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Re: The module authors pledge

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Yanick Champoux
November 10, 2011 09:46
Re: The module authors pledge
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On 11-11-08 11:22 AM, Neil Bowers wrote:
> To make life easier for the perl modules cabal, how about a voluntary
> pledge

	Nice idea. I like.

I've been mulling about the same problem in my corner, so here are my 2 
canadian cents' worth on the topic:

As I see it, there are two aspects to the problem of orphaned modules.

1. Maintainer has retired / is not interested anymore / has been 
abducted by aliens / etc.

Basically, that's the common case where no-one is answering the phone 
anymore.  To solve this, we need some kind of dead man's switch.

The proposed pledge is one way of doing it.  In my afore-mentioned 
corner, I was thinking of something quite similar where distributions 
would be tagged as orphaned after one year of inactivity, where activity 
is defined as (a) release a new version or (b) push a "yeah, yeah, I'm 
still here and interested" button somewhere.  To be successful, such a 
scheme should be careful to let maintainers know (in a non-spammy way) 
in advance that their time is running out, to prevent nasty surprises, 
and it should be easy and pain-free, even for the maintainers with lots 
of distributions.

2. Maintainer wants help

The other case is when a maintainer is still around, but either doesn't 
want to maintain a distribution anymore, or wouldn't mind a wee bit of 
help.  There are been more than a few cases where submitting a patch 
resulted in the exchange:

	maintainer: Thanks! Hey, I don't really use that module
	anymore. Want to be the new maintainer?

	me: uh, sure.

	maintainer: Tag! You're it!

which, mind you, is awesome. But it would be even awesomer to make the 
process a little more proactive and help maintainers to get 
replacements. IIRC, PAUSE has an 'orphaned' status for modules, so maybe 
the solution could be built on that, but made more public.

Maybe the solution to (1) and (2) lies with a site that would be the 
flip side of ( ? :-) ), where modules up for 
adoption are listed?  But Neil brought the crucial point (I think), that 
no matter what, the passing of maintainership should never be done 
totally automatically, but should always at least get the blessing of 
the gardians of or the ex-maintainer herself. Just, 
y'know, as human sanity check.

Anyway, I could ramble some more, but I better stop before I put 
everyone to sleep.


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