While that’s a fair distinction to make generally, I don’t think it’s a particularly useful one to make in this case because there hasn’t been an opportunity for feedback by the community at large, other than a few threads like this where the vocal subset have attempted to force the issue to the forefront, mostly unsuccessfully.
This is also part of the reason that, speaking for my own concerns, this is being brought up in the context of significant whitespace and not one of the other big changes (e.g. givens) because those have generally been subject to lively debate and many of the suggestions and concerns raised in those discussions have been incorporated into (and generally improved) the resulting designs.
Stated another way, while the other big changes may not have adhered to the letter of the SIP process, they’ve stuck close to the spirit of that process. The way that significant whitespace has been handled departs from both, and that’s extremely unsettling because, while you may feel that it’s a trivial change as a language designer, as a language user I haven’t found that to be the case, and I’m clearly not the only one.
I would have said the same about infix at the start of this process . The problem is that, if a change as big as significant whitespace can be made without getting community feedback, it creates the very uncomfortable precedent that anything less disruptive that this can be done if @odersky reads a paper he finds particularly convincing and has a few weekends to spare.