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Re: How to Increase Contributions from Volunteers

On Tue, 3 Jan 2006 11:52, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>         Given the choice between having to double check work done by
>  potentially inexperienced folks, and ensuring that the package is
>  done by people who can do some of the double checking on their own,
>  and make less errors, I'd go for the latter every time.
>         Debugging/proof reading other peoples work is always more
>  thankless, error prone, and often less thorough than following good
>  practices and minimizing errors the first time around. And that comes
>  with experience.
>         Now, if you had a bunch of actual peers we were talking about,
>  then sure, more eyes do make for lighter work. But that is not what
>  we are discussing. We are talking about letting almost anybody
>  commit, and hope that the experienced person will catch all the
>  mistakes. I am not convinced that the mistake shall not grow in the
>  end product in this case.
Yes, but it's only by doing the work, either maintaining their own package, 
or submitting patches / directly committing to team maintained packages 
that people gain the skills they need to become DDs.  

Whats needed is a genuine team of 2-5 suitable new maintainer 'peers' 
co-maintaining half a dozen similar or related small packages (or one-two 
medium packages) plus one DD reviewing changes and sponsoring uploads every 
few weeks.  Beginners can start off sending patches by mail, either to a 
mailing list, or to bug reports.  (I do agree there should be some sort of 
control over commit access).  If they don't know enough to contribute they 
will either learn, or drop out.  (It worth pointing out that handling bug 
reports can be a useful contribution.)  Once they have shown that they can 
contribute they can be given commit access.  

The one of the goals of this sort of team maintenance should be team members 
helping each other learn.  

The end result in terms of package quality should be less bugs than the 
current process of each individual new maintainer maintaining a couple of 
packages and a DD sponsoring the occasional upload.  Yeah, there will 
probably will be more bugs committed to version control, but their will 
(hopefully) be more sets of eyes catching them.

The apprentice maintainers don't need to maintain important packages.  There 
are plenty of priority optional/extra packages, many with alternative 
packages with similar functionality.  

The DD does not have to do any more work per upload than they would under 
the current system. 

The main point is that this sort of team lowers the bar to entry.  Someone 
who lacks the skills to create their own package can still contribute.  And 
by contributing they can learn new skills.

Just my 2 cents

Andrew V.

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