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Re^4: New Section: Obfu Art Gallery? (change)

by tye (Cardinal)
on Apr 21, 2004 at 03:28 UTC ( #346874=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Re^2: New Section: Obfu Art Gallery?
in thread New Section: Obfu Art Gallery?

Implement it, and you'll have a much better idea. (:

It took me several hours to turn the Perl News section into a place people could post to. And it already existed as a section and I didn't even implement much of what is implemented for other sections (you can't "approve" news items, for example).

There are a ton of features involved with 'sections'. Several of the sections are nearly identical, several are less so. Lots of the common code is factored out. Some of it could be factored out more effectively. But there are still a ton of entries to make and things to tie together and the process is rather time consuming because you're patching a live site without an automated 'roll out' system. And this stuff is harder to do from where I'm typing this node (giving my kids their bath) both in terms of display/keyboard issues and (more so) in terms of concentration.

And the proposed section (as I already covered) isn't like any existing PerlMonks section.

If you just want another 'page', not really a 'section', then it'll be a lot less work to 'do it yourself', either here (your home node or such) or elsewhere.

But my objection has more to do with continuity of design for the site. While I'm not volunteering to do this work, bolting on something as specific as this, well... as proposed, it would fit in like something bolted onto the side. I'd like to have it, though.

And if I wanted it more, I'd put it on my home node (or just use the root node of this thread for it) and encourage people to /msg me suggestions for additions. And as time went on I'd adjust how the list is broken up into sublists, etc. It'd still be bolted onto the side, and it would get done.

And if it got fairly big and I wanted to let people vote on things, then I'd write a little web app and move the current list into some kind of database.

There aren't any fields in the current PM database for 'reputation as obfu art'. And if someone wanted that information in the PM database, I'd tell them to come up with a more general design so we could do more 'best of' pages... And then I'd tell them to implement it off of PM (where it will be much less work for them to do and they won't have to be much bothered by my or other gods' ideas of 'good design' or my frequent 'lack of time' for such).

We've been trying for years to get PM development improved and moving along. We've made a lot of improvements and we've also taken a lot of steps that didn't do much good (at least not yet). So every once in a while we get a flurry of changes. The backlog of things that really should be done is huge.

I've taken a bit of flack for my lack of progress in some things over the years. As I see it, I often get this flack because I'm often the one doing the most (as little as it is). So I've become pretty non-apologetic about it.

The site limps along rather successfully. About the best way to ruin the experience for yourself is to get hung up on something you want changed or (the lack of) the process of change.

- tye        


Comment on Re^4: New Section: Obfu Art Gallery? (change)
Re^5: New Section: Obfu Art Gallery? (change)
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Apr 23, 2004 at 12:55 UTC

    We've been trying for years to get PM development improved and moving along. We've made a lot of improvements and we've also taken a lot of steps that didn't do much good (at least not yet). So every once in a while we get a flurry of changes. The backlog of things that really should be done is huge.

    I think this is somewhat of a vicious cycle. Unless there are Gods that have the time and the inclination to actively shepherd pmdev I think its inevitable that new code comes in flurrys and that we will end up with a backlog. Developing to unstated guidelines (code quality expectations), with minimal (constructive) feedback is as you know extremely difficult and can be quite frustrating for the people involved. If you post a patch and then never hear anything, or observe that of the posted patches only a small number have had any form of feedback you quickly become disenchanted with the process and eventually give up. As for debating code in pmdev why bother if the perception is that the odds are such that regardless of the debate the code won't get applied anyway?

    Of all the things that have been done to pmdev the only one that I think will have any real effect and alas also one I've not seen yet attempted is the addition of a god that dedicates themselve solely to dev related issues. Such a god should not participate in other godly duties, and should step down when/if they can no longer dedicate the required time.

    My position on all this is well known to you, and im not replying to rehash the CB chat we had recently. I recognize that the gods have lives too, and cannot currently respond to patches as they might wish. However I think its important to realize that this situation is fixable by finding the right person or people to manage pmdev who do have the time and inclination.

    Anyway. Ill keep posting patches regardless I suppose. At the very least nobody on the site can tell me to post a patch when i bitch about stuff. :-)


    ---
    demerphq

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
      -- Gandhi


      Thanks for the feedback. I'll just throw this response out rather bluntly. I appreciate your motivation and I'd like to point out that I'm not upset by your arguments. If I say something strongly below, it isn't out of frustration or hurt feelings, it is trying to make a point several ways in hopes of getting the point across without spending even more time composing.

      Of all the things that have been done to pmdev the only one that I think will have any real effect and alas also one I've not seen yet attempted is the addition of a god that dedicates themselve solely to dev related issues.

      Actually, I've done that, hmmm, 3(?) times so far. Plus I've tried to do it several more times than that.

      One of the things that made a real difference was providing more ways for pmdev to test their own code. You probably noticed part of the improvement, but I don't think you noticed a big part of the difference. A bunch of your patches that got applied would still not be applied right now if that hadn't happened.

      [They] should step down when/if they can no longer dedicate the required time.

      By that same argument, since pmdev has no purpose but to propose patches, shouldn't members resign if they haven't proposed a patch recently? (: Actually, I feel the same way. I'd prefer that members of all of the privileged groups resign if they notice that they no longer perform the duties (for a lot of reasons). But that has rarely happened and the times I've hinted at "cleaning up" any memberships, the resistance was pretty clear, understandably. I'm not sure what major benefit there would be to such a policy on member behavior, though.

      Such a god should not participate in other godly duties

      I really don't see "other godly duties" as being a distraction preventing development work. There just aren't very many other godly duties. I certainly don't do much that is "godly" other than occasional flurries of development. For example, I've got my third copy of the same "/msg" suggesting a new poll because I haven't done a thing with the first two copies of it in the past week(s). The other day, I saw one of those rare "godly" things that I felt should be done. I searched out Petruchio for feedback and we parted with him apologizing for not helping out much and my response was "none of us help out much", because I don't help out "much" either lately. Of course, I haven't actually done that "godly" thing it yet.

      Developing to unstated guidelines (code quality expectations), with minimal (constructive) feedback

      Yep, that's one of my frustrations with pmdev, they hardly ever comment on each other's code quality, design quality, or provide constructive criticism (it usually boils down to one person saying "looks good to me" -- something that I nearly ignore since it doesn't convince me that real consideration was put into it). Oh, you were trying to criticize gods there, weren't you? If only gods do this kind of stuff, then I don't think there will ever be much use for pmdev, we'll just have to keep adding people to gods if we want them to write code (and that won't scale). Sure, gods have some powers so "their votes matter more" (if you will), but if pmdev is going to work, it needs to contain members that think about broader design goals, code quality issues, etc.

      Only gods can apply patches. This means that it is important that pmdev try to have an ownership attitude and do as much of everything else as possible. And we could try to keep adding gods until we get an active group of gods doing development (we had that for a short time, and restoring that was my goal years ago) but that will (again) be a short-lived improvement unless pmdev takes off during that little window of opportunity.

      And they need to listen to the feedback that they do get. One of your more recent patchings got comments from me and one member of pmdev. We both said that we didn't see the point...

      I completely see your points about needing more from gods. I used to feel guilty about not giving more. But when I started getting "grief", that pretty quickly ended that. I've never complained about any one volunteer not doing something fast enough. "I don't ask for schedules from volunteers. It doesn't do any good and it annoys the volunteers." I get rather annoyed when I see people asking Larry "when will Perl 6 be done". Duh. It depends. Do people really think there is a reasonable answer to that question?

      The solution to pmdev is for pmdev to take ownership of every development challenge related to PerlMonks and demote the gods to mere automatons who simply apply the patches that the pmdev community has designed, considered, discussed, written, tested, and agreed to.

      However I think its important to realize that this situation is fixable by finding the right person or people to manage pmdev who do have the time and inclination.

      And I nominate you. Go forth and shepard pmdev. I'm glad you're still fighting. Get an actual group in pmdev working together so patches have a consensus behind them so I or other gods can just apply the things instead of having to find an hour or more of time to concentrate on whether the design fits in, will have bad effects in the long run, etc.

      Maybe other gods feel comfortable applying patches without going through those steps. If they do, they mostly aren't. :) When I've tried applying patches without going through those steps, I've usually regretted it and usually ended up spending more time in the end as a result. So I usually don't apply patches lightly.

      It's been over a month since I've spent any time on PM development. I hope to get my development platform fixed again soon, but I'm not holding my breath. I also have several other things that, frankly, are more important and that have also been sitting too long in the to-do bin.

      Thanks again.

      - tye        

        Thanks for the feedback. I'll just throw this response out rather bluntly.

        The other day when I got all stressed out about this in the CB was the last day ill take this pmdev lark seriously enough to get offended by what is or isn't going on. :-) So no worries, I hope likewise.

        Actually, I've done that, hmmm, 3(?) times so far. Plus I've tried to do it several more times than that.

        I cant really respond to that. All I can say is Ive not seen any god take an active hands on approach to pmdev since ive been a member. As you said, we get flurries of activity when the stars align and a god thinks a patch is interesting and a pmdever has a patch to hand. There certainly hasn't been any sustained working of the group that I can observe.

        One of the things that made a real difference was providing more ways for pmdev to test their own code. You probably noticed part of the improvement, but I don't think you noticed a big part of the difference. A bunch of your patches that got applied would still not be applied right now if that hadn't happened.

        This is all true. You should also observe that as those patches were applied new patches were forthcoming. :-) I dont think people will commit any kind of sustained effort without continuing feedback, which why the pattern in pmdev has been as it has. Think of Linux or Perl development, there are a core of people who are commiting patches all the time.

        By that same argument, since pmdev has no purpose but to propose patches, shouldn't members resign if they haven't proposed a patch recently? (:

        Er, I think I should clarify that I meant the patch pumpking role. Not the god role. Presumably if your trusted to be a god then that is sufficient. Im thinking like some of the recent developments in perl porters, where Hugo had to for his own reasons pass on some of his duties. He didnt lose any powers or anything, he just made sure that somebody else was taking care of business as it were.

        Yep, that's one of my frustrations with pmdev, they hardly ever comment on each other's code quality, design quality, or provide constructive criticism

        I think people would be far happier to do so if the pattern showed that their efforts would result in applied code. But I also agree with your point here. People need to be more critical of each others work.

        Oh, you were trying to criticize gods there, weren't you? If only gods do this kind of stuff, then I don't think there will ever be much use for pmdev, we'll just have to keep adding people to gods if we want them to write code (and that won't scale).

        I was criticizing both groups and the overall system or lack of one. With respect to the gods (ie you pretty much) there is no clear DONT/DO statement. When I code I have to make certain decisions. Without general policy to follow I just have to go with my gut and hope that whatever tack ive chosen isnt going to be vetoed by the gods. When ive had issues like this ive sometimes /msgd you (or theorbtwo), but more often than not ive just muddled on, and dealt with rewriting certain things when I found out afterwards you didnt approve. As pmdev well, people should be more proactive about commenting on and patching each others patches.

        We both said that we didn't see the point...

        Well gee. I posted three sets of patches there. One that refactors some duplicate code as well as adds a somewhat wanted feature (folding Re:'s). Another that does something that people have asked for a number of times (full control of arbitrary html in the personal nodelet, as well as PM style linking), and one for myself that I personally wanted (designed to meet a fairly specific set of constraints determined by you). The "constructive criticism" was restricted to two people saying they dont see the point of the one I made for me. (A way to customize the links in the titlebar, similar to the personal nodelet but with special features specially associated with the titlebar.) Not only that, but all three were as tested on the test server as well as they could be. One comment I recieved said "it seemed too complicated at first glance" (referring to the title bar one) without I think considering why it was that way. The nodelet patch was far simpler because it could be. Anyway, im going to repost a simpler version of it later, in the hopes that eventually I'll be able to do what I want to.

        I don't really think "I dont see the point" is the greatest criticism. If a contribution does harm, or will materially affect the sites stability or whatever, then fine reject it on those grounds. But just because one doesnt see a need for the feature for oneself doesnt mean that others might not appreciate it. For instance in a lot of ways Id prefer to be able to customize the titlebar than do a personal nodelet. But I posted patches for both. :-)

        I've never complained about any one volunteer not doing something fast enough. "I don't ask for schedules from volunteers. It doesn't do any good and it annoys the volunteers."

        I accept this on one level for sure. But on another I think I should point out that I'm not asking for something that I wouldn't do myself. Although I can perfectly see myself being in a position where I had to state that I could no longer do so because of other responsibilities.

        The solution to pmdev is for pmdev to take ownership of every development challenge related to PerlMonks and demote the gods to mere automatons who simply apply the patches that the pmdev community has designed, considered, discussed, written, tested, and agreed to.

        IMO the solution to that is for pmdevers to post their patches in PMD. The general public can consider the code as a whole, as well as what it is meant for. The comments from the general populace would encourage pmdev to come to a consensus.

        And I nominate you. Go forth and shepard pmdev. I'm glad you're still fighting.

        Thank you. Ill try. Hopefully my choice of signature proves to be prophetic... :-)

        However this also means that the discussion and consensus must be followed up by action or itll never work. It also shouldnt need that many people to be involved. If a few participants agree and there are no outright objections then that should be sufficient. Otherwise itll never work. I think for instance that a clear idea of what constitutes a quorum is needed.

        so I or other gods can just apply the things instead of having to find an hour or more of time to concentrate on whether the design fits in, will have bad effects in the long run, etc

        These are the kind of policy guidelines that we need to know about. As for "does the design fit" well, that will come down to a mixture of things that can either be determined by policy, or are probably more aesthetic judgment calls than anything else and as such should IMO be debated in a wider context. Beyond that all we can say is that our stuff is tested on the test server and doesn't throw errors.

        I've usually regretted it and usually ended up spending more time in the end as a result.

        Well, one thing that would be cool is some way for you as a god to ensure that the equivelent patches as were here were also applied and current on the test server and didnt prove problematic. Its something I could work on if it seems like a step in the right direction.

        Anyway tye I'll keep contributing (by for instance paying for the test server enviornment with corion) as I can and as I enjoy doing so. Id like to take an active role in improving the site and adding features to it because I enjoy doing it, I learn from it, and I like that people enjoy the result. As you said in the CB one time (more or less) "I do it because its fun". If and when I feel that its not worth the effort I'll stop. Given that this is a site of developers I think we should be able to put together an active dev group. But ultimately that requires people willing to apply the patches.

        Cheers.


        ---
        demerphq

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
          -- Gandhi


        I'd prefer that members of all of the privileged groups resign if they notice that they no longer perform the duties (for a lot of reasons).

        tye,
        You have said this before and I totally agree. I should have done this the first time I saw you say that. I have sent a /msg to the gods explaining that I simply do not have the time to be an effective member of pmdev and that y'all can feel free to remove me from the group.

        I am not ready to give up on SiteDocClan. I will try to be a more effective member of that group. If I can not, then I will step down from that position as well.

        My pmdev membership has allowed me to quickly document some things that would have taken feedback from others had I not been a member but as long as SiteDocClan still has some pmdev members, we should be fine.

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