Requests for comment/Code review guidelines for maintenance patches

Request for comment (RFC)
Code review guidelines for maintenance patches
Component General
Creation date 2014‎-01-05
Author(s) Ori.livneh
Document status in draft

This RFC proposes that the MediaWiki developer community commit to fast-lining maintenance commits through code review. Maintenance commits are commits that improve the organization, coherence, and clarity of the code without substantially altering functionality.

Our current code review practices suck. By showing exaggerated concern for minor breakage, we are exhausting the morale and momentum of contributors. The existence of large amounts of unmaintained, half-forgotten code poses a far greater threat to code quality, system stability, and community health than some easily-fixed error in a recently-merged patch. Minor breakage is not desirable, but it is also not a significant stressor; it arguably provides an occasion for people to participate in the maintenance of the code and develop an understanding of the overall architecture's frailties.

It's more important to have someone care about a component than it is for a component to have the right architecture or to be free of minor bugs.