Markos Chandras | 15 Jul 11:39 2012

Re: Recruitment process is moving back to quizzes

On 07/15/2012 06:15 AM, Ben de Groot wrote:
> 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?

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.


Markos Chandras / Gentoo Linux Developer / Key ID: B4AFF2C2