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From "Sheng Zha"<zhash...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Call for Help for Fixing Flaky Tests
Date Sun, 14 Jan 2018 20:21:14 GMT
Hi Bhavin,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Regarding the usage of 'flaky' plugin for retrying flaky
tests, it's proposed as a compromise, given that it will take time to properly fix the tests
and we still need coverage in the meantime.

I'm not sure if releasing before these tests are re-enabled should be the way, as it's not
a good practice to release features that are not covered by tests. Having done it before doesn't
make it right. In that sense, release efforts shouldn't be a blocker for re-enabling tests.
Rather, it should be the other way around, and release should happen only after we recover
the lost test coverage.

I hope that we would do the right thing for our users. Thanks.

-sz

On 2018-01-14 11:00, Bhavin Thaker <bhavinthaker@gmail.com> wrote: 
> Hi Sheng,
> 
> Thank you for your efforts and this proposal to improve the tests. Here are
> my thoughts.
> 
> Shouldn’t the focus be to _engineer_ each test to be reliable instead of
> compromising and discussing the relative tradeoffs in re-enabling flaky
> tests? Is the test failure probability really 10%?
> 
> As you correctly mention, the experiences in making the tests reliable will
> then serve as the standard for adding new tests rather than continuing to
> chase the elusive goal of reliable tests.
> 
> Hence, my non-binding vote is:
> -1 for proposal #1 for renabling flaky tests.
> +1 for proposal #2 for setting the standard for adding reliable tests.
> 
> I suggest to NOT compromise on the quality and reliability of the tests,
> similar to the high bar maintained for the MXNet source code.
> 
> If the final vote is to re-enable flaky tests, then I propose that we
> enable them immediately AFTER the next MXNet release instead of doing it
> during the upcoming release.
> 
> Bhavin Thaker.
> 
> On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 2:20 PM, Marco de Abreu <
> marco.g.abreu@googlemail.com> wrote:
> 
> > Hello Sheng,
> >
> > thanks a lot for leading this task!
> >
> > +1 for both points. Additionally, I'd propose to add the requirement to
> > specify a reason if a new test takes more than X seconds (say 10) or adds
> > an external dependency.
> >
> > Looking forward to getting these tests fixed :)
> >
> > Best regards,
> > Marco
> >
> > On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 11:14 PM, Sheng Zha <zhasheng@apache.org> wrote:
> >
> > > Hi MXNet community,
> > >
> > > Thanks to the efforts of several community members, we identified many
> > > flaky tests. These tests are currently disabled to ensure the smooth
> > > execution of continuous integration (CI). As a result, we lost coverage
> > on
> > > those features. They need fixing and to be re-enabled to ensure the
> > quality
> > > of our releases. I'd like to propose the following:
> > >
> > > 1, Re-enable flaky python tests with retries if feasible
> > > Although the tests are unstable, they would still be able to catch
> > breaking
> > > changes. For example, suppose a test fails randomly with 10% probability,
> > > the probability of three failed retries become 0.1%. On the other hand, a
> > > breaking change would result in 100% failure. Although this could
> > increase
> > > the testing time, it's a compromise that can help avoid bigger problem.
> > >
> > > 2, Set standard for new tests
> > > I think having criteria that new tests should follow can help improve the
> > > quality of tests, but also the quality of code. I propose the following
> > > standard for tests.
> > > - Reliably passing with good coverage
> > > - Avoid randomness unless necessary
> > > - Avoid external dependency unless necessary (e.g. due to license)
> > > - Not resource-intensive unless necessary (e.g. scaling tests)
> > >
> > > In addition, I'd like to call for volunteers on helping with the fix of
> > > tests. New members are especially welcome, as it's a good opportunity to
> > > familiarize with MXNet. Also, I'd like to request that members who wrote
> > > the feature/test could help either by fixing, or by helping others
> > > understand the issues.
> > >
> > > The effort on fixing the tests is tracked at:
> > > https://github.com/apache/incubator-mxnet/issues/9412
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > > Sheng
> > >
> >
> 

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