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Subject: [boost] A Remedy for the Review Manager Starvation
From: Joachim Faulhaber (afojgo_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-05-15 00:49:05

Dear list,

at boostcon (which was awesome :) we talked about the "review manager
starvation" that boost is suffering from. I have offered a proposal on
this topic, which seemed to have found a good acceptance at Tuesday
evening's session. I'd like to share this proposal on the list now, in
order to develop a more concrete policy, based on the proposal and its

Where does the motivation come from?

There is a huge amount of motivation in the "boost process". People
really work their butts off. But this motivation is not everywhere in
"boost world". Obviously it is lacking in the field of being a review
manager. The motivation is mostly in the field of developing and
contributing high quality generic libraries: Being a boost

* People have a general desire to contribute something useful.
* Boost contributors generally are passionate about generic library
* Boost as a high quality library collection is THE platform for a
contributor to place its contribution.
* The boost community and list is an opportunity to learn from an
elite in the field of generic library programming.
* The formal review is both a reality test of the quality of a
contribution and an acknowledgement by the experts.
* The motivation to get into boost is caused by its high standards,
because it makes boost attractive.
* This in turn motivates not everyone, but those who are passionate
about high quality generic programming.

Boost is like a beautiful woman that is not easy to win. And this is a
good thing. Let's be honest: Being accepted into boost and winning a
beautiful woman has this in common: It extends our ego for a large
part. (Whether this is always wise is another story ... but that's
where we're after).

So this is my suggestion:

(1) Let's increase the standards: Let's make it more difficult for a
library to be accepted into boost.
(2) Let's create a new role: The Review Manager Assistant (RMA), who
does almost all the work that is needed to manage a formal review.
(3) To take on the job as a review manager assistant will be a
precondition for a contributor to submit his own library.

So we are making the contributors lives even harder with this... We
should give them something on "the other side of the coin":

(4) Let's foster a general culture of acknowledgement in boost.
(5) Contribution must not be discouraged by inaction.
(6) Contribution to boost is a win win game: Even if a library is not
accepted there will be a value for the contributor and the boost

To make this more concrete:

(ad 1) Standards: The list of standards that a library submitted for
review has to fulfill should be very clear, so the contributor can
prepare his lib using that check list *and* the RMA can check the
submission thoroughly. This list should be more explicit and more
transparent than what we have now: To fulfill the list of requirements
for a submission which is checked by the RMA is then the first
certifiable standard of quality that a library can obtain in the
review process.

Included in the list of requirement for first time contributors should be:
(1.1) 2 previews on the boost mailing list OR 1 boostcon presentation
with a sufficient feedback of interest from the community
(1.2) Issuing reviews for 2 formal reviews of other contributors.
(1.3) Being RMA for another library once.

(ad 2) A Review Manager Assistant (RMA) ...
(2.1) does all the work that is necessary to check a library
submission, organizes the process, moderates and files a final report,
(2.2) unburdens the review manager from all kinds of detail work,
except for the final verdict.
(2.3) rejects the library submission, if it not yet fulfills all requirements.

An RMA will probably be highly motivated, because he learns all about
the standards and the review process that helps him for his own
library project.

(ad 5) An RMA is not necessarily needed for a review. If no RMA is
found the review manager can do the job himself (current procedure).
If an RMA volunteers he can start to organizing the review process. He
checks the lib and requests a review manager, if necessary. If no one
steps forward, the RMA starts the review process, which can not be
halted by mere inaction. Any acceptable review manager can take that
role. If no one takes action, the review is managed by the RMA. The
RMA files the final report on the review within 2 weeks after it ends.
The RM declares the result within 4 weeks after the review on the
basis of the RMA's summary.

(ad 6) Based on the high standards that are checked rigorously by the
RMA a library submitted to boost gets certified as "conforms boost
standards" or similar, even if it fails to be accepted into boost. In
addition to the accepted boost libraries, there will be a collection
of associated libraries (boost friends) that can be listed on a web
page and that officially are allowed to use some logo that informs
about the certified state.

(ad 4) This is a form of acknowledgement for those who took on the
project of a boost contribution but didn't make it into the core
collection and to make them friends or associates of boost rather than
"boost losers".

So this is my proposal. I wanted to post this on the list because it
is a result of this years boostcon and also the topic is kind of
urgent. On the other hand you can not expect me to participate very
much in this discussion for the next week, because I am on vacations.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts and I will be back next week.


P.S.: BoostCon was really great this year! Lot's of interesting talks
and the sessions that addressed topics of the boost community were
quite inspiring and creative. Not to mention the picnic and jam
session (very enjoyable despite cold weather).

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