Re: Proposal for revitalizing the sponsorship process for packaging

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On Wed, 25 Apr 2012 17:03:25 -0500, JLTI (Jason) wrote:

> For a while now I have been working on a proposal for some changes to
> both the way we elevate packagers to sponsors and what (to a small
> extent) sponsors actually do.  Please note that this is not a proposal
> for any changes to how people are made members of the packager group in
> the first place and does not change the privileges of existing sponsors.
> 
> My proposal is at
> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Tibbs/RevitalizingSponsorshipProposal
> 
> I've run this by FESCo, whose response was favorable, so I'm sending
> this to a larger audience.  Please let me know what you think.

There are a few unfortunate sections in the first paragraph already:

| users have to go through an almost endless set of steps (which also
| needs revision, but that's another topic) 

Compared with a few years ago there are many newbie-packagers, who
apparently are not interested in the 'Packaging' related Wiki pages and
not in the 'ReviewGuidelines' either.

Such package[r]s in the review queue sit and wait for a reviewer to do
__all__ the work including most basic tasks like running rpmlint or
running a test-build. And that inspite of the Wiki documents being
detailed and helpful enough nowadays ... compared with the brief
QACheckList from ancient times. Things commented on by reviewers often are
applied to a spec file only reluctantly, without proper/clear
acknowledgement. A single "okay, I see" or "that makes sense" often would
make a difference.

With regard to 'mentoring', I favour people, who show better communication
skills and who are more responsive. I appreciate feedback, even if
somebody disagrees and wants to discuss the guidelines instead of simply
applying a spec file fix. Worse, however, are those who start with Fedora
criticism in either bugzilla or private mail (such as considering the
guidelines as needless bureaucracy and finding fool language for that
even). A negative point of view related to how Fedora does something is
not motivating potential sponsors.

A few years ago, when I received private mail from somebody about
sponsorship, my reply would result in either a longer thread where to
discuss something or in a short acknowledgement and work move into
the review request. Nowadays, private mail mentions the wish to be
sponsored, but communication stops at that point because pointing
at the PackageMaintainers Wiki entry page apparently is considered
too much homework for the people who mail me.

| and then pin their hopes on a review ticket that, due to an insufficient
| number of active sponsors, may not get looked at in a reasonable amount
| of time.

It's disappointing to see that your "activity report" does not cover
activity in the review queue. I may be one of those, who has not sponsored
anyone in the past year, but I post helpful (and detailed) review comments
regularly and encounter inactive package submitters both in the normal
queue and in the needsponsor queue. In the same way packagers cannot
guarantee to return with a reply in less than 1-3 months, I cannot
guarantee sponsoring somebody already with only a _single_ submitted package,
where I have had to point at the Packaging Documentation multiple times.

Also, I think it has become more important to be more careful about who to
sponsor, because we are facing a growing number of orphans due to
packagers leaving the project without notice, as well as packagers who
grab N>1 packages in pkgdb without actually handling them properly in
bugzilla (if at all).

| Make some criteria that sponsors need to meet if they wish to remain sponsors. 

Forcing sponsors to fulfill such criteria is the wrong way IMO. It may
result in even more blanket-approval sponsorships.

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