Re: Surveying new package maintainers about their experience of contributing to Debian
On 18/07/13 at 20:09 -0400, Joseph R. Justice wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 11:08 AM, Lucas Nussbaum <email@example.com> wrote:
> I feel that, as long-time contributors, we often lack a good view of how
> > hard new people find it to get involved in Debian. In order to better
> > identify blockers or difficulties that prospective contributors face
> > when trying to contribute to Debian, I would like to survey new package
> > maintainers, identified using  (thanks to Asheesh Laroia for fixing
> > the UDD upload-history gatherer!).
> >  http://udd.debian.org/cgi-bin/new-maintainers.cgi
> > I started drafting the mail below, and would welcome reviews, comments,
> > or additional ideas of questions. I plan to send the survey on 2013-07-19
> > 12:00 (UTC).
> (Note: I am not a DD, DM, or even plain old Debian contributor at this
> time. I'm just a bystander in the peanut gallery.)
> I realize the following is probably out of scope given your initial target
> goal (information that might aid new package maintainers), and much harder
> to determine / target _and_ perhaps / probably too much to try to
> accomplish given the short amount of time you have available (since you
> want to have at least some of this done by the time of the upcoming
> Debconf), but...
> IIRC, Debian's official policy is that they welcome and seek out
> contributors and contributions of all types, not only or "merely" package
> development and maintenance. IIRC also one can now be a DD without
> developing or uploading packages, or even having the capability to upload
> packages. (If I'm mistaken about either of these things, I apologize.)
> Now, I fully agree with the goals set out here as I understand them (to try
> to figure out ways to make it easier for people to get a start doing
> packaging and/or contributing to packaging). However, I would not want you
> to overlook or (unintentionally) ignore the other ways people do and/or
> potentially might contribute to Debian, and/or overlook / (unintentionally)
> ignore the ways or reasons people might seek DD status without having any
> intention or even desire to do packaging / package maintenance. I think
> you should seek to try to figure out ways to make it easier for people to
> get a start doing _other_, non-packaging, contributions to Debian as well,
> and/or to make it easier for them to gain non-uploading DD status if they
> so desire.
> Now, the survey as I've seen it (both the original draft and draft 2
> following Gregor Herrmann's comments) appears to be focused primarily if
> not exclusively on people doing packaging work. And, as I've already
> noted, it might be too big a goal to try to address non-packaging work, at
> least at this moment and/or in this survey. (And also you probably need to
> figure out what sorts of non-packaging contributions typically occur;
> different types of contribution might call for different surveys and/or at
> least different questions.) It might spread the focus of the survey too
> thinly such that it is less helpful than it could potentially be.
> However, I think it's important that you at least make formal
> acknowledgement of the fact that non-packaging contributions can and do
> occur and are valued and welcomed, and that you desire to figure out how to
> make it easier for newcomers to Debian to make these sorts of contributions
> too and that you intend to make efforts towards that end as well as you
> have time and energy to do so, even tho _this_ initial survey is focused on
> people doing packaging work. (You might also ask people to make comments
> if they wish concerning any non-packaging contributions they might have
> made or attempted along with their packaging efforts, even tho that isn't
> the primary focus of _this_ survey, if only to see what you might find out
> and/or start to learn what other sorts of (potential) contributors might
> benefit from surveys of this sort.)
> Thanks for giving me some of your time by reading this message. I hope
> it's been of some use and/or interest to you. Be well, do good things.
Of course, non-packaging contributions are very valued and very welcomed.
But it just doesn't sound possible to address them in the same survey,
where the focus is really on welcoming packaging contributions. Even the
initial surveyed group would have to be different, as I plan to survey
people who have recently got their first package accepted in Debian.
Also, this is not the ultimate and final Debian survey on new
contributors. It's an experimental attempt at trying to collect some
useful data, and to do so so we have the data available at DebConf.
There's place for other projects and ways to do that, of course.
For example, the GreenHouse project aims at building infrastructure
to identify, welcome and retain new contributors.