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From Paul Davis <paul.joseph.da...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Comments threads on Github
Date Fri, 15 Mar 2013 19:39:10 GMT
On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM, matt j. sorenson
<matt@sorensonbros.net> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 7:16 AM, Noah Slater <nslater@apache.org> wrote:
>
>> Hey folks,
>>
>> I'd like to bring two things to your attention:
>>
>> https://github.com/apache/couchdb/pull/43
>
>
> ^ I opened that one (obviously(?))
>

I suppose if I take the time to click through to your user account and
compare your name to the one used to send this email. Though not all
GitHub accounts have a real name anyway so its not always apparent
who's contributing something even if I do go out of my way to figure
out who is who.

>
>>
>> https://github.com/cloudant-labs/couchdb/pull/18
>>
>> 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.
>>
>
> thank you!
>
>
>>
>> But on the other hand, this discussion is core development discussion, and
>> should be happening on the dev list where everybody can see it.
>>
>
> I'm not sure where you get that PR#43 is core dev at all, plz clarify?
>

Its a change to the source code repository.

>
>>
>> (This is foundational stuff for an Apache project. Community building
>> should be focused around the mailing lists.
>
>
> (I've already made it known that I don't agree with this at all)
>
>
>> 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.
>>
>
> PR#43, for anyone that may have skipped the description and comments
> thread there (or who may have commented and then deleted the comment
> in a rush of "OMG-i-made-a-PR-comment-instead-of-sending-to-the-ML"
> ASF policy loyalty silliness) is precisely about surfacing the Apache
> CouchDB
> contribution policy in a "github-official" manner that will make it far
> more
> obvious ***to githubbers*** in just the way githubbers have (or will) come
> to expect!
>
> IOW, it aims to greatly aid the very challenge that this email rant is
> about.
>
>
>>
>> But on the other hand, we shouldn't be having important development
>> discussions in pull requests.
>
>
> disagree, again.
>

You can disagree all you want, but that doesn't mean the ASF is going
to change one of their fundamental policies or that we as a project
can start ignoring that policy.

>
>> 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.
>>
>
> Again, could be accomplished in the manner PR#43 describes(!)
>
>
>>
>> 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!
>>
>> [LINK TO MAILING LIST THREAD]
>>
>> ==
>>
>> 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?
>>
>
> I'm speaking personally, and I know there are strong and varying
> opinions on the subject among participants here.
>
> I also know the CouchDB PMC leads have a strong desire to spur
> involvement in the project, and nothing dooms my personal desire
> to work towards contributing than some ill-explained ass-backwards
> 90's era bureaucratic mandate that EVERYTHING be facilitated over
> the ML.
>

While various ASF policies can be dense and difficult to understand at
times, the mailing list policies are pretty straight forward.
Regardless of your personal feelings on email and mailing lists in
general, the fact is they are the single most widely deployed and
widely compatible interfaces to push notifications in existence.

To be a bit more specific on Noah's link:

http://www.apache.org/foundation/how-it-works.html#management

The fact is that Apache uses mailing lists for development. Any
development discussion that is not on this mailing list did not happen
as far as the project is concerned.

> In fact it is due to that policy and general ASF-iness that keeps me
> closer to the sidelines. This is a hobby, at best, for me at this time,
> and I already have no chance of keeping up with the ML activity.
>

Its important to point out that having a mailing list centric
communication channel does not require contributors to read all emails
on the list. Its quite acceptable to subscribe and ignore every thread
that you don't care about. Even developers will skim threads or even
skip uninteresting ones all together.

> I'd rather see the asf git become the archive mirror, quite frankly.
> How many resources could the ASF preserve (or apply more
> productively - development, conferences, promotion) by adopting
> github infra formally (for starters).
>

There are a lot of people that think this way and its been an opinion
voiced on lots of mailing lists. Mostly by people that use GitHub.
Suffice to say the ASF has roundly rejected this due to a long laundry
list of reasons.

> And i'm not some 19-yro kid who grew up always thinking of email
> as irrelevant legacy tech, I've been doing this awhile myself.
>
> There's a lot to it. And, unsurprisingly, I don't care for essays in emails.
> It's about the bazaar model. It's about signal-to-noise (for each
> individual!).
> It's about being able to subscribe to the topics you care about and not have
> to wade through the noise of the topics you don't care about, just to find
> those topics you do care about (because at some point, the value prop
> just isn't worth it anymore). It's about *thinking like the web* and
> **observable work**[1].
>
> (is the ML observable? sure, in a sense, but barely)
>
> It's about all of that and a whole lot more.
>
>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> --
>> NS
>>
>
>
> feedback always welcome of course, and thx for listening
> --
> matt
>
> [1] http://emjayess.net/think-like-jon-udell

I appreciate the desire to leverage the activity at GitHub and I think
that's a goal that we should keep as a project but the thing we need
to remember is that as awesome as GitHub is, there's definitely
downsides to it as well.

There are plenty of projects not on GitHub and as much I as love
GitHub I understand its not right for every project. And for people
that really insist that GitHub is a panacea, I'll refer you to
Torvald's rather colorful refutation of that position.

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