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Re: [HACKERS] Seeking Mentors for Funded Reviewers

From: David Fetter <david(at)fetter(dot)org>
To: "Joshua D(dot) Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com>
Cc: Robert Haas <robertmhaas(at)gmail(dot)com>,Richard Broersma <richard(dot)broersma(at)gmail(dot)com>,Simon Riggs <simon(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>,Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com>, pgsql-rrreviewers(at)postgresql(dot)org,postgres hackers <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: [HACKERS] Seeking Mentors for Funded Reviewers
Date: 2011-01-26 21:50:21
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Lists: pgsql-hackerspgsql-rrreviewers
On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 12:29:23PM -0800, Joshua D. Drake wrote:
> On Wed, 2011-01-26 at 14:15 -0500, Robert Haas wrote:
> > On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM, Richard Broersma
> > <richard(dot)broersma(at)gmail(dot)com> wrote:
> > > On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 3:12 AM, Simon Riggs <simon(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com> wrote:
> > >> You're paying the reviewers; are you paying the mentors?
> > >
> > > The answer to this question is that we can fund mentor (teacher).  However,
> > > the amount to fund a mentor would be significantly less that the amount to
> > > fund a reviewer (student).  The mentors are part of the educational process.
> > 
> > Usually, in an educational process, it's the teachers who get paid,
> > and the students who have to pay to get educated.  I realize this is
> > somewhat different because we want to encourage people to get involved
> > in the project, but it still seems weird.
> Not somewhat, completely. Most of the "teachers" we have are already
> getting paid to work on PostgreSQL. There are some exceptions of course
> but if you look at the list of people that are qualified to actually
> review code, they are getting paid *for PostgreSQL*.
> Now, that isn't to say you don't bring up a good point, you do. I think
> it may be worthwhile to find a way to also compensate mentors but as you
> say the goal here is encourage people to get involved. However there is
> the underlying goal of educating future PostgreSQL contributors, and
> let's face it --- reviewing code sucks and money is a great motivator
> (especially in today's economy or if you are a starving student).

I admire your motives, and agree with them.  We just differ on how
best to do this.

One situation I want to avoid is one where the mere offer of money,
even if money never changes hands, totally changes the situation, and
much for the worse.  I'll be happy to describe such a situation off
line if anyone's interested.  Another is a system of perverse
incentives, as others have described, and perverse incentives are
harder to avoid up front than they first appear, as money is often
itself an incentive to game systems in novel and terrible ways.

One thing I've thought of that could help and would be a good use of
money would be an extension to the pgbuildfarm code that detects and
acts on bit rot.  I don't have time to build it right now, but I'd be
happy to iron out the spec and help someone else, that person being
paid to develop it.

David Fetter <david(at)fetter(dot)org>
Phone: +1 415 235 3778  AIM: dfetter666  Yahoo!: dfetter
Skype: davidfetter      XMPP: david(dot)fetter(at)gmail(dot)com
iCal: webcal://

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