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Subject: Re: [boost] [review queue] What to do about the library review queue?
From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2017-03-15 09:13:13

On 15/03/2017 08:22, Andrzej Krzemienski via Boost wrote:
>> I see that new candidate Boost libraries entering the review queue have
>> exploded in recent years, with no less than *twenty-three* proposed
>> libraries awaiting a review.
>> As the ongoing strength and vitality of Boost is inextricably linked to
>> new growth, I think that waiting around for years for someone to
>> volunteer to manage a review is not healthy. If a library author has
>> invested the very significant effort to develop a Boost-quality library,
>> the least Boost can do is to try harder to provide timely reviews and
>> that means persuading more people to volunteer to manage reviews.
> Niall, it is good you are bringing this up. Only sending this message has
> resulted in one library finding a review manager and the time slot.

In truth I was surprised myself when I went to the review queue to see
if Outcome had been added and it was suddenly a lot longer than it used
to be.

I should stress that *this is a good thing*. Tons of people want into
Boost and have invested very significant effort to get libraries ready
for review. It was so very different only recently.

> But let me share a number of observations. Even if all the ideas for
> motivating review managers work, and you have more people willing to manage
> the review than the candidate libraries, there will still be one
> bottleneck: only one library can be reviewed at a time. I personally find
> it a good thing and would like to keep it this way.
> Now, maybe this is just a coincidence, but we are just after the review of
> safe_numerics, in two days the review of Stacktrace starts; the week after
> it finishes, we have CallableTraits scheduled. There is also a good library
> waiting for review: PolyCollection. It already has a review manager. It
> looks like, at least for now, the schedule is full.

A very valid point, but I had already a solution in my proposal. As I
had mentioned, I reckon about a quarter of the queue could obviously
never pass a review due to at least one glaring deficiency e.g. totally
inappropriate naming conventions. If we could improve on the filtering
before libraries enter the review queue, we could cut down its size

In a lot of cases, the authors of those libraries don't realise their
glaring mistake, and waiting around years - or forever - to realise
their mistake isn't welcoming.

> Your library, Outcome, I suppose it will shortly find a review manager, as
> it looks useful and needed.

I hope so. But equally the majority feedback on Reddit when Outcome was
announced as finished was "I don't see a point in this library nor any
reason it should enter Boost". Most of said commentators hadn't passed
the landing page, and just to tickle you a bit Andrzej, they found issue
with that little code example on the landing page. "What's the
difference over std::optional<T> they cried?"

> On the other hand, I find it surprising that a library like Tick is not in
> the review queue. I would expect that it would be very welcome by many.

I would assume he's working on it since the Fit review, and I vaguely
remember him saying that somebody else's work greatly changed his and he
was going to rebase it to use theirs or something.

> Maybe, we should be doing some informal pre-reviews. Take one library from
> the queue. Contact the author; check if he/she is still alive, and discuss
> with him why they want the library into boost and why we don't (or do) like
> it, and what we would rather expect.
> Maybe this alone would make the process go more smoothly.

I've done this in the past, but only when I know the library author.
That also comes with moral hazard and problems. It's basically a self
selecting elite helping each other out only.

The problem, as it has been in Boost for a long time now, is lack of
recognised authority. Who am I to tell a library author anything? Who
are you? Only the Steering Committee members have any recognised
authority, and they intentionally don't use it. You may remember my
attempt to create a living document of best practices, and that ended up
going nowhere.

There are, and remain, long standing problems with political leadership
of any kind. I have proposed elections of a political leadership to set
any direction for Boost with ring fenced budget and turning the Steering
Committee into a pure Board of Directors with budget approval only, but
the Steering Committee rejected it.


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