On Thursday, 9 February 2017 at 23:44:31 UTC, Walter Bright wrote:
I appreciate how frustrating it must be to have people saying, 'Hey, do this! Do that!' without necessarily volunteering their
own efforts in support, but organizational improvements so very
often fail unless they are eagerly pursued at a leadership
level.


Before I respond, just wanted to say: I hope the above didn't come over as a personal attack, it wasn't meant as one. I was speaking in general about my experience of what can best influence change.

There are 29 people with commit privileges on Phobos:

  https://github.com/orgs/dlang/teams/team-phobos

What do you suggest? What are you willing to step up and do?

I'm painfully aware that I have limited ability to commit time and energy right now. I think that's one reason have been pushing this discussion: because my time is limited, when I _do_ find time to craft some code and send it to Phobos or elsewhere, it's quite precious to me, and I try to take a lot of care over it. It's not very nice to feel that this time is wasted because no one is paying attention to the results, and it's not very nice to feel that this is a situation that is just accepted.

So, that said, what would I suggest? Well, 29 people with commit privileges is less than 4 currently-open PRs per person. Let's be conservative and suppose 10 of them are regularly active.

What I would suggest is it takes one or two people with authority (important caveat, more on this in a moment) to periodically nudge those 10+ people about any PRs that (i) do not have an assigned reviewer with commit rights or (ii) do have an assigned reviewer but haven't had any activity in more than, say, 2 weeks. This doesn't need to be orders (impossible in a volunteer project) -- just encouraging requests for help and awareness-raising to make sure that no PR falls behind.

Then in turn, the 10+ people with commit rights need to be actively encouraging appropriate people to review the PRs they are responsible for, with the sense that it strongly matters that no PR author feels they're being abandoned (a feeling which needs to be encouraged by the top people: if the people with commit rights aren't nudging the reviewers on a particular PR, they need to be nudged themselves).

The authority bit matters because the one or two people at the top need to be able to field the questions that the 10+ with commit rights can't decide for themselves -- in a way that helps them understand the principles behind those decisions so that they can apply them themselves, confident that they're not going to be knocked back if the apply the same principles in future.

Basically, the role of the senior authority figure here is to support the people with commit rights in learning how to make decisions which won't need to be countermanded. No one person scales, but 10 people who understand 95% of that one person's thought _can_ -- and they can pass on that understanding to others.

Of course, I understand that I might be suggesting things that have been tried and have not worked out. But you asked for my suggestions, so ... that's what seems important to me.
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