Outreach programs/2014-03-11 IRC Q&A session on GSoC and FOSS OPW

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<sumanah> I would like to share some useful tips to all applicants, once we've answered a few questions :-)
<qgil> Alright, any questions?
<mvolz> Hi, I am currently mentorless! I picked a project from the raw projects. I wrote a quick proposal today: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Improving_URL_citations_on_WikiMedia_(OPW_Project)
<BPositive> qgil, I had moved my proposal page to Userspace but then Nemo_bis moved it back to Extension namespace. He told me that he had a discussion with you regarding this. But, I still see most of proposals in the userspace? Where do they go?
<sumanah> mvolz: wow, that's a lot of work to do in 3 months!
<mvolz> I'm also not sure exactly what to do for my Microtask
<qgil> Hm, the Raw projects are Raw for many reasons, one of them being that they probably lack any mentors. Let me see...
<mvolz> Well yes, I think I'm going to pare it down some :)
<qgil> mvolz, forst mentors, then microtask
<qgil> first
<mvolz> Well, so one of the related projects does have mentors, and that's the VisualEditor part
<mvolz> But it would take me a while to even get to that bit.
<sumanah> mvolz: have you found it useful to hang out in #mediawiki or the Visual Editor IRC channels, to get a sense for what's going in?
<puntonim_> We can apply for up to 5 GSoC projects, but of course we will be chosen for 0 or 1. We might have our preferences, by meaning we apply for 5 projects but we consider some of them more interesting than others. How do we specify this preference?
<sumanah> (#mediawiki-visualeditor)
<andre__> mvolz: I also wonder if https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Annoying_little_bugs can provide some ideas for microtasks - it lists "easy to solve" open bugs per project
<qgil> mvolz, is your project related to https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Possible_projects#Global.2C_better_URL_to_citation_conversion_functionality ?
<mvolz> Yes, it's mostly that one
<sumanah> puntonim_: I highly recommend that, if this is your first time applying for GSoC, you only put in 1 or 2 applications, and you tell both orgs that you're applying for another org as well
<mvolz> It dovetails with the RefTool bar and Visual Editor projects at some point
<mvolz> Although maybe not within 3 months.
<sumanah> puntonim_: I think this is not mentioned in the GSoC "Frequently Asked Questions" page, which is very extensive https://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/document/show/gsoc_program/google/gsoc2014/help_page but it's in http://en.flossmanuals.net/GSoCStudentGuide/ch008_writing-a-proposal/
<puntonim_> sumanah: no more than 2?
<sandaru> What if I am interested in two opw projects? Can I add the two projects as separate entries in the candidates table? or else what should I do?
<aalekhN1> Hi, i wrote an proposal at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:AalekhN/GSoC_proposal_2014 but i am unable to communicate with the mentors is there any way i can get suggestions to improve my proposal?
<sumanah> puntonim_: yes. It's incredibly hard to write even two high-quality proposals in my opinion.
<qgil> mvolz, alriight, then the first thing you have to do is contacting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:John_Broughton and commenti in https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=57804 (and ideally wikitech-l), pointing all of them to your proposal and telling them that you need mentors urgently
<andre__> aalekhN1: uhm, could you elaborate what you mean by "unable"? What happened? :-/
<qgil> mvolz, at tis stage, if you don' t receive clear answers then it is a signal that you must jump to something different. This is the problem of Raw projects taken in the (so to say) last minute.
<mvolz> Thanks, I'll take that into consideration :)
<qgil> mvolz, first mentors, then define the right scope for the project with them, then microtask. 
<aalekhN1> actually, from about a week i could not find mentor in irc also there seems to be no reply from mentor at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk:CAPTCHA page or discussion page of my proposal. although nemo_bis has given us excellent hands with improvement of ideas
<sumanah> mvolz: good luck :-)
<sandaru> What if I am interested in two opw projects? Can I add the two projects as separate entries in the candidates table? or else what should I do?
<qgil> sandaru, sorry, I was looking at your question.
<qgil> sandaru, anybody can apply to more than one project. However...
<qgil> sandaru, as sumanah is also suggesting, it is better to focus in 1-2 projects. In fact, it is ok to start drafting more than one project, but as you proceed with details, contacting mentors, working on the microtasks they assign to you...
<qgil> sandaru, you should see which project is more solid, which relationship is more interesting and productive for you
<qgil> sandaru, puntonim_ this is not a university. Evaluations are not based only in the assignment your present (your proposal)
<qgil> We are looking at good relationships between students and mentors based on a common project idea that has good chances of becoming actual code (or documentation, etc), functional and deployed
<puntonim_> ok
<sandaru> ok
<qgil> This is why it is important to get in touch with mentors, talk to them regularly, be on IRC, comment on bugs... all that
<BPositive> qgil, guess you missed out on my question. Please have a look so that I can ask the next one :)
<sumanah> Look at http://webchick.net/embrace-the-chaos for "a dramatization comparing the problem-solving approach of two hypothetical Drupal developers: Sloppy Sam, and Perfectionist Pat."  This helps you see why it's better to communicate more and not try to polish your proposal secretly.
<qgil> At least within Wikimedia, if you start with more than one proposal you will quickly see where to put your bets
<qgil> BPositive, yes, Nemo convinced me that it was a good idea to have the proposals NOT in the userspace. Therefore, please post your proposals in the URL that makes more sense, in the Main namespace. Give me one sec...
<aalekhN1> andre_,r u there?
<qgil> BPositive, here is the discussion with Nemo: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User_talk:Qgil#GSoC_proposals_namespace_40468
<wctaiwan> Is it generally frowned upon to propose to work on something someone else has already proposed to work on? (one of the possible mentorship projects)
<andre__> aalekhN1: Yes I am. I'm looking at your past conversations in channels...
<qgil> ... and this is also an important point: avoid as much as possible direct emails with your mentors, prioritize wiki pages, mailing lists, bug reports, gerrit patches...
<andre__> aalekhN1: who did you talk to, except for Nemo and pginer?
<qgil> ... This way all these discussions happen in public, and have URLs associated that you or someone else (e.g. the rest of people evaluating your proposal) can check
<sumanah> wctaiwan: Some Google Summer of Code mentoring organizations are fine with accepting multiple duplicate proposals (Student A and Student B separately implement the same functionality). Wikimedia is not fine with that and will only accept one proposal for a particular project idea.
<sumanah> So if you and another student are interested in the same topic, I suggest that you TALK with the other student, talk with the mentor, and figure out which student done more preparation and is more interested in that idea. The student with less preparation and interest should choose a different topic.
<qgil> even IRC in a public channel like #wikimedia-dev is better than private emails
<sumanah> er, I mean, which student has done more preparation.
<BPositive> qgil, Thanks, I'll have a look at it
<andre__> aalekhN1: did you manage to talk to Emufarmers who is listed on https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Mentorship_programs/Possible_projects#Multilingual.2C_usable_and_effective_captchas ?
<wctaiwan> sumanah: okay, thanks.
<sumanah> wctaiwan: Sometimes it turns out that a project idea is actually so big that it can be split into two separate projects that 2 people can do in parallel!
<qgil> wctaiwan, this was recently discussed at wikitech-l, let me find the URL...  :)
<sumanah> So check whether that's possible.
<andre__> aalekhN1: I can only see your comment in https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User_talk:Emufarmers#Multilingual.2C_usable_and_effective_captchas which does not provide much context...
<aalekhN1> in irc i did talk to pginer and nemo. i could not find emufarmers on irc
<qgil> wctaiwan, see http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2014-March/074889.html and related posts in the thread
<andre__> aalekhN1: Emufarmers is on IRC right now.
<wctaiwan> thank you. I'll read up
<BPositive> qgil, sumanah : My next question is...Is there any fixed requirement for the proposal page to be in the specified template? My proposal page (https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Translate/Mass_migration_tools) has an additional "approach" section where I have discussed step by step solution for the problem statement.
<sumanah> BPositive: cool! I like it!
<BPositive> Which helps me to convey my idea in a better way
<pawan_seerwani> @qgil : is patch merge mandatory for GSoC this time?
<aalekhN1> hi emurfarer,can you please give advice on https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:AalekhN/GSoC_proposal_2014
<qgil> aalekhN1, if you have trouble discussing with mentors listed in featured project, please send me a note to qgil@wikimedia.org (so I don' t forget), and I will put you in touch
<andre__> aalekhN1: if you avoid typos in nicknames the person might even realize that you pinged her/him
<BPositive> aalekhN1, I think you are not auto-completing nicknames using the Tab key :)
<sumanah> aalekhN1: in IRC there's tab-completion, just like on the command line. That helps you avoid spelling errors in spelling someone's nickname.
<qgil> BPositive, https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Mentorship_programs/Application_template is th structure we propose, and following helps us evaluation (and we believe helps you writing a better proposal). Then you can add and adapt at will.
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, about mandatory merge...
<sumanah> I think BPositive has used the template and *added* more information to it, so I think it is good
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, we want to see code being merged, not before the end of the program: every week
<andre__> aalekhN1: Furthermore, I recommend slightly more specific questions if that's possible, as it can be hard to answer an open question like "give me advice". Just saying :)
<sumanah> BPositive: "After July 7, I might have reduced working hours, as I will be moving to a new city. " - it would be good if you could predict specifics, like, reduced to 30 hours/week?
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, when looking at the GSoC that worked and the ones that didn' t work, one clear pattern is the timing of code merges
<BPositive> sumanah, Definitely, will do that soon
<aalekhN1> thnku qgil,andre_,sumanah,BPostive ,great help.and Emufarmers can you please review the proposal https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:AalekhN/GSoC_proposal_2014
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, now, mergin... where? This depends on the projects, and in how good your code is, how happy is your mentors of pushing fresh code
<sumanah> Thanks BPositive and good luck - I think you're on the right track with a proposal that detailed. :) You can see https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Jarry1250/GSoC_2012_application for another example if you want :)
<andre__> aalekhN1: which specific feedback do you look for?
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, it might mean merged to an experimental branch exclusively for your project, it might mean merged in the master branch, and deployed in all Wikimedia servers.  :)
<pawan_seerwani> qgil: I have recently started on wikimedia, and working on bugs, but none of them have been merged yet..
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, what we all want to see is code compiling and running
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, ... and deployed in a way that others can easily test e.g. in Wikimedia Labs
<BPositive> sumanah, Thanks for the proposal link, will have a look at it and improve mine accordingly
<kart_> or even as Beta Features :)
<aalekhN1> specifically ,i want to discuss the 4 ideas that i posted in proposal page, whether they satisfy the goal of the project
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, well, that' s fine! Add the links to the bug reports you have been working on in your proposal and in the microtasks columns
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, we will not blame you for not getting your microtasks merged now
<andre__> pawan_seerwani: Unfortunately reviewing patches can sometimes take a while... I hope it's not too demotivating :-/
<pawan_seerwani> qgil: Thanks. I have already done that :-)
<qgil> pawan_seerwani, (but your mentors should help merging or poking the right people, since they are the first ones interested in knowing how good are you)
<pawan_seerwani> andre__: Its alright
<pawan_seerwani> qgil: Alright, I have started conversing to them
<pawan_seerwani> *with them
<qgil> I encourage you to check the projects of OPW round 7 (a round that ended YESTERDAY)
<andre__> aalekhN1: so I recommend ping Emufarmers again (listed as potential mentor) and have specific questions ready. "Is this satisfying?" to me still feels rather vague.
<andre__> aalekhN1, If you have specific implementation questions or things that you are not sure about, you might want to reflect on these questions a bit and bring them up.
<pawan_seerwani> My GSoc proposal : https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Pawanseerwani_1/GSoC_proposal
<sumanah> aalekhN1: I recommend that you read http://catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html "how to ask questions the smart way"
<qgil> They have got as far as someone could get in terms of completion and deployment
<pawan_seerwani> Comments & suggestions are welcome
<qgil> They have set a new record. This is the benchmark for you now.  :)
<jlschatz> qgil: sorry if this is dense, but above when you said to talk with potential mentors on a wiki or on the bug list, do you mean directly on the bug list or? I've been emailing (smh)
<sumanah> aalekhN1: When you are learning how to contribute in open source, you're going to find that people give you links to pages that answer your questions. Here's how that usually goes:
<qgil> jlschatz, not dense, it's the right question to ask!
<sumanah> 1.     you ask a question
<sumanah> 2.    someone directs you to a document
<sumanah> 3.    you go read that document, try to use it to answer your question
<sumanah> 4.    you find you are confused about a new thing
<sumanah> 5.    you ask another question
<sumanah> 6.    now that you have shown that you have the ability to read, think, and learn new things, someone has a longer talk with you to answer your new specific question
<sumanah> 7.    you and the other person collaborate to improve the document that you read in step 3 :-)
<sumanah> aalekhN1: This helps us make a balance between person-to-person discussion and documentation that everyone can read, so we save time answering common questions but also get everyone the personal help they need.
<qgil> jlschatz, if the topic of discussion is your proposal, then the right place is the discussion page of your proposal
<andre__> jlschatz: if your questions are directly related to the bug, they can be comments on the bug, so many people can help you instead of just the people that you emailed
<jlschatz> qgil: how does the potential mentor know to look at the proposal page?
<qgil> jlschatz, there is always a mailing list, and IRC channel, a bug report, and at some point a Gerrit change where the conversation is totally on topic. Have it there, instead of private emails.
<qgil> jlschatz, only when you are discussing private topics (whatever they are) use private emails, etc
<jlschatz> andre: got it - I'm adding a link to my proposal in the bug list comments
<sumanah> aalekhN1: I'm telling you this because I'm not sure you're really understanding why we are telling you to read the pages that we give you links to.
<jlschatz> qgil: to preserve the convo, is it advisable to post the email chain somewhere?
<qgil> jlschatz, yes, good point. You can ping users in MediaWiki lie this: {{u|Qgil}}. For instance: Hi, {{u|Qgil}}, please check the changes I have done based on your feedback.
<jlschatz> qgil: so cool! I didn't know about that feature.
<BPositive> qgil, sumanah : My next question: While submitting the proposal, the form has a "Content" field? Do I simply copy-paste the content on my proposal page as it is (taking care of the formatting, ofcourse)?
<qgil> jlschatz, {{u|USERNAME}} means in most cases that USERNAME will get an email notification, in addition to a very visible web notification in mediawiki.org
<qgil> BPositive, the template offered is MediaWiki friendly
<qgil> BPositive, you can start just pasting the template, click save, and start editing from there.
<sumanah> BPositive: you mean, while submitting the proposal *in Melange*?
<aalekhN1> sumanah,:p,i am working on improving these given points too.Going through every of your links andtrying to read as much article i can get about Open Source communication.
<hardikj> qgil, I think he is taking about melange submissions
<BPositive> sumanah, yes in "Melange"
<qgil> Ah, In that case don' t worry: we look at the wiki page first. The proposal in Melange has to be in Melange to fulfill Google' srequirements
<andre__> aalekhN1: It's not only open source communication. :) It's generally helpful for effective communication...
<qgil> BPositive, so, in practice: create proposals in mediawiki.org and Melange, so we see you coming and we know you are serious.  :)
<qgil> Then, focus on the draft in mediawiki.org
<qgil> Then, once you are happy about the mediawiki.org draft and it is stable, paste the last version to Melange. 
<qgil> With this you're good.
<qgil> When it comes to the evaluation, we will check the mediawiki.org page systematically
<sumanah> Some advice I want to give people! OPW & GSoC both.
<qgil> Also important, because this is not university and this is not an assignment, you can gt help from other people in your proposal, from correcting typos, formatting, or deeper problems
<BPositive> qgil, That sound's good. And, in *Melange*, the form has "Additional Info URL" field. How about the mediawiki.org proposal going there? Is that fine?
<sumanah> 1) http://en.flossmanuals.net/GSoCStudentGuide/ is pretty helpful. It has a lot of tips.
<qgil> This is not about your mom doing all the homework fotr you.  :)  
<qgil> BPositive, (yes)
<qgil> sorry sumanah , go ahead
<sumanah> 2) There's a bunch of advice at http://open-advice.org/ - "what I wish I'd known when I got into open source" - that you might also like, if you are new. Like the GSoC student manual, it is not just about Wikimedia
<sumanah> 3) Reminder that OPW is for trans and cis women and genderqueer/genderfluid people, in case that makes you think "oh I should tell [person] about OPW!"
<jlschatz> sumanah: would the dual-post process be similar btwn GSoc and OPW? Take the mediawiki.org proposal(s?) and link to the internship application site?
<sumanah> 4) Reminder that people are also eligible for GSoC if they are grad students, or if they've just gotten admitted to college or are about to graduate (see https://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/document/show/gsoc_program/google/gsoc2013/help_page#2._Whos_eligible_to_participate_as_a ) in case that reminds you to tell a friend about it
<sumanah> And 5) about mailing lists, IRC, and wiki
<sumanah> We talk in different places when we want to have different kinds of conversations. Each open source community has a mailing list, a wiki, and an IRC channel.... a platform for discussion, storage for documentation and real-time communication.
<sumanah> An IRC channel is a constant waterfall of conversation and you aren't expected to be there all the time or catch everything. A mailing list is more like a slow-moving river, and a wiki changes slower, like a marsh.
<sumanah> jlschatz: qgil would know more about that, as OPW org admin
<qgil> sumanah, your "generic"  URLs are so good that I'm learning with them as much as a Google Code-in student  :)  Please post them somewhere visible in the GSoC / OPW pages (maybe in another template reused by both pages?)
<sumanah> qgil: Good idea. I do fear making a GIANT WALL OF TEXT though.
<andre__> BE BOLD! ;)
* arrbee likes the waterbody analogy :)
<jlschatz> sumanah: if it's filled with the advice you're giving us, I don't think anyone will mind!!  Good stuff! :D
<qgil> jlschatz, the OPW submissions are sent via email. I don' t know the OPW admins, but we are fine with an email containing your basic infor, a summary of the project, and a URL to the wiki page for the details
<qgil> jlschatz, meaning, an email that contains enough information to get an idea, but relying on he full proposal in a wiki page
<jlschatz> qgil: thank you.
<qgil> sumanah, so a giant wall of text in a transcluded page. We can always remove the line.  ;)
<qgil> Five minytes to go. Last questions here?
<aalekhN1> pginer,Emufarmers:can we use image rotation based captcha mentioned in point 3 in https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:AalekhN/GSoC_proposal_2014 for Multilingual, usable and effective Captchas ,although they are not useful for visually challenged users but effective enough as a captcha system.
* arrbee has an announcement when the questions are done - qgil 
<jlschatz> qgil: I've been eying two projects - one is a stretch for my skill set. Could I submit links to both proposals on one application? They're both within mediawiki.org, diff branches
<qgil> (you can always keep asking in #wikimeia-dev, wikitech-l or the GSoC 2014 / OPW Round 8 discussion pages)
<qgil> jlschatz, draft soon, edit often, call for attention. Once you have mentors they will recommend how to follow next.
<qgil> arrbee, please  :)
<arrbee> qgil: Thanks
<arrbee> At the Language Engineering office hour tomorrow we are going to have an open house for ~30 mins about the internationalization projects listed for this year.
<jlschatz> qgil: :) Thanks
<arrbee> We look forward to questions about the bigger projects behind whats listed and what the students can expect to work with
<pginer> aalekhN1: I would rather prefer captcha designs that just involves simple interactions (just taping instead of dragging) and do not rely on typing or reading text/numbers.
<arrbee> Its at 1700 UTC on this channel i.e. #wikimedia-office
<qgil> arrbee, good! Feel free editing the GSoC OPW pages with this info (where the announcement of this IRC meeting is placed), and also replying to my email at wikitech-l
<jlschatz> Thanks to all the mentors, too!  You are all so busy and still take the time for this. We really appreciate it!!
<arrbee> qgil: Thats all. :)
<arrbee> qgil: Shall do. Thanks.
<puntonim_> Ok thanks guys
<qgil> jlschatz, +1 +2
<zaynetro> If I am proposing my own idea project, how could I get mentors?
<aalekhN1> pginer:for this we can use point 1,2 mentioned in proposal.
<qgil> zaynetro,  draft soon, edit often, call for attention. :)
<qgil> zaynetro, and do it fast, because it is starting to be too late for this. It depends in how fitting is your proposal to the current needs of the project
<qgil> Alright, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS PRODUCTIVE MEETING!