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[Savannah-hackers-public] GHM talk feedback
[Savannah-hackers-public] GHM talk feedback
Wed, 18 Nov 2009 21:07:08 +0100
The talk about Savannah at the GHM (GNU Hackers Meeting) went fine. It
happened the first day and the whole thing lasted around 1h.
After presenting Savannah, its history and the current undergoing
changes, I asked the other GNU people about what their ideas to
improve Savannah, keeping in mind a few guiding principles (e.g. this
is not a piece of software, this is a service).
There was a video recording which may be made available to GNU
Here's a summary:
Mail interface to the trackers
- working offline
- no need to create an account, no authentication hassle
- Try to get the same antispam measures than what's used at
lists.gnu.org (which people praised, btw). Note that there is a
moderation team at lists.gnu.org, not very big, but necessary
- Sign mails using GPG: there's a risk of replay attacks, but this
sounds unlikely; if there's a problem (people reposting signed mail
that were sent to another place by other people), we could try to
require a special field or something.
- Use a hidden hex field system, like when piloting Mailman via mail
Not discussed much (no time left), but people would like it. Somebody
(Simon I think?) mentioned that he appreciated that Google Code
provided a wiki, even if it was a very basic one.
Not discussed much either. Some people would like to use external
authentication, such as OpenID or Jabber.
In fact people are more interested in a few stats than in Ohloh-like
features. Some of the stats are motivating (e.g. get a higher score
for your profile, get more kudos, etc.), but at the same time people
felt they are mostly unfair, and can become a burden in the long-term
(e.g. advogado has a kudos-like system, but in the end a lot of people
begged for them, which was annoying). So while the short-term
motivation should be used to our benefit, the long-term effects can
have a negative overall impact.
It was mentioned that Kudos could be replaced by a very basic "Thanks
for your project!" button that people could click to, just to cheers
the developpers, but not necessarily public, nor counted.
While it's difficult to get accurate and relevant stats (e.g.: code
activity: commits can be frequent but small; lines of codes can change
a lot if people just re-indent, use verbose languages, or write
trivial code; maintainers often submit other people's code; etc.) it's
still interesting to get them. We could implement them while being
careful about not ranking projects, and explaining that they may not
be accurate. Stats don't have a high priority, compared to other
People would like to see more information, such as a user picture and
geo location, in the users profile. Care should be taken to maintain
privacy: do not ask too many questions, and allow the user to restrict
to who the information can be made available (public, same project
members, nobody). The saner way to address privacy would be to rely
on distributed, rather than centralised, web services -- several GNU
hackers are interested in that topic, though not in relation with
Geo location could be displayed using a Wikipedia special page, that
allow people to choose between several map web services.
I'm personaly in favor of installing as much as Open Street Map as
display developpers coordinates on a map. In a second step, to
continue being independent and fostering services distribution, we
could install the OSM software at Savannah (this requires some more
Jose suggested having a way to group projects using categories, for
example to ones used in the Free Software Directory. This would allow
to see projects that work in the same field, as well as foster groups
of interest. Such categories could get a mailing lists (e.g.:
Werner suggested to send a newsletter about recent activity, for
exemple a list of monthly new projects. This would help notice what's
going on at Savannah.
Team work tools
People suggested to add a tool to make a choice (a meeting date, a
project feature, etc.). I suggest looking at
http://www.peacefrogs.net/papillon/ (a Django app, btw), which is the
reference free alternative. It's considered OK not to keep the
history, so as to help with the long-term maintenance of such a
Henrik also mentioned a voting system but I need to ask him which one.
Brian would also like to see a way to view webs of trust in GPG keys
such as http://www.lysator.liu.se/~jc/wotsap/search.html
Juan Pedro and I discussed later on how to improve the web design.
Among other things we mentioned the idea to group site-wide features
in a simple drop-down menu at the top of the screen, and make the
project page customisable using a system of "blocks" (e.g.: news,
latest commits, developers...) that project admins could freely place
on the screen.
More generally, we're interested in artistic contributions, possibly
in the form of mock-up webpages that we would then convert to
JP: if you have a scan of your web design, I'm interested ;)
- [Savannah-hackers-public] GHM talk feedback,
Sylvain Beucler <=