Proposed changes to merge request workflow

Ben Gamari ben at
Tue Oct 8 18:16:59 UTC 2019

tl;dr. I would like feedback on a few proposed changes [1] to our merge
       request workflow.

Hello everyone,

Over the past six months I have been monitoring the operation of our
merge request workflow, which arose rather organically in the wake of
the initial move to GitLab. While it works reasonably well, there is
clearly room for improvement:

  * we have no formal way to track the status of in-flight merge
    requests (e.g. for authors to mark an MR as ready for review or
    reviewers to mark work as ready for merge)

  * merge requests still at times languish without review

  * the backport protocol is somewhat error prone and requires a great
    deal of attention to ensure that patches don't slip through the

  * there is no technical mechanism to prevent that under-reviewed
    patches from being merged (either intentionally or otherwise) to

To address this I propose [1] a few changes to our workflow:

  1. Define explicit phases of the merge request lifecycle,
     systematically identified with labels. This will help to make it
     clear who is responsible for a merge request at every stage of its

  2. Make it clear that it is the contributor's responsibility to
     identify reviewers for their merge requests.

  3. Institute a final pre-merge sanity check to ensure that
     patches are adequately reviewed, documented, tested, and have had
     their ticket and MR metadata updated.

Note that this is merely a proposal; I am actively seeking input from
the developer community. Do let me know what you think.


- Ben

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