Notes from Ben's "contribute to ghc" discussion

Michael Sloan mgsloan at
Sun Sep 25 19:57:13 UTC 2016

Ideally, sure, having Mozilla backing would be great and thoroughly

I understand that change takes effort.  I think the core problem is
participant psychology.  How do we encourage people to take ownership for
these problems?  Perhaps more importantly, how does power get delegated
such that things get done by new enthusiastic contributors?

I am not very involved in GHC development (yet!  we'll see - I've got a lot
to do elsewhere), so I don't have a very concrete proposal.  To me, seems
imminently reasonable to directly emulate the approach of similar
opensource projects,which have healthy, inspiring participation.  I am not
saying that GHC dev is sickly - we all appreciate the massive amount of
effort you guys undertake on a regular basis.  I am saying that we should
strive to reduce participation friction and lower the barrier to entry.

Lowering the barrier to entry is not trivial, it can also be accompanied by
a reduction in quality.  However, I think in the long run having many more
contributors, many more eyes on the code, will be a net boon, even if
individual contribution quality is initially lower than the current high
bar of excellence.

Directly emulating projects like Rust can cut through the indecision and
give a direct way to reuse the efforts that community has already
undertaken to solve these systemic issues.

On the code review side of things, I have my preferences (github), due to
its popularity and my personal familiarity with it, but I also understand
that there is a lot of momentum and expertise around phabricator.  If we
can knock down these barriers without a herculean effort, why not give it a

-Michael Sloan

On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 6:56 PM, Brandon Allbery <allbery.b at
<javascript:;>> wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 9:44 PM, Michael Sloan <mgsloan at
<javascript:;>> wrote:
>> It is irrelevant why Rust has an advantage. Lets please emulate their
>> successful strategies instead of in-fighting.
> Does that include having Mozilla Corp. backing them? What is your
> for this?
> I understand that you think this is an important cause for the dearth of
> contributors --- I've watched enough would-be contributors bounce off the
> code base (long before even considering the tooling) and give up to have
> major doubts, as underlined by Richard's recent message --- but throwing
> everything out and building a new infrastructure is not something that
> happens by itself. It needs *people* and it needs *time*. And it's harder
> (and needs more people and more time) when you have a couple decades'
> of history (which Rust did not). If you have a solution to this problem,
> sure people would like to hear it.
> --
> brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine
> allbery.b at <javascript:;>
ballbery at <javascript:;>
> unix, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure, xmonad
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