[Python-Dev] Issues not responded to.

Carl Meyer carl at oddbird.net
Fri Jul 31 06:07:09 CEST 2015

On 07/30/2015 09:03 PM, Nikolaus Rath wrote:
> Nick recently mentioned that the PSF might be able to help, but that the
> initiative for that needs to come from the core developers. So why don't
> you guys ask the PSF to e.g. sponsor some of the work that no one feels
> motivated to do in their spare time?
> To avoid issues with some people being paid for work that others
> contribute in their free time one could introduce a new keyword in the
> tracker (say "ugly"). Whenever a core developer sees an issue that he[1]
> thinks should be worked on, but that he really does not want to do in
> his free time, he tags it with "ugly" and the issue becomes available
> for PSF-sponsored work.

I'm a Django core developer. For the last half-year or so, the Django
Software Foundation has (for the first time) paid a "Django Fellow" or
two (currently Tim Graham) to work on core Django. For me the experience
has been excellent. Having a Django Fellow significantly reduces the
guilt-burden of being part of the core team; it frees me to do the work
that I find most interesting, without needing to worry that other
necessary work won't get done. Releases are made on time, new tickets
are triaged, and security issues are attended to, whether I find the
time to do it myself or not, because someone is paid to ensure it
happens. I've never been the person on the core team who took on the
majority of that burden as a volunteer, but I _still_ (perhaps
especially?) feel the guilt-burden lifted. And having that burden lifted
hasn't decreased the overall amount of time I devote to Django; it's
increased it significantly, because spending time on Django has become
more fun.

Contributing to Django is also more fun now than it used to be (for core
developers and, I think, for everyone else) because Tim has been able to
devote significant chunks of time to infrastructure (the CI server and
the GitHub workflow, e.g. having the test suite and several other
automated code quality checks run automatically on every GitHub pull
request) that nobody ever found time to do as a volunteer.

So based on my experience with the transition to having a DSF-paid
Fellow on the Django core team, and having watched important python-dev
work (e.g. the core workflow stuff) linger due to lack of available
volunteer time, I'd recommend that python-dev run, not walk, to ask the
PSF board to fund a similar position for Python core.

Of course there may be differences between the culture of python-dev and
Django core that I'm not fully aware of that may make a difference in
how things work out. And finding the right person for the job is
critical, of course. I think the Django experience suggests that an
existing long-time contributor who is already known and trusted by the
core team is a good bet. Also that the Fellow needs to already have, or
quickly gain, commit privileges themselves.

For whatever it's worth,


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