deferred until one is available.

Previously appointed PEP-Delegates may choose to step down, or be asked to step down by the Council, in which case a new PEP-Delegate will be appointed in the same manner as for a new PEP (including deferral of the PEP if no suitable replacement can be found). In the event that a PEP-Delegate is asked to step down, this will overrule any prior acceptance or rejection of the PEP, and it will revert to Draft status.

When such standing delegations are put in place, the Steering Council will maintain sufficient public records to allow subsequent Councils, the core developers, and the wider Python community to understand the delegations that currently exist, why they were put in place, and the circumstances under which they may no longer be needed.

For a PEP to be accepted it must meet certain minimum criteria. It must be a clear and complete description of the proposed enhancement. The enhancement must represent a net improvement. The proposed implementation, if applicable, must be solid and must not complicate the interpreter unduly. Finally, a proposed enhancement must be “pythonic” in order to be accepted by the Steering Council. (However, “pythonic” is an imprecise term; it may be defined as whatever is acceptable to the Steering Council. This logic is intentionally circular.) See PEP 2 for standard library module acceptance criteria.

Except where otherwise approved by the Steering Council, pronouncements of PEP resolution will be posted to the PEPs category on the Python Discourse.

Once a PEP has been accepted, the reference implementation must be completed. When the reference implementation is complete and incorporated into the main source code repository, the status will be changed to “Final”.

To allow gathering of additional design and interface feedback before committing to long term stability for a language feature or standard library API, a PEP may also be marked as “Provisional”. This is short for “Provisionally Accepted”, and indicates that the proposal has been accepted for inclusion in the reference implementation, but additional user feedback is needed before the full design can be considered “Final”. Unlike regular accepted PEPs, provisionally accepted PEPs may still be Rejected or Withdrawn even after the related changes have been included in a Python release.

Wherever possible, it is considered preferable to reduce the scope of a proposal to avoid the need to rely on the “Provisional” status (e.g. by deferring some features to later PEPs), as this status can lead to version compatibility challenges in the wider Python ecosystem. PEP 411 provides additional details on potential use cases for the Provisional status.

A PEP can also be assigned the status “Deferred”. The PEP author or an editor can assign the PEP this status when no progress is being made on the PEP. Once a PEP is deferred, a PEP editor can reassign it to draft status.

A PEP can also be “Rejected”. Perhaps after all is said and done it was not a good idea. It is still important to have a record of this fact. The “Withdrawn” status is similar - it means that the PEP author themselves has decided that the PEP is actually a bad idea, or has accepted that a competing proposal is a better alternative.

When a PEP is Accepted, Rejected or Withdrawn, the PEP should be updated accordingly. In addition to updating the Status field, at the very least the Resolution header should be added with a direct link to the relevant post making a decision on the PEP.

PEPs can also be superseded by a different PEP, rendering the original obsolete. This is intended for Informational PEPs, where version 2 of an API can replace version 1.

The possible paths of the status of PEPs are as follows:

PEP process flow diagram

While not shown in the diagram, “Accepted” PEPs may technically move to “Rejected” or “Withdrawn” even after acceptance. This will only occur if the implementation process reveals fundamental flaws in the design that were not noticed prior to acceptance of the PEP. Unlike Provisional PEPs, these transitions are only permitted if the accepted proposal has not been included in a Python release - released changes must instead go through the regular deprecation process (which may require a new PEP providing the rationale for the deprecation).

Some Informational and Process PEPs may also have a status of “Active” if they are never meant to be completed. E.g. PEP 1 (this PEP).

PEP Maintenance

In general, PEPs are no longer substantially modified after they have reached the Accepted, Final, Rejected or Superseded state. Once resolution is reached, a PEP is considered a historical document rather than a living specification. Formal documentation of the expected behavior should be maintained elsewhere, such as the Language Reference for core features, the Library Reference for standard library modules or the PyPA Specifications for packaging.

If changes based on implementation experience and user feedback are made to Standards track PEPs while in the Provisional or (with SC approval) Accepted state, they should be noted in the PEP, such that the PEP accurately describes the implementation at the point where it is marked Final.

Active (Informational and Process) PEPs may be updated over time to reflect changes to development practices and other details. The precise process followed in these cases will depend on the nature and purpose of the PEP in question.

Occasionally, a Deferred or even a Withdrawn PEP may be resurrected with major updates, but it is often better to just propose a new one.

What belongs in a successful PEP?

Each PEP should have the following parts/sections:

  1. Preamble – RFC 2822 style headers containing meta-data about the PEP, including the PEP number, a short descriptive title (limited to a maximum of 44 characters), the names, and optionally the contact info for each author, etc.
  2. Abstract – a short (~200 word) description of the technical issue being addressed.
  3. Motivation – The motivation is critical for PEPs that want to change the Python language, library, or ecosystem. It should clearly explain why the existing language specification is inadequate to address the problem that the PEP solves. This can include collecting documented support for the PEP from important projects in the Python ecosystem. PEP submissions without sufficient motivation may be rejected.
  4. Rationale – The rationale fleshes out the specification by describing why particular design decisions were made. It should describe alternate designs that were considered and related work, e.g. how the feature is supported in other languages.

    The rationale should provide evidence of consensus within the community and discuss important objections or concerns raised during discussion.

  5. Specification – The technical specification should describe the syntax and semantics of any new language feature. The specification should be detailed enough to allow competing, interoperable implementations for at least the current major Python platforms (CPython, Jython, IronPython, PyPy).
  6. Backwards Compatibility – All PEPs that introduce backwards incompatibilities must include a section describing these incompatibilities and their severity. The PEP must explain how the author proposes to deal with these incompatibilities. PEP submissions without a sufficient backwards compatibility treatise may be rejected outright.
  7. Security Implications – If there are security concerns in relation to the PEP, those concerns should be explicitly written out to make sure reviewers of the PEP are aware of them.
  8. How to Teach This – For a PEP that adds new functionality or changes language behavior, it is helpful to include a section on how to teach users, new and experienced, how to apply the PEP to their work.

    This section may include key points and recommended documentation changes that would help users adopt a new feature or migrate their code to use a language change.

  9. Reference Implementation – The reference implementation must be completed before any PEP is given status “Final”, but it need not be completed before the PEP is accepted. While there is merit to the approach of reaching consensus on the specification and rationale before writing code, the principle of “rough consensus and running code” is still useful when it comes to resolving many discussions of API details.

    The final implementation must include test code and documentation appropriate for either the Python language reference or the standard library reference.

  10. Rejected Ideas – Throughout the discussion of a PEP, various ideas will be proposed which are not accepted. Those rejected ideas should be recorded along with the reasoning as to why they were rejected. This both helps record the thought process behind the final version of the PEP as well as preventing people from bringing up the same rejected idea again in subsequent discussions.

    In a way this section can be thought of as a breakout section of the Rationale section that is focused specifically on why certain ideas were not ultimately pursued.

  11. Open Issues – While a PEP is in draft, ideas can come up which warrant further discussion. Those ideas should be recorded so people know that they are being thought about but do not have a concrete resolution. This helps make sure all issues required for the PEP to be ready for consideration are complete and reduces people duplicating prior discussion.
  12. Footnotes – A collection of footnotes cited in the PEP, and a place to list non-inline hyperlink targets.
  13. Copyright/license – Each new PEP must be placed under a dual license of public domain and CC0-1.0-Universal (see this PEP for an example).

PEP Formats and Templates

PEPs are UTF-8 encoded text files using the reStructuredText format. reStructuredText allows for rich markup that is still quite easy to read, but also results in good-looking and functional HTML. PEP 12 contains instructions and a PEP template.

The PEP text files are automatically converted to HTML (via a Sphinx-based build system) for easier online reading.

PEP Header Preamble

Each PEP must begin with an RFC 2822 style header preamble. The headers must appear in the following order. Headers marked with “*” are optional and are described below. All other headers are required.

  PEP: <pep number>
  Title: <pep title>
  Author: <list of authors' real names and optionally, email addrs>
* Sponsor: <real name of sponsor>
* PEP-Delegate: <PEP delegate's real name>
  Discussions-To: <URL of current canonical discussion thread>
  Status: <Draft | Active | Accepted | Provisional | Deferred | Rejected |
           Withdrawn | Final | Superseded>
  Type: <Standards Track | Informational | Process>
* Topic: <Governance | Packaging | Release | Typing>
* Requires: <pep numbers>
  Created: <date created on, in dd-mmm-yyyy format>
* Python-Version: <version number>
  Post-History: <dates, in dd-mmm-yyyy format,
                 inline-linked to PEP discussion threads>
* Replaces: <pep number>
* Superseded-By: <pep number>
* Resolution: <url>

The Author header lists the names, and optionally the email addresses of all the authors/owners of the PEP. The format of the Author header values must be:

Random J. User <>

if the email address is included, and just:

Random J. User

if the address is not given.

If there are multiple authors, each should be on a separate line following RFC 2822 continuation line conventions. Note that personal email addresses in PEPs will be obscured as a defense against spam harvesters.

The Sponsor field records which developer (core, or otherwise approved by the Steering Council) is sponsoring the PEP. If one of the authors of the PEP is a core developer then no sponsor is necessary and thus this field should be left out.

The PEP-Delegate field is used to record the individual appointed by the Steering Council to make the final decision on whether or not to approve or reject a PEP.

Note: The Resolution header is required for Standards Track PEPs only. It contains a URL that should point to an email message or other web resource where the pronouncement about (i.e. approval or rejection of) the PEP is made.

The Discussions-To header provides the URL to the current canonical discussion thread for the PEP. For email lists, this should be a direct link to the thread in the list’s archives, rather than just a mailto: or hyperlink to the list itself.

The Type header specifies the type of PEP: Standards Track, Informational, or Process.

The optional Topic header lists the special topic, if any, the PEP belongs under. See the Topic Index for the existing topics.

The Created header records the date that the PEP was assigned a number, while Post-History is used to record the dates of and corresponding URLs to the Discussions-To threads for the PEP, with the former as the linked text, and the latter as the link target. Both sets of dates should be in dd-mmm-yyyy format, e.g. 14-Aug-2001.

Standards Track PEPs will typically have a Python-Version header which indicates the version of Python that the feature will be released with. Standards Track PEPs without a Python-Version header indicate interoperability standards that will initially be supported through external libraries and tools, and then potentially supplemented by a later PEP to add support to the standard library. Informational and Process PEPs do not need a Python-Version header.

PEPs may have a Requires header, indicating the PEP numbers that this PEP depends on.

PEPs may also have a Superseded-By header indicating that a PEP has been rendered obsolete by a later document; the value is the number of the PEP that replaces the current document. The newer PEP must have a Replaces header containing the number of the PEP that it rendered obsolete.

Auxiliary Files

PEPs may include auxiliary files such as diagrams. Such files should be named pep-XXXX-Y.ext, where “XXXX” is the PEP number, “Y” is a serial number (starting at 1), and “ext” is replaced by the actual file extension (e.g. “png”).

Alternatively, all support files may be placed in a subdirectory called pep-XXXX, where “XXXX” is the PEP number. When using a subdirectory, there are no constraints on the names used in files.

Changing Existing PEPs

Draft PEPs are freely open for discussion and proposed modification, at the discretion of the authors, until submitted to the Steering Council or PEP-Delegate for review and resolution. Substantive content changes should generally be first proposed on the PEP’s discussion thread listed in its Discussions-To header, while copyedits and corrections can be submitted as a GitHub issue or GitHub pull request. PEP authors with write access to the PEP repository can update the PEPs themselves by using git push or a GitHub PR to submit their changes. For guidance on modifying other PEPs, consult the PEP Maintenance section.

See the Contributing Guide for additional details, and when in doubt, please check first with the PEP author and/or a PEP editor.

Transferring PEP Ownership

It occasionally becomes necessary to transfer ownership of PEPs to a new champion. In general, it is preferable to retain the original author as a co-author of the transferred PEP, but that’s really up to the original author. A good reason to transfer ownership is because the original author no longer has the time or interest in updating it or following through with the PEP process, or has fallen off the face of the ‘net (i.e. is unreachable or not responding to email). A bad reason to transfer ownership is because the author doesn’t agree with the direction of the PEP. One aim of the PEP process is to try to build consensus around a PEP, but if that’s not possible, an author can always submit a competing PEP.

If you are interested in assuming ownership of a PEP, you can also do this via pull request. Fork the PEP repository, make your ownership modification, and submit a pull request. You should mention both the original author and @python/pep-editors in a comment on the pull request. (If the original author’s GitHub username is unknown, use email.) If the original author doesn’t respond in a timely manner, the PEP editors will make a unilateral decision (it’s not like such decisions can’t be reversed :).

PEP Editor Responsibilities & Workflow

A PEP editor must be added to the @python/pep-editors group on GitHub and must watch the PEP repository.

Note that developers with write access to the PEP repository may handle the tasks that would normally be taken care of by the PEP editors. Alternately, even developers may request assistance from PEP editors by mentioning @python/pep-editors on GitHub.

For each new PEP that comes in an editor does the following:

  • Make sure that the PEP is either co-authored by a core developer, has a core developer as a sponsor, or has a sponsor specifically approved for this PEP by the Steering Council.
  • Read the PEP to check if it is ready: sound and complete. The ideas must make technical sense, even if they don’t seem likely to be accepted.
  • The title should accurately describe the content.
  • The file name extension is correct (i.e. .rst).
  • Ensure that everyone listed as a sponsor or co-author of the PEP who has write access to the PEP repository is added to .github/CODEOWNERS.
  • Skim the PEP for obvious defects in language (spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc.), and code style (examples should conform to PEP 7 & PEP 8). Editors may correct problems themselves, but are not required to do so (reStructuredText syntax is checked by the repo’s CI).
  • If a project is portrayed as benefiting from or supporting the PEP, make sure there is some direct indication from the project included to make the support clear. This is to avoid a PEP accidentally portraying a project as supporting a PEP when in fact the support is based on conjecture.

If the PEP isn’t ready, an editor will send it back to the author for revision, with specific instructions. If reST formatting is a problem, ask the author(s) to use PEP 12 as a template and resubmit.

Once the PEP is ready for the repository, a PEP editor will:

  • Check that the author has selected a valid PEP number or assign them a number if they have not (almost always just the next available number, but sometimes it’s a special/joke number, like 666 or 3141).

    Remember that numbers below 100 are meta-PEPs.

  • Check that the author has correctly labeled the PEP’s type (“Standards Track”, “Informational”, or “Process”), and marked its status as “Draft”.
  • Ensure all CI build and lint checks pass without errors, and there are no obvious issues in the rendered preview output.
  • Merge the new (or updated) PEP.
  • Inform the author of the next steps (open a discussion thread and update the PEP with it, post an announcement, etc).

Updates to existing PEPs should be submitted as a GitHub pull request.

Many PEPs are written and maintained by developers with write access to the Python codebase. The PEP editors monitor the PEP repository for changes, and correct any structure, grammar, spelling, or markup mistakes they see.

PEP editors don’t pass judgment on PEPs. They merely do the administrative & editorial part (which is generally a low volume task).



Last modified: 2024-01-12 20:31:04 GMT