[Python-Dev] Our failure at handling GSoC students

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Wed Aug 7 03:39:12 CEST 2013

On 7 August 2013 05:26, Antoine Pitrou <solipsis at pitrou.net> wrote:
> Hello,
> I would like to point out that we currently fail at handling GSoC
> projects and bringing them to completion.


> What didn't produce an alarm during Robin's work is that GSoC work is
> done in private. Therefore, other core developers than the mentor don't
> get to give an advice early, as would happen with any normal proposal
> done publicly (on the mailing-list or on the bug tracker).

This isn't the way GSoC is supposed to work. Mentors are supposed to
nudge students towards the regular channels for the project. This may
mean a sig (e.g. the import engine work a few years ago was discussed
on import-sig. That didn't end up being committed, since Greg's work
revealed some fundamental problems with the proposed architecture, but
the knowledge wasn't restricted to just myself and Greg), or else a
more general channel like core-mentorship or python-ideas.

Ideally (and this isn't going to be possible for every GSoC project),
mentors will be able to help break the project down into reviewable
chunks proposed as incremental issues, rather than producing one big
patch at the end of the summer.

> It is also
> likely that the mentor gets overworked after the GSoC period is over,
> is unable to finalize the patch and push it, and other core devs have a
> hard time catching up on the work and don't know what the shortcomings
> are.

Indeed. I added some preliminary guidelines for mentors to the GSoC
"Expectations" page:


I also added a link to the expectations page from


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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