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Subject: Re: [boost] A Remedy for the Review Manager Starvation
From: Manfred Doudar (manfred.doudar_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-05-15 10:28:17

On Sat, 15 May 2010 17:23:07 +0400
Andrey Semashev <andrey.semashev_at_[hidden]> wrote:

> On 05/15/2010 08:49 AM, Joachim Faulhaber wrote:
> > 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
> > community.
> Although I understand your motivation, I don't share the point of
> making things harder for potential library submitters. Boost needs
> more libraries, despite of the situation with reviews.


I currently have a number of libraries that would prove of utility for
Boost, and have been sitting on them for some time, in some cases, over
2 years. Polishing them up, particularly with regard to documentation,
keeps me from doing so for the mean time, not to mention the effort/
time to go that extra mile, in-between my other priorities.

So I share Andrey's view with respect to the above. I expect any
submission to be burdensome on my time, and making things more
difficult, would make me think twice about bringing forward some rather
worthwhile libraries.

> The current
> standards are already quite high - perhaps, too high - to get new
> libraries inside, and raising the plank even higher doesn't look like
> a good idea to me.


I know what you are getting at Andrey, but would not want to lower the
bar on what goes into boost.

> Also, I don't feel quite comfortable with the idea of giving the
> steering wheel of the review process to newcomers, which are probably
> not very experienced in Boost.


I whole-heartedly agree on this one.

> I've always thought of review managers
> as of well-recognized and experienced Boost members, who have enough
> knowledge in the domain of the library being reviewed to understand
> the reasoning and make the just judgment in the end. Although the
> suggested RMA role has less responsibilities, the assistant still has
> to understand and steer the discussion in the right direction. Should
> he fail, it will have a major impact on the review quality and the
> final outcome.

When I think about Joachim's post, it becomes clear what the issue is,
and offer a suggestion - maybe some will agree:

We have a shortage of review managers, and a shortage of solid (new)
contributors to boost, and a number of libraries queued for review, or
sitting idle, because there is not enough momentum to drive the process

To up the count of review managers, and hence facilitate the process of
evaluating and libraries, and cutting down on a growing review-queue, a
better approach might be that once a library is accepted into boost,
an author must take on a role of an RMA for some library in the queue,
and drive that forward to full review. They'll be experienced up to a
point, having gone through the submission process once before, but may
need some mentoring along the way nonetheless.

Question is, how many libraries from new-comers do we have, in order to
cut down the load on existing review managers? Surely, not enough.
That being said, existing library authors, should also be cycled
through the review queue, ie. right now, I think review managers only
raise their hand for the job if they happen to be interested in a
particular library - maybe that should also change.

And now, I think a little more about Joachim's mail, and the stated
reception his ideas had at BoostCon (no, I wasn't there - but take
Joachim on his word); and now also recall Beman's email of a while
back, asking for persons to come forward and nominate themselves to
moderate the list - because:

 "[existing moderators'] day job responsibilities have changed, or
other distractions are preventing them from giving list moderation the
attention it deserves."

..this makes me think that there is a call of sorts for "new-blood",
because some boosters are moving on, in some respects (not
necessarily entirely, but other responsibilities keep them away, and
they may not be able to devote as much time as they once did, be it
moderation or otherwise).

Joachim's email is about addressing some of these issues; but I don't
think it hits the mark - and instead likely to shorten queues for lack
of submissions alone. I don't claim to have the answers, but I vote No
on this one.

And yes, I should put some time aside, and bring those libraries of
mine forward, that can only be a good thing - and maybe Joachim might
have his first RMA too.



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