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Re: Re: Interesting self contained task

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Rick Delaney
March 21, 2008 21:23
Re: Re: Interesting self contained task
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On Mar 17 2008, Nicholas Clark wrote:
> Well, de facto I offered one-to-one remote learning course in the Perl
> internals (the interesting self contained task) to anyone on this list who
> is interested. There are over 400 people subscribed to this list (that's
> larger than the attendance at any YAPC) and quite probably subscribers here
> are more likely to be interested in the Perl core than the average YAPC
> attendee.
> Yet no-one wants to take it up.
> Actions speak louder than works.

I understand your discouragment but I really don't think this is the
best example of lack of gung-ho-ness on anyone's part.  The original
task was to optimize length('constant') into 8.  On the whole I don't
think this is a very interesting problem since the code is pretty
uncommon and even when used it's probably only run once.

That being said, I actually coded up a solution when you first posted it
(for fun) but held it back when you said someone on IRC was working on
it.  Since I'd already had my fun, I thought it'd be nice to let the
other person have theirs too.  Then you posted your own concise solution
that I didn't find (cool, btw) and the task was finished.

You came up with some other less interesting (IMO), more complicated related
tasks and had no bites.  I don't think this qualifies as lack of
interest in general.  Also, to my recollection, there was no offer of
any one-to-one (or any other kind of) learning in the Perl internals.

> So given the current levels of enthusiasm for learning about the internals,
> I'm not convinced that spending time preparing talks for such an
> introduction is time well spent. Preparation takes many times the length of
> time of the presentation itself (talk is cheap, but talks are not), and if
> the result is zero payback - no-one starts contributing, it would be better
> to spend that time writing code.

Talks may very well not be worth the time to forget them.  But I think
using lack of response to this one task in support of the following
premise is not valid.

> People don't seem to be interested in hacking on the core.

I don't agree with this either.  I think the fact that some people are
wishing for talks means that there are some who are interested but
aren't confident in their skills. 

Maybe an offer of mentorship would have helped.  I think the
"interesting self-contained task" challenge is worth trying again.
Someone posts a task, a mentor announces their willingness to help any
takers, and those with a commit bit leave it alone until the taker
delivers a solution or the mentor declares no takers.

Maybe you're right and there will be no takers.  Maybe there would be
no mentors (I would do this, for the stuff I could).  But I think it
would be worth trying again.

I wish I had a task at hand to get the ball rolling.  Maybe some of the
SOC suggestions?

Rick Delaney

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