[squeak-dev] Re: Call For *Your* Opinion

Jerome Peace peace_the_dreamer at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 22 04:10:03 UTC 2010

Ian Trudel ian.trudel at gmail.com
Mon Apr 19 10:49:32 UTC 2010 wrote:

Dear Squeakizen,

I would like to call for your opinion(s) in regard to contributions. I
am a firm believer in surveying the community in order to improve our
sense of direction, our culture, and bonding as a community.

#1. What are your biggest hurdles preventing you from contributing to Squeak?

a) Feedback on previous contributions.

I do bug tracking by first observing them then writing up the complaints on a mantis report. Finding one other person interested in fixing the bug is usually the start of an effort on it. The interaction fuels the interest of the two or more parties.

I have also worked on bugs singly, adding more data and analysis to the report until I am either satisfied or bored. The contributions from that will wait for a gatekeeper to become interested. While this sometimes works, usually it runs into problems. The gatekeepers are interested in dismissing the idea and closing the report. They have their own focus and priorities and do not share mine. So after learning this efforts on contributing to a bug fix tends to get suspended or its priority lowered if I am the only one persuing it.

This is the lesson agile programming teaches about pair programming.

#2. What would it take for you to contribute more?

a) Pair programming.

b) Authoritative and definitive sources of useful information about how to program. I don't expect someone to go back and document ancient stuff. However when a new tool is introduced, good, clear, parctical advice and examples are needed to increase the number of people skilled in using it.

#3. What are your expectations in regard to contributions?

You never know whats going to happen until you give others a chance to reply. The internet is the home of the long tail. Any question will have somebody out there who can help with the answer. The question is whether they are monitoring the question.

Squeaks community is rather small. Good feedback is hard to come by here.

#4. What are the reasons behind the low level of contributions from
other community members, according to you?

???? Can only speak for myself. 

However I imagine what I said above applies to others. Gentle interaction with good people certainly helps. The creation of 4.0 and 4.1 took off IMO because Andreas provided leadership and good feedback to peoples requests and comments. He also got good people involved. KUDOs

#5. What would you improve in order to increase the number of
contributions and the number of contributors?

a) The communication of a clear sense of purpose. What and who are the version of squeak we produce here uniquely designed for. Here unique means in contrast to the purposes of Pharo, Etoys, Newspeak, and Dan's lively kernel. Up to now the supposed purpose of squeak has been unsettled because the leadership has been unsettled and constantly changing. Squeaks most salient product to date has been forks.

b) New and better means for the community to interact with each other.
The current swiki, mantis, the mailinglist and the irc channels do not seem sufficient. From my experience I think the community could greatly benefit from the addition of a wiki or a wiki farm based on mediawiki. That's an important enough idea it will be worth writing about in its own post. Think "Squeakapedia".

#6. How would you rate your sense of social identification to the
Squeak community, on a scale from 1 to 10. (1 is the lowest, 10 the

It varies with time. Both the community and the rating. Currently the piece of squeak that drew me here, the child component, is being pursued elsewhere. In that fork my best contributions are languishing for lack of others interest.

So I rank myself greater than 4 and less than 10.

#7. What is your rating based on?

See above. The residual interest is based on a love for Alan Kay's vision, and what I perceive as the spirit of the squeak language. I.E. what it wants to become.

#8. Anything else?

Yes, It would be unrealistic to expect the board to initiate these surveys. There are only seven people on the board and the board is international rather than co-located. Which means a good deal of energy gets put into just meeting and communicating. 

Initiative for this kind of thing deserves to come from someone with love for the language and the community who is willing to provide the "this-shall-be-done" bit. That's the bit that sees a project through to its useful conclusion.

I can see that even just the attention of this survey project and everyone's ability to read everyone else's responses has sparked peoples hope and willingness to initiate projects of their own.

Good work, Ian. 

Yours in curiosity and service, --Jerome Peace


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