[kde-doc-english] KDE Janitors (QA?) Proposal

Waldo Bastian bastian at kde.org
Sat Dec 20 13:38:43 GMT 2003

Hash: SHA1

On Sat December 20 2003 12:36, Philip Rodrigues wrote:
> On the other hand, there are a few issues with the proposal that need
> clarification, or discussion:
> 1. Are there enough people who have the necessary skills to perform tasks
> like this? You suggest programming, bug management, documentation, UI,
> artwork and communication as tasks which would be overseen by the Janitors.
> This is a very wide range of skills :-)
> 2. Would the aims of coordination between different teams be more easily
> achieved by formalising (slightly) the role of application maintainer? Or,
> to put the point in a slightly different way, would the Janitors just end
> up being the current application maintainers, since they already know the
> application? If this happens, (as seems likely?), then it will go against
> the idea of involving new people.

I think the most important skill a Janitor must have is communications skills. 
You can know a lot about an application without needing to know how to write 
code, you can do a lot of bug management without needing to know how to debug 
the actual problem, you can make useful suggestions for icons without 
actually being able to draw.

KDE is a very large project, as a developer it is impossible to be subscribed 
and follow all mailinglists. A janitor can play an important role here by 
shielding developers, bug fixers and artists from a lot of the noise on many 
of the mailinglists and feeding these people the useful bits of information. 

Take for example a mailinglist such as kde at kde.org. A lot of questions about a 
specific application could be easily answered by the janitor for that 
application. When it becomes clear that an application has a bug or an 
important missing feature, the janitor can then file a bugreport on 
bugs.kde.org and raise its priority. The developer could pay extra extension 
to such bugreports because (s)he knows that it is a real issue and that the 
janitor has already made sure that all relevant information is available.

Ideally, a Janitor would be in an excellent position to write documentation 
for the application or, lacking writing skills, assist a documentation 
writer. A Janitor would also be in a great position to maintain a FAQ.

The focus on a single application is crucial here, because maintaining a FAQ 
for all of KDE does not seem to work very well, probably because it is just 
too much work. By limiting the focus on a single application, chances of 
success become much greater.

A critical success factor for this all is the ability of the Janitor to work 
together with the maintainer/developers of the application, as already 
mentioned in the paper by Carlos, the Janitor must be able to make the work 
of the developers/doc-writers/debuggers/artists more pleasant, otherwise it 
will not work.

Another critical success factor might be the name ;-) People might not be 
lining up to become "Janitor" :-)

I think the suggestion to start with a pilot is very good. We can talk about 
this stuff for ages but without any real experiences most of it will just be 

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bastian at kde.org -=|[ KDE: K Desktop for the Enterprise ]|=- bastian at suse.com
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