The weather was cool but beautiful and it was nice to see the signs of fall in the trees along our street. My neighbor didn’t make the Max today so I read a bit of my book on the ride. The man that sits outside was there today so I said good morning as I walked by. He said something back that sounded grumpy but I have no idea what.
Everyone filtered in and made breakfast or coffee or both. Everyone seems so comfortable with each other now. We just sort of have this nice flow as a group. I hope we can keep up some contact after this is over. Maybe a monthly Ascend Alumni meeting.
We all got to work on our stuff to do and it’s now different for each one of us. Some are still working on catch up things and anyone who is ahead seems more than happy to jump in and help them. Some people are working with headphones so they can concentrate. I do fine without anything and actually like the distraction of helping someone otherwise I might not budge. I posted a comment on my bug with the question I had from yesterday about the attribute being deprecated and then looked over the code I was supposed to modify. My reviewer commented back and said I had made a good catch on the deprecation. I followed up with another comment and question about my function name. I don’t expect this sort of quick response on all bugs but it sure feels wonderful to be taken seriously as a new contributor.
Mike Hoye had a Vidyo meeting with us to tell us about what the barriers to participation in open source contribution at Mozilla might be. He also spoke about his role in making things better and easier for people. He made several great points that I will paraphrase here. The social aspect is a challenge. Telling people to read the manual that you haven’t yourself read is functionally equal to telling them to fuck off. People volunteer to not only grow their own skills but to be a part of a community that they feel is doing something important. If someone’s effort goes unnoticed they won’t come back. Mozilla has tried, without sacrificing technical quality, to be more welcoming and responsive to volunteer contributors. The long term goal is to get the organization to recognize that Bugzilla is a social network. All of us have now seen under the hood. It’s a lot less about the technology and a lot more about working with the people.
Mike also talked about what works best for fixing a bug. He said that one of the things that makes any relationship work is communication. A bug will be assigned when a patch is filed. The person working on the bug should maintain contact weekly to, at the very least, say you are still working on the bug. Radio silence of two weeks is a sign that a contributor is not working on the bug. Rapid small iterations are very valuable. We have to work up to a “big bang” patch and it typically takes years but one can get there. Sometimes code reviews may seem nit picky but the code has to maintain a certain formatting standard from now until forever.
It was a great meeting and it went until just about 12:00. I had my coaching meeting then so I grabbed a quick lunch. I have to say again how wonderful it was! Vegan meatball sliders and a really good kale salad from 24th and Meatballs. Another place I have never heard of. So many of those in Portland I guess.
I had an awesome coaching meeting and was really happy to hear that my coach was going to be in Portland next week and for the remainder of Ascend! Meeting finished and lunch done so it was back to work. I had a notification in IRC and it was my reviewer, whimboo. He had seen my comment/question and messages so we could talk about it. I was kind of….ok very….stuck on my function name and keeping it more descriptive. I explained my reasoning and he agreed! It gets to be escapeRegEx(). I’m pretty happy about that. I showed him my re-worked function and he had some suggestions. I took note of them so I wouldn’t forget. Virginia messaged in IRC and it turns out he is her reviewer too! We all talked a bit about Ascend and he showed us pictures of Germany where he lives and then Virginia had some questions about her bug. It looked like things were getting complicated but I think she worked stuff out with him. He is really nice and very helpful.
I took a break from my bug to fix up a couple of blog post that had some formatting issues and then submitted a pull request. I was hurrying, which is really never a good idea by the way, so didn’t check my changes locally before pushing them up to my Github repo.
This brought us to the end of another day. They seem to fly by now and I don’t like it at all. I probably haven’t mentioned this at all but I don’t want this project to be over so soon! We all filled out our individual Etherpad progress reports and then checked out with the status of our bugs or progress toward obtaining one to work on. Some of us are frustrated and some of us are doing ok but all of us students are looking forward to coming back to it tomorrow. Lukas and Kronda are probably looking forward to a vacation!
Wayne was working in the back garden when I got home and Andrew was still working. I saw that Lukas merged in my pull request so I jumped on my computer to see my post all fixed up……except it wasn’t. Dammit! Don’t be in such a hurry that you skip checking things locally. It would have only taken me an extra few seconds.
Today I learned about Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen. Fascinating!