[openstack-dev] [tc][all] A culture change (nitpicking)
neil at tigera.io
Tue May 29 16:00:03 UTC 2018
>From my point of view as someone who is still just an occasional
contributor (in all OpenStack projects other than my own team's networking
driver), and so I think still sensitive to the concerns being raised here:
- Nits are not actually a problem, at all, if they are uncontroversial and
quick to deal with. For example, if it's a point of English, and most
English speakers would agree that a correction is better, it's quick and no
problem for me to make that correction.
- What is much more of a problem is:
- Anything that is more a matter of opinion. If a markup is just the
reviewer's personal opinion, and they can't say anything to explain more
objectively why their suggestion is better, it would be wiser to defer to
the contributor's initial choice.
- Questioning something unconstructively or out of proportion to the
change being made. This is a tricky one to pin down, but sometimes I've
had comments that raise some random left-field question that isn't really
related to the change being made, or where the reviewer could have done a
couple minutes research themselves and then either made a more precise
comment, or not made their comment at all.
- Asking - implicitly or explicitly - the contributor to add more
cleanups to their change. If someone usefully fixes a problem, and their
fix does not of itself impair the quality or maintainability of the
surrounding code, they should not be asked to extend their fix so as to fix
further problems that a more regular developer may be aware of in that
area, or to advance a refactoring / cleanup that another developer has in
mind. (At least, not as part of that initial change.)
(Obviously the common thread of those problem points is taking up more
time; psychologically I think one of the things that can turn a contributor
away is the feeling that they've contributed a clearly useful thing, yet
the community is stalling over accepting it for reasons that do not appear
Hoping this is vaguely helpful...
On Tue, May 29, 2018 at 4:35 PM Amy Marrich <amy at demarco.com> wrote:
> If I have a nit that doesn't affect things, I'll make a note of it and say
> if you do another patch I'd really like it fixed but also give the patch a
> vote. What I'll also do sometimes if I know the user or they are online
> I'll offer to fix things for them, that way they can see what I've done,
> I've sped things along and I haven't caused a simple change to take a long
> amount of time and reviews.
> I think this is a great addition!
> Amy (spotz)
> On Tue, May 29, 2018 at 6:55 AM, Julia Kreger <juliaashleykreger at gmail.com
> > wrote:
>> During the Forum, the topic of review culture came up in session after
>> session. During these discussions, the subject of our use of nitpicks
>> were often raised as a point of contention and frustration, especially
>> by community members that have left the community and that were
>> attempting to re-engage the community. Contributors raised the point
>> of review feedback requiring for extremely precise English, or
>> compliance to a particular core reviewer's style preferences, which
>> may not be the same as another core reviewer.
>> These things are not just frustrating, but also very inhibiting for
>> part time contributors such as students who may also be time limited.
>> Or an operator who noticed something that was clearly a bug and that
>> put forth a very minor fix and doesn't have the time to revise it over
>> and over.
>> While nitpicks do help guide and teach, the consensus seemed to be
>> that we do need to shift the culture a little bit. As such, I've
>> proposed a change to our principles in governance that attempts to
>> capture the essence and spirit of the nitpicking topic as a first
>> : https://review.openstack.org/570940
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