Hello,

If you haven't seen the post*, I'll be stepping down as a Django fellow at 
the end of March. Applications are open until this Friday if you're 
interested in joining Carlton in the position.

I wanted to give a brief retrospective on some aspects of my experience, 
with the hope that it'll be helpful for the future of the program.

There are a number of reasons for my decision, but mainly I've felt a need 
to disconnect for a while and take a break. I want to explore other things 
besides computers. I don't have the same excitement for the work as when I 
started. Django development was less structured back then. It was fun to 
set up continuous integration and a regular release schedule and bring 
order to chaos. Now with those things in place, I think Django will 
continue to plod along just fine without me.

It's been tough for me to take a guilt-free vacation because there's not 
much "excess capacity" in the fellowship staffing. Even with another fellow 
working part-time, there's a backlog of review work that accumulates when a 
fellow takes a break. It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you return. Maybe 
this is fine. If the fellowship were overstaffed, that wouldn't leave 
anything for volunteers to do which would be bad for new recruits. Even so, 
it's difficult to feel good when contributors are pinging you asking why 
their patch isn't reviewed in a couple days or weeks. I've tried to 
emphasis that *anyone* (except the patch author) can review patches and 
mark the ticket as "ready for checkin", but there are still many more code 
contributors than patch reviewers these days.

If I were starting as a new fellow, I would set up a separate email account 
for all my Django activity so that I don't see those notices in my personal 
mail on evenings and weekends.

I grew tiresome of teaching new contributors. Most regular contributors 
submit high quality patches that are generally easy to review but most new 
contributors don't take time to read our style guide and follow the patch 
review checklist. Only a very small number of contributors become regular 
contributors and sometimes I've thought that the effort to teach new 
contributors who don't stick around is very inefficient. I guess this is 
fine as long as fellows recognize that their job is partly educational.

I could write more but I want to put something out before Friday. If you're 
thinking of applying and have a question or doubt, please ask.

* https://www.djangoproject.com/weblog/2018/dec/21/django-fellow-applicants/

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