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Now that we've got 400+ contributions under our collective belt, I
imagine that everybody's got opinions about what's good, bad, and ugly
about the whole request/sponsor process.

And we want to hear what we can do to streamline that process, making it
easier for Contributors and for Sponsors.

Here's one idea that's been percolating for a little while now, targeted
primarily at more experienced Contributors:

Write an optional Mercurial extension to (A) collect, through a series
of questions and answers, supplemented by changeset comments, all of the
information necessary for a sponsor to file an RTI; and (B) submit that
information as the explanatory text for an "hg email" command [1], where
a sponsor with commit rights can pick it up and oversee the mechanics of
integration.  The separation of items (A) and (B) is important--(A) is
intended as a stopgap measure until we get the resources to figure out
how OpenRTI fits, and (B) is a first step towards changing the way we
integrate changes.

For a complex fix, and/or a relatively inexperienced Contributor, this
won't look much different from what we have today.  A sponsor will still
be available via the request-sponsor alias, and can still help with any
part of the internal process.  The earlier the sponsor is involved, the
less useful this extension would be.

For more experienced submitters, however, this would have the following

- Allow greater autonomy: a note to request-sponsor will still be
appropriate to avoid duplicating effort, but now it becomes a
notification that "I'm working on this," instead of a request for a sponsor.

- Provide a more formal means of handing off the fix: right now, fixes
may be communicated in a variety of formats.  This will unify and
formalize the expected format, which is a necessary prerequisite for
automating processes such as rebase, recommit, and validation.  Such
automation is explicitly not part of this phase.

- Allow more flexibility: the more information that the Contributor
provides, the less interactive the handoff may be.  The less information
provided, the more interactive.  The less experienced the Contributor,
the earlier a Sponsor is assigned, and the more the Sponsor participates
in the process.

For now, I would love to hear from Contributors and Sponsors.  Does this
sound like a step in a useful direction?  Would you use such a thing?



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