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From Paul Davis <>
Subject Re: Comments threads on Github
Date Fri, 15 Mar 2013 19:58:04 GMT
I've actually been noticing a bit of a disconnect between GitHub PR
discussions and the mailing list.

I suppose I should finally tell everyone that as a bit of an
experiment I've actually been actively ignoring any CouchDB related
PRs to see how much discussion leaked through to the mailing list. As
everyone has probably realized that's been pretty much zero.

We've discussed a few times about having some sort of bot that relays
replies back and forth between the ML and the PR thread (which while
theoretically sounds neat, I don't have high hopes as every being
super reliable (though I would love to be proven wrong)).

Noah's email is actually a bit serendipitous as I was just researching
Git/Email/GitHub connectivity ideas the other night. Something
triggered the realization that we're spending an awful lot of time
discussing how to integrate the use of a tool written to directly
integrate with email to integrate with email (its right, read it

That said I did a bit of research and it looks like getting Git to
send patches around via email is relatively straight forward. Git can
send emails directly and newer versions have direct support for Gmail.
If users have issues with their particular email provider there's also
documentation on setting up msmtp as an intermediary.

OTOH there's little to know documentation on how you manage the flip
side of things and actually do the receiving of patches over email and
apply them to a local copy of the repo. I've been looking at a few
tools to try and script something together that'll manage this
process. Not sure how easy this will be but I'm hopeful I'll be able
to knock something together. Also of interest is GitHub's "PR as mbox"
if you add the .patch extension. With a bit of scripting I reckon we'd
also be able to have a tool that fairly easily pulls those as well for
anyone that can be bothered to setup Git to send emails.

Anyway, just a heads up that I'm gonna start playing with some of
these bits to get a feel for how easy it is to actually send patches
around via email and so on. If anyone's interested feel free to chime

On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 7:16 AM, Noah Slater <> wrote:
> Hey folks,
> I'd like to bring two things to your attention:
> These just happen to be two pull requests I looked at today, there are more.
> On the one hand, this is great. Obviously. Any sort of constructive
> activity happening around CouchDB is great.
> But on the other hand, this discussion is core development discussion, and
> should be happening on the dev list where everybody can see it.
> (This is foundational stuff for an Apache project. Community building
> should be focused around the mailing lists. I get that Github is useful for
> people, but we're not a Github project, so our activity should not be
> happening there.)
> I don't know what to suggest. Obviously, I think pull requests are great.
> And I think the forking model of Github is great, because it allows people
> to contribute more easily, and in a manner that suits them.
> But on the other hand, we shouldn't be having important development
> discussions in pull requests. The PR isn't even against the Apache CouchDB
> mirror. It's against a Cloudant fork! (So even less likely that folks are
> going to see it.)
> Perhaps one of the policies we could document is that discussion of pull
> requests must be brought to the list.
> That is, if a PR comes in to the Apache Github mirror, then we make a
> polite comment on the PR that points them to the mailing list thread and
> asks them to participate in that forum, so the maximum amount of devs can
> see and contribute.
> We could also say that if you have a fork of CouchDB, and you're planning
> to contribute the work back to Apache CouchDB (as is the case with the
> Cloudant fork) that you do the same with any PRs that are made to your
> repos.
> A sample template comment could be as follows:
> ==
> Thank you for the pull request!
> This is a mirror of the Apache CouchDB project, so many of the committers
> do not monitor it for comments. Instead of discussing this pull request
> here, I have started a thread on the [developer mailing list] and I invite
> you to participate!
> ==
> Additionally, the mailing list thread, or the first reply to it, should CC
> the original author.
> One alternative to this (which is a bit of a mess, I know) is to write
> an integration that copies Github comments to the mailing list thread, and
> mailing list posts to the PR. Not sure that would work with forks of the
> main mirror, however.
> Thoughts? Flames?
> Thanks,
> --
> NS

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