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From Ulrich Stärk <...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Does GSoC help develop communities?
Date Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:41:03 GMT
On 05.12.16 17:45, Rich Bowen wrote:
> 
> 
> On 12/05/2016 07:41 AM, Ulrich Stärk wrote:
>>> Or, at the very least, can we make a commitment to track this data going
>>>> forward?
>> Let me play the devil's advocate here: What for?
>>
>> GSoC is completely free for the ASF (on the contrary, we even get a small amount
for every accepted
>> student that we can than put towards fulfilling our goals) and as long as we have
volunteers willing
>> to organize it and mentor students we can assume that at least those volunteers are
seeing value in
>> it. Why the stats other than for satisfying our curiosity?
> 
> Because part of Community Development is measuring what you do, so that
> you know if it's effective. This isn't a big request. I'm perplexed at
> your resistance to it.
> 

I have seen way too many metrics being misused to justify the wrong actions because metrics
are
extremely poor when it comes to more complex questions such as what we are currently trying
to
answer. IMO the only viable approach would be what you call anecdotal but which is in social
scienses known as qualitative research which provides extremely deep insights but is also
extremely
hard (speak effort) to get right.

How would you measure the impact on communities by students asking questions regarding a GSoC
proposal but not being accepted? But using the knowledge they gained to promote the project
at
$dayjob later in their career, simply because they once had a short touchpoint. What does
it say
about a community if somebody becomes a committer and sticks with the project after GSoC?
Is one
more important than the other long-term? By which factor?

And I'd again argue that we don't have to care too much how effective something like GSoC
is as long
as people are having fun mentoring students. Your experience might not have been fun but then
again
we are telling mentors to fail students early on when they don't think that anything useful
will
come out of it.

Cheers,

Uli

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