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Old 07-14-2012, 09:32 AM
Markos Chandras
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

Dear Gentoo Community,

If you are not a recruit, mentor, or wannabe mentor you may stop
reading now.

We (recruiters) decided to revert back to the quizzes for the
recruitment process. The web application does not work as we expected.
There are a few open bugs, nobody is working on improving this
application and it's been quite a bit of pain to use it during the
(long) recruitment process. We understand that quizzes is not an ideal
way to "hire" people either, but they worked ok for all these years
and it is the only alternative we have at the moment. Hopefully, we
will manage to improve the web application on a future GSOC project.

If you have already submitted your answers on the web application,
that is fine. However, I would strongly advise future recruits to
complete the quizzes instead. If you don't, we will ask you to do so
when we pick you up. Obviously, this will lead to extra delay and
frustration.

This does not apply to Arch Testers. The recruitment process for Arch
Testers will still be through the web application

- --
Regards,
Markos Chandras / Gentoo Linux Developer / Key ID: B4AFF2C2

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:46 PM
Peter Stuge
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

Hi,

Markos Chandras wrote:
> We (recruiters) decided to revert back to the quizzes for the
> recruitment process. The web application does not work as we expected.

I've been considering recruitment for many years and I made my first
effort to prepare for recruitment about two years ago, but I haven't
finished the quizzes yet. I'm very happy to learn that a web
application did not work out (sans the wasted effort of course). I
don't know what a web app could bring that the quiz format can't.


> understand that quizzes is not an ideal way to "hire" people
> either, but they worked ok for all these years

I don't know.. Subjectively I don't think they work ok at all, since
I still haven't finished them even after many years.

But it's totally possible that they actually *do* work ok, and that
I really absolutely *must* know everything they ask about before
starting recruitment. Not sure.


> and it is the only alternative we have at the moment.

Thinking outside of the quiz^Wbox and getting to know people is a
good alternative. It takes time too of course, but no quiz or web
app can replace it.


//Peter
 
Old 07-15-2012, 05:15 AM
Ben de Groot
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On 15 July 2012 04:46, Peter Stuge <peter@stuge.se> wrote:
> Markos Chandras wrote:
>> understand that quizzes is not an ideal way to "hire" people
>> either, but they worked ok for all these years
>
> I don't know.. Subjectively I don't think they work ok at all, since
> I still haven't finished them even after many years.

I agree that they don't work "ok" -- it only seems that way because
people are still joining us.

The first time I did the quizzes, it took me 9 months. After having
been away for a couple of years, I recently returned as Gentoo
dev, and the second time I did the quizzes it took me 3 months.
I've seen others take a long time doing them as well. Davide (pesa),
one of our most valued contributors in the Qt team, took close
to two years I think.

I think this way we lose much valuable developer time. These
people could have had commit access and done much
valuable work so much earlier, if there wasn't this obstacle
of the quizzes...

We should think about what kind of people we want to attract
as future Gentoo contributors, and what are the best ways of
introducing them to the tasks they would need to perform, and
the knowledge they would need to have.

I'm happy to see that some effort was made, and we now know
that the web app is not working. What other ways can we think
of that might improve the recruitment process?

> But it's totally possible that they actually *do* work ok, and that
> I really absolutely *must* know everything they ask about before
> starting recruitment. Not sure.

The topics touched in the quizzes are things that a Gentoo
developer should know. I just don't think the way they work is
conducive to a good learning experience for most people.

>> and it is the only alternative we have at the moment.
>
> Thinking outside of the quiz^Wbox and getting to know people is a
> good alternative. It takes time too of course, but no quiz or web
> app can replace it.

What I noticed in my own experience as lead of our Qt team,
is that getting people started on the real work, being part of the
developer community and process, is a good way to introduce
them to how we do things in Gentoo. The Qt team has its official
overlay, and it is easy for us to give new contributors access to
it. That way they can learn to write ebuilds and eclasses, and
how to improve them, commit them, and get used to a good
workflow. Hanging out in the IRC channel and taking part in
discussions is an invaluable part of this as well.

I'm sure a lot of mentors do things in similar ways. And maybe
others have things to add to this.

We could have a portal page (e.g. on the wiki) with links to
all the relevant documentation for new developers
(dev handbook, devmanual, foundation info, gleps, etc)
that they should have knowledge of. Then recruits can read
these while they are doing work with their mentor, in an
overlay (either an official team overlay, or betagarden).

We could also develop a collection of tasks that a mentor
can choose from to give their recruits to do. Hopefully
this way we can train people in a more organic way.

Then when the mentor deems a recruit ready, they could
have an interview with one of the recruiters, and get
commit access to the official tree as usual.

Anyway, these are some of my ideas. What do you think?
--
Cheers,

Ben | yngwin
Gentoo developer
Gentoo Qt project lead, Gentoo Wiki admin
 
Old 07-15-2012, 09:39 AM
Markos Chandras
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

On 07/15/2012 06:15 AM, Ben de Groot wrote:
> On 15 July 2012 04:46, Peter Stuge <peter@stuge.se> wrote:
>> Markos Chandras wrote:
>>> understand that quizzes is not an ideal way to "hire" people
>>> either, but they worked ok for all these years
>>
>> I don't know.. Subjectively I don't think they work ok at all,
>> since I still haven't finished them even after many years.
>
> I agree that they don't work "ok" -- it only seems that way because
> people are still joining us.
>
> The first time I did the quizzes, it took me 9 months. After having
> been away for a couple of years, I recently returned as Gentoo dev,
> and the second time I did the quizzes it took me 3 months. I've
> seen others take a long time doing them as well. Davide (pesa), one
> of our most valued contributors in the Qt team, took close to two
> years I think.
>
> I think this way we lose much valuable developer time. These
> people could have had commit access and done much valuable work so
> much earlier, if there wasn't this obstacle of the quizzes...
>
> We should think about what kind of people we want to attract as
> future Gentoo contributors, and what are the best ways of
> introducing them to the tasks they would need to perform, and the
> knowledge they would need to have.
>
> I'm happy to see that some effort was made, and we now know that
> the web app is not working. What other ways can we think of that
> might improve the recruitment process?
>
>> But it's totally possible that they actually *do* work ok, and
>> that I really absolutely *must* know everything they ask about
>> before starting recruitment. Not sure.
>
> The topics touched in the quizzes are things that a Gentoo
> developer should know. I just don't think the way they work is
> conducive to a good learning experience for most people.
>
>>> and it is the only alternative we have at the moment.
>>
>> Thinking outside of the quiz^Wbox and getting to know people is a
>> good alternative. It takes time too of course, but no quiz or web
>> app can replace it.
>
> What I noticed in my own experience as lead of our Qt team, is
> that getting people started on the real work, being part of the
> developer community and process, is a good way to introduce them
> to how we do things in Gentoo. The Qt team has its official
> overlay, and it is easy for us to give new contributors access to
> it. That way they can learn to write ebuilds and eclasses, and how
> to improve them, commit them, and get used to a good workflow.
> Hanging out in the IRC channel and taking part in discussions is
> an invaluable part of this as well.
>
> I'm sure a lot of mentors do things in similar ways. And maybe
> others have things to add to this.
>
> We could have a portal page (e.g. on the wiki) with links to all
> the relevant documentation for new developers (dev handbook,
> devmanual, foundation info, gleps, etc) that they should have
> knowledge of. Then recruits can read these while they are doing
> work with their mentor, in an overlay (either an official team
> overlay, or betagarden).
>
> We could also develop a collection of tasks that a mentor can
> choose from to give their recruits to do. Hopefully this way we
> can train people in a more organic way.
>
> Then when the mentor deems a recruit ready, they could have an
> interview with one of the recruiters, and get commit access to the
> official tree as usual.
>
> Anyway, these are some of my ideas. What do you think?
>
Hi,

Thank you for the feedback. Let me clarify a few bits though.
In my opinion, the quizzes contain all the knowledge that is required
for someone to start developing for Gentoo. Yes, maybe it requires too
much knowledge but this is because we are not sure that the mentors
have done their work properly so we don't have to go over the same
steps again during the recruitment process. Like you said, working in
an overlay is a very important part of the process but I don't think
every mentor out there does that for his recruits. So we can't rely on
that. On the other hand, after having some experience as recruiter,
and looking at the status of each recruit when I pick them up, I can
say which mentors are doing their work properly and who don't. But
this would require constant mentor evaluation which adds an extra
overhead in the process.
Also the recruitment team is (as always) understaffed, meaning it is
highly unlikely for us to spend energy and time to come up with a new
recruitment process whilst trying to keep the recruitment queue short.
However, I can counter-propose the following:

1) Have a chat with the mentor. Find out what he did with his recruit,
and maybe we can be more relaxed during the quiz review process if the
recruit has enough experience to join the developer community. The
recruiter could side-step part of the quizzes and ask different
questions based on recruits background and interests. This however,
would still require quiz completion (but maybe a loose one).

2) I believe wiki is a great resource for recruitment. We can create a
Recruitment page listing all the relevant links, info etc that a
wannabe developer will need during his recruitment process and his
first few weeks of development. However, we need to be careful to not
duplicate contents from handbook or devmanual.

- --
Regards,
Markos Chandras / Gentoo Linux Developer / Key ID: B4AFF2C2


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Old 07-15-2012, 10:11 AM
Peter Stuge
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

(Please consider quoting only what is relevant. Thanks!)

Markos Chandras wrote:
> In my opinion, the quizzes contain all the knowledge that is
> required for someone to start developing for Gentoo. Yes, maybe
> it requires too much knowledge

So which is it? "All that is required" or "too much?"


Also, what exactly do you refer to by "Gentoo?" The distribution
or the foundation?

I've been managing my own overlay and a few private ones for a few
years now, all while using catalyst to build more or less customized
Linux systems for me and for others.

I dive into bugzilla when a bug bites, and I'll usually generate a
patch.

Am I actually developing for Gentoo Linux already?


//Peter
 
Old 07-15-2012, 10:15 AM
Theo Chatzimichos
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On Saturday 14 of July 2012 10:32:04 Markos Chandras wrote:
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA512
>
> Dear Gentoo Community,
>
> If you are not a recruit, mentor, or wannabe mentor you may stop
> reading now.
>
> We (recruiters) decided to revert back to the quizzes for the
> recruitment process. The web application does not work as we expected.
> There are a few open bugs, nobody is working on improving this
> application and it's been quite a bit of pain to use it during the
> (long) recruitment process. We understand that quizzes is not an ideal
> way to "hire" people either, but they worked ok for all these years
> and it is the only alternative we have at the moment. Hopefully, we
> will manage to improve the web application on a future GSOC project.
>
> If you have already submitted your answers on the web application,
> that is fine. However, I would strongly advise future recruits to
> complete the quizzes instead. If you don't, we will ask you to do so
> when we pick you up. Obviously, this will lead to extra delay and
> frustration.
>
> This does not apply to Arch Testers. The recruitment process for Arch
> Testers will still be through the web application

Hello,

for the past two years I am constantly mentoring two-three people at the same
time at least. Here is my feedback about the webapp:
1) It needs many UI improvements. But every thing that needs improvement
(along with possible solutions) is already reported in bugzilla
2) Despite its UI being not good, the webapp has proven a way better medium
for mentor-mentee communication. With the quizes as text files I had to deal
with random text files spread around (and try to find the most recent one), with
discussion being split in IRC, various mails etc. Now with the webapp I can
easily leave my comment there (which is better as there is more async
communication now), I have consistent history of our discussion, and I have
all the answers of all my mentees in one page, which is awesome because I can
compare answers and say quickly to my mentee what he forgot to write down.
With that being said, I am proposing the following:
1) I'll announce a call for volunteers, we really need a web designer on the
project.
2) Please keep the questions in sync between the text quizes and the webapp.
I'll continue to use the webapp to communicate with my mentees (as it is doing
more good than harm), and will write a script to extract the answers in the
text files so you can be happy as well.

Theo
 
Old 07-15-2012, 11:56 AM
Ciaran McCreesh
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On Sun, 15 Jul 2012 13:15:26 +0800
Ben de Groot <yngwin@gentoo.org> wrote:
> The first time I did the quizzes, it took me 9 months. After having
> been away for a couple of years, I recently returned as Gentoo
> dev, and the second time I did the quizzes it took me 3 months.
> I've seen others take a long time doing them as well. Davide (pesa),
> one of our most valued contributors in the Qt team, took close
> to two years I think.

If it's taking you that long, you're doing something wrong... The
quizzes are pretty easy, and only test the bare minimum of what you
should know. They shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours.

--
Ciaran McCreesh
 
Old 07-15-2012, 01:21 PM
Rich Freeman
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 6:11 AM, Peter Stuge <peter@stuge.se> wrote:
> I've been managing my own overlay and a few private ones for a few
> years now, all while using catalyst to build more or less customized
> Linux systems for me and for others.
>
> I dive into bugzilla when a bug bites, and I'll usually generate a
> patch.
>
> Am I actually developing for Gentoo Linux already?

I think most would say yes - you just don't have official recognition,
or commit access.

I think that this would be a benefit of moving to git - anything which
reduces the need to have commit access but do useful work is a good
thing in my mind. Tools like gerrit and github will also facilitate
this.

That said, none of this will eliminate the need to have more people
merging commits. Right now our model is that the dev who merges the
patch is the one to blame when things go wrong. While that works
better than a "merge whatever you want - blame the contributor" model,
there does need to be some balance. There are tons of patches in
bugzilla for stuff that isn't well-maintained, and perhaps a little
more freedom to improve packages without having to take full
responsibility for them would be a good thing. The all-or-nothing
model too often turns out to be nothing.

Rich
 
Old 07-15-2012, 01:27 PM
Rich Freeman
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 7:56 AM, Ciaran McCreesh
<ciaran.mccreesh@googlemail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 15 Jul 2012 13:15:26 +0800
> Ben de Groot <yngwin@gentoo.org> wrote:
>> The first time I did the quizzes, it took me 9 months. After having
>> been away for a couple of years, I recently returned as Gentoo
>> dev, and the second time I did the quizzes it took me 3 months.
>> I've seen others take a long time doing them as well. Davide (pesa),
>> one of our most valued contributors in the Qt team, took close
>> to two years I think.
>
> If it's taking you that long, you're doing something wrong... The
> quizzes are pretty easy, and only test the bare minimum of what you
> should know. They shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours.

I'd be interested in why it was taking so long as well. I took the
quizzes first when becoming an AT, and later when becoming a dev. The
level of rigor was much higher of course when becoming a dev - which
was appropriate. I did struggle because policies were not always
spelled out, so many of the questions took interaction with my mentor
to resolve. Sometimes the indirectness of some of the questions was
frustrating, but it didn't take more than maybe 8 hours in total with
revisions/etc. I'd give it my best shot, my mentor would review and
offer hints/suggestions, and we'd iterate. I learned quite a bit in
the process.

Random thought here - it probably wouldn't hurt to have some kind of
ebuild tutorial that works through a few examples to explain how
ebuilds work, and demonstrate good technique. That could be useful
not just for developer candidates, but for the community in general.
Our ebuild docs aren't bad at all actually, but they're mainly in the
form of reference now, and something that was more oriented to
teaching might be useful. Maybe we need something that starts with
"hello world" and goes from there...

Rich
 
Old 07-15-2012, 01:45 PM
Ben de Groot
 
Default Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On 15 July 2012 21:27, Rich Freeman <rich0@gentoo.org> wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 7:56 AM, Ciaran McCreesh
> <ciaran.mccreesh@googlemail.com> wrote:
>> On Sun, 15 Jul 2012 13:15:26 +0800
>> Ben de Groot <yngwin@gentoo.org> wrote:
>>> The first time I did the quizzes, it took me 9 months. After having
>>> been away for a couple of years, I recently returned as Gentoo
>>> dev, and the second time I did the quizzes it took me 3 months.
>>> I've seen others take a long time doing them as well. Davide (pesa),
>>> one of our most valued contributors in the Qt team, took close
>>> to two years I think.
>>
>> If it's taking you that long, you're doing something wrong... The
>> quizzes are pretty easy, and only test the bare minimum of what you
>> should know. They shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours.
>
> I'd be interested in why it was taking so long as well. I took the
> quizzes first when becoming an AT, and later when becoming a dev. The
> level of rigor was much higher of course when becoming a dev - which
> was appropriate. I did struggle because policies were not always
> spelled out, so many of the questions took interaction with my mentor
> to resolve. Sometimes the indirectness of some of the questions was
> frustrating, but it didn't take more than maybe 8 hours in total with
> revisions/etc.

It's not that it takes all that much time. It can be done in say one or two
workdays. But you need to set aside a block of time (and usually two,
one for each of the quizzes, or more if you need to break it up or
iterate over it after feedback) in which you can be relatively
distraction-free and well concentrated. You need to make sure
to check the documentation to find the wanted answers, and word
your answers carefully to be precise and cover all angles.

Since it is a low-urgency and low-fun task, most of us will end up
doing other things on our to-do list, or simply being distracted.
It then gets postponed again and again and again.

--
Cheers,

Ben | yngwin
Gentoo developer
Gentoo Qt project lead, Gentoo Wiki admin
 

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