Our speed reviewing patches is not impressive, and this is a problem difficult to solve.
In this task we discuss how to solve the problem for patches contributed by volunteers. A subset that is worth paying special attention to are developers submitting their first contribution. This is a critical area, for many reasons:
- There is only one chance to cause a good first impression. Quick reviews contribute to engagement and retention of new contributors. Unsurprisingly, being ignored during days or weeks does the contrary.
- Patches are gifts. Good teams don't ignore gifts and their donors. Note that from the point of view of the volunteer, this is a gift made to Wikimedia / MediaWiki, and your efficiency handling the gift will impact on the perception that volunteer will have about the whole project, not just your component.
- Frequently these patches are related to low priority tasks that maintainers don't have to work on. By making happy a volunteers developer, we may make happy other volunteers that reported a problem or are following its progress.
- Chances that more patches arrive after a successful first contribution are high. More work, more gifts, provided by a volunteers becoming slowly regular contributors.
What do we need?
- We need to agree on the importance of this goal as a community, having repo maintainers and WMF tech management fully on board.
- While newcomers are easy to spot by number of commits, finding volunteers among all contributors is less simple. In theory anybody without "wikimedia" in their email domain would be a volunteer, by many Wikimedia Foundation employees use non-Wikimedia email addresses in their patches.
- Ideally, patches from volunteers and new contributors would be easy to identify as they arrive and in lists.
- A team of patch triagers could watch this page or an equivalent to follow patches from new contributors, and help pinging reviewers whenever is needed.