Automatic feedback for variable names

I just saw that a solution in the Python queue got this automated feedback:

“People more often read code than write, so pay more attention to variable naming. In this case it’s better to call k and v variables as what this variables represent: letter and points. that would make it easier to get back later and see immediately what is that code doing.”

I think that’s excellent advice, but this particular solution did already use expressive variable names (points and letters), not generic names like k and v.

Could it be that the representer ignores variable names?
Is there a way to avoid giving automated feedback that is specifically about names?

That feedback should be taken out of circulation.

The instructions for writing automatic feedback explicitly warn against commenting on names:

The key thing with representation feedback is that they apply to multiple solutions. Anything that the representer normalizes should not be commented on, as you have no way of knowing what the original syntax was for a particular solution.


Another example is naming of variables, functions, methods or classes. As representers could normalize identifier names, you shouldn’t comment on them. Even if your representer currently does not normalize identifier names, you still should not comment on it, as this is a normalization likely to be added to a representer later.

Good to know.

Can you take care of it? I do know to little about representers and how this automated feedback is maintained.

I don’t think I am allowed; I also have no idea how to. I had only read those instructions; I haven’t yet produced any automatic feedback myself.

@iHiD ?

I believe only the people that wrote the feedback and iHiD/Erik can modify them. Even for the author, I don’t think there’s a simple way to pull up prior comments.

Correct, at the moment that’s the case. The mentor who wrote the faulty feedback would need to remove it themselves, or iHiD/Erik need to help out. There’s also work in progress that would extend this ability to more people, I’m not entirely sure whom - maybe track maintainers? Add automation/admin tab by dem4ron · Pull Request #3588 · exercism/website · GitHub

There’s also a special file that the Python track is missing (see Elixir’s file for example) that should be added to help mentors know what kind of normalizations are done by the representer, warning them not to leave comments about variable names for example.

Thank you for pointing that out @angelikatyborska - I will add that to my list for the week. :grin: