Out of Flamewar arises a Phoenix of Hope

I don’t remember the original post that got this whole thing going but in about 24 hours something awesome happened. The Fedora Project has set a goal turning users into contributors. If you have ANY free time and (just about) ANY skill we can find a place for you. One place where people are needed badly is testing. There are just more packages than there are testers, that’s just the way it is. There are only two ways to slove this 1. stop maintaining so many packages. If you cant find people to test it then its obvious no one uses it. This is the wrong answer. or 2. find more testers, this is the right answer. Spot came up with a great idea

… I posit an alternative suggestion:

* At firstboot, the installing user is asked if they would be willing to
participate in user-driven updates testing. It is explained to them that
in Fedora, updates to packages need to be tested by users, and that if
they opt-in, they will be prompted from PackageKit about updates which
need user testing. They can choose an update which needs testing from a
list. Once an update is selected from the list, PackageKit will apply
the update from updates-testing, then open a new window which contains:

* General update testing advice
* Package specific update testing advice (this can live on the wiki)
* A graphical selector for giving +1 (works great!), 0 (cannot determine
state) or -1 (something didn’t work)
* A text box for inputting comments

The user then submits the results, which go into Bodhi. Once results are
submitted, that update no longer appears in the PackageKit “updates
which need testing” list.

If they report a 0 or -1, they are then prompted to back out the update
by PackageKit (at their choice).

* On the backend, should a user choose to opt-in, they would be prompted
to create a FAS account (or authenticate to an existing FAS account)
(e.g. RHN handling in the past). They would _NOT_ be required to sign
the Fedora CLA in order to participate in user-driven testing, as
reported results from QA testing has already been determined to be
non-copyrightable and thus, not considered a contribution.

Each user who opts-in to perform user-driven testing will have it
flagged in their account. Each successful update testing submission will
be minimally logged (package, target, timedate stamp) and a count
incremented for unique update feedback performed.

In thanks for their testing, users will be informed (at firstboot) that
they will receive Fedora swag, both in random drawings and at certain
threshold points (give good feedback on N updates and get a Fedora
Tester T-shirt).

Users can choose to opt out at any time. …

But that wasn’t the only proposed solution. There are some that think that poping crap up at people on first boot is bad form and that we should strive to give people a running functional desktop before we start bothering them. Meh good point. So here was another solution This
one by Mike McGrath.

Random thought: We could put a pretty ajaxy signup thing on
start.fedoraproject.org that keeps them logged in via community.

I’m thinking of something similar to how google.com works now. With no
login you get the generic pageg. With a login you might get a more
feature rich “targeting contributors” page. If they’ve gone far enough to
do the ajax sign up, we can try to consider them a potential contributor.

This topic is still hot on the Advisory Board Mailinglist , but what are your thoughts? Would you test packages for swag? Would you test packages if there was no swag? Would you be annoyed if this was presented to you at firstboot? Let me know in the comments or link me if you put your thoughts up somewhere eles.

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8 thoughts on “Out of Flamewar arises a Phoenix of Hope

  1. Thub says:

    I would test packages for no swag if there were some fancy integration with PackageKit, such that it would do some of the work of find packages in need of testing and all that.
    I doubt another “Next” button in firstboot would get in my way if I wasn’t interested, as long as the default is to opt out.

    Frankly, I like both of these proposals. In my case, it’s the maze of project sites, tools, and agreements I have to sign up for and navigate that keeps me from testing. More than anything, if there was some kind of desktop integration for this stuff, even if it just points my browser at the right place in a web tool to do it.

  2. I find the first idea to be really nice. For user who don’t want to do this or don’t know what it is, it’s just one more Next button.

    For the others who want to test, the nice integration and the ease of use will be of a great help.

  3. Well, it depends.

    I mean, I have tons of packages installed, but that doesn’t mean I know about all of them enough to test an update.

    Overall I think it’s a good idea, Fedora need the users to be involved in the QA process.

  4. I would.

    I don’t have enough time to think or seek candidates for testing, but if packagekit suggested I review an update to a package I use or thought was important I’m confident I would click ‘Ok’.

    I think I agree Juanjo. It seems this would get the most success if made quite ‘intelligent’; with requests targeting a user’s frequently used packages and with what a particular update ‘does’ clearly explained (Not on the wiki; directly through the PackageKit interface).

    Additionally, to make it feel more like an ‘approachable atomic task’ perhaps the review request could be based on a single line of a changelog? I’m not sure that current changelogs are detailed enough and structured enough to allow this?

  5. Casey Dahlin says:

    I think the rapid stream of updates makes this hard. If a user opts in to test foopkg and over the next 2 days he installs 50 other package updates, his system is no longer a good scientific testing environment.

  6. C.Lee Taylor says:

    I agree, both ideas look to be a great way to get end users to help with QA. It would also help some get an idea of what it takes to package something … Get’s a thumbs up from me and I can wait to start helping out!!

  7. Barry Smith says:

    I would definitely be interested. Like Thub noted, what gets in the way of this is often “the maze of project sites, tools, and agreements I have to sign up for and navigate.” Another impediment, in my mind, is lack of a sense of whether or not such help is wanted. This would be a very welcoming way to contribute – I think both ways of opting in could be workable. The second would definitely be less intrusive for some – the link on the start.fedoraproject.org page, with something complementary on the Fedora Project main page. Or maybe one could have something under “System” – like “Help Fedora.” Clear and simple would be best.

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