Ben de Groot | 15 Jul 07:15 2012

Re: Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On 15 July 2012 04:46, Peter Stuge <peter <at>> 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?


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