[Python-Dev] "Good first issues" on the bug tracker

Karthikeyan tir.karthi at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 11:11:26 EST 2019

I would also suggest cleaning up the existing set of easy issues where the
issues was tagged as easy initially followed by discussion about how the
though easy has other concerns like backwards compatibility due to which it
can't be merged. It's getting hard to get more easy issues and what could
seem as an easy fix might later expand into a discussion that the beginner
might not have enough context to answer and in that case the easy tag
should be removed. It's even harder over realizing when to fix it by myself
or tag it as easy for someone to fix it because if it's fixed by a regular
contributor then there could be a thought that I myself could have done it
since triaging itself is a difficult work.

I would also recommend waiting for a core dev or someone to provide some
feedback or confirmation on even an easy issue's fix since it's easy to
propose a fix to be later rejected due to various reasons resulting in
wasted work and disappointment.

PS : Using mailing list for the first time apologies if I have done
anything wrong.

On Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 5:40 PM Victor Stinner <vstinner at redhat.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> Let me share with you (this mailing list) my experience with mentoring
> and what we call "easy issue". First of all, almost all "easy issues"
> are very hard issues: issues open for longer than one year, with many
> comments, and nobody succeeded to come up with a solution (well,
> otherwise the issue would be closed, no? ;-)). Does it mean that there
> is no easy issue? Well, when someone creates a really easy issue, it's
> usually fixed in less than 2 hours(!): either by a core dev who want
> to relax their brain, or by a contributor eager to get more commits
> under their name.
> It's not uncommon that even if an issue is marked as easy (easy
> keyword and [EASY] in the title), it's fixed by a core a dev. Or at
> least by a "regular" contributor who wants to get more commits. For a
> regular contributor, I see the point of getting more commits: getting
> more visible. But in my criteria to promote a contributor as a core
> dev, it's not enough. It's not with easy issue that you learn hard
> stuff: trade off between backward compatibility and new features which
> has to break it, write complex test, document properly a change, etc.
> Does it mean that we don't need easy issue? No. For someone who really
> starts from the beginning, easy issues are required. You cannot ask a
> newcomer to immediately write the perfect PR at the first attempt with
> a long list of strict requirements: complex tests, handle portability
> issues, etc. You need to build a stair made of *small* steps.
> What's the solution? I'm not sure. I decided to stop opening public
> issues for my mentorees and instead give them easy bugs by private
> email. Why? My main concern is the high pressure on an open issue: the
> race to be the first to produce a PR. Recently, I opened a public
> issue anyway but explicitly wrote that it's reserved for my mentoree.
> Someone ignored the message and wrote a PR... It was a first time
> contributor and it was really hard to me to reject the PR :-( (My
> mentoree wrote a better PR with my help, at least a PR closer to what
> I expected, obviously since I helped.)
> I prefer to give unlimited time to my mentoree to dig into the code,
> ask questions, write code step by step. I really hate the time
> pressure of the race on open easy issues :-(
> Now the question is: how can *you* find an easy issue? Well. In the
> past, my real problem was that I didn't let anyone write the code that
> I would like to write myself. I considered that nobody writes code as
> well as I do... Sorry :-) It took me time to change my mind.
>     Lao Tsu said that if you give a hungry man a fish,
>     you feed him for a day,
>     but if you teach him how to fish,
>     you feed him for a lifetim
> To better scale horizontally, I have to teach other people what I do,
> to be able to distribute the work.
> I am working hard against myself to stop writing all code myself.
> Instead, I'm trying to explain carefully what I would like to do,
> split the work into tasks, and distribute these tasks to my mentorees,
> one by one. But I don't put my mentorees in a competition, each
> mentoree has its own project which doesn't conflict with others.
> Doing that takes me a lot of time: create tasks, follow tasks, review
> PRs, etc. To be honest, right now, I'm mostly able to follow correctly
> only one mentoree at the same time. The others are more "on their own"
> (sorry!). As you may know, finding a task doable by mentorees is hard.
> I have a lot of ideas, but many ideas will take years to be
> implemented and are controversial :-)
> I don't ask you to completely stop writing code. I ask you to not
> write everything yourself, and sometimes give the simplest issues to
> contributors who are eager to help you.
> Victor
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Karthikeyan S
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