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From Daniel Gruno <>
Subject Re: Does GSoC help develop communities?
Date Mon, 05 Dec 2016 21:07:49 GMT
On 12/05/2016 09:41 PM, Ulrich Stärk wrote:
> 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
> 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
> scienses known as qualitative research which provides extremely deep insights but is
also extremely
> hard (speak effort) to get right.

I could argue the opposite, but trading anecdotes about metrics isn't
gonna help much when it's missing the comdev context.

> 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
> $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?

Those are both excellent data points that would show the value of GSoC
to the ASF. Either would be awesome if we collected them, as they would
show, to both us and others, that this has a benefit to the communities
at the ASF. I am confident we could put together a document on what we
could try to measure (I say _try_ here, as we have to start somewhere
and then see what that brings)

> 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.

Let me ask two questions here:

- Do we spend any ASF resources on this (I'm thinking money/paid time here)?
- Do we enter into any form of legally binding contract with GSoC?

If the answer to both are 'no', then I'll certainly not stand in the way
of people wanting to do this - but if even one of them is 'yes', then we
(the PMC at the very least) owe it to the foundation (and ourselves) to
justify this on a recurring basis. And one way to justify it is to have
something that shows that it's actually providing something useful
towards the mission of this committee.

With regards,

> Cheers,
> Uli
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