PRC 2016 - Second Trimester

This second semester got me modules owned by well known community members. I expected that to make my life easier, namely to prepare more relevant PRs, but unfortunately it did not work that way.

For April, I got Dist::Zilla. My PR was the documentation of 'Dist::Zilla::App::Tester', but I never got any comment:

For May, I got WWW::xkcd. For this I could get an answer about what might be a relevant PR. I added a method to fetch random comic strips. I even got some comments, and I adapted my PR. But it not got merged:

For June, I god Gedcom. This one was harder to understand and find where to do changes. I found a TODO file, and got for the simpler task (clean up Makefile.PL). I prepared the PR, and offered myself for other fixes, given the author could give me some feedback on them. Unfortunately no comment was received:

Finally, for June I got one of my own modules assigned to a PRC player. I did what I expected others would do to my PR: comment on it, or merge. Well, I commented, asking to rebase based on another branch, but I never got an answer:

I confess all this makes me sad. It gives the impression that module authors are not willing to help making their own modules better. And probably, a lot of PRC players just want to prepare a PR, with no desire on working it to fit the module/author goals.

In any case, I am waiting for my July assignment.

Note 1: I am not against any of the authors above. Really! I poked some of them (well, all of them) and i just not continued poking because I am sure they will look to the PR sooner or later. So, please, bear with my English, but this is not complaining, just a report.

Note 2: Thanks to rjbs who merged the Dist::Zilla PR.

Note 3: Thanks to Sawyer for merging WWW::xkcd PR.

Note 4: Thanks to Aristotle for bringing me a problem with how one expression is interpreted, although its direct translation for Portuguese is much more vague.


I think vmbrasseur's YAPC talk on maximizing drive-through contributions can help with accepting PRC contributions. I have one I have to help push through to completion myself.

Here's the talk video in case:

I suggest you ask on the mailing list for advice re Gedcom.

Thanks for all of your contributions. It can be a bit disheartening to see your work (seemingly) get ignored. These are all very busy authors, though, so if they don't get to stuff right away, it's not personal.

Having said that, don't be afraid to poke an author via email, Twitter etc if you don't get a response. I often don't see my GitHub notifications (not sure what's up with my email) and stuff does get past me. I have to make an effort to keep up with issues rather than count on notifications getting to me. It doesn't bother me at all if someone says "hey, did you see this thing that I did?" In fact, sometimes that's exactly what I need to get moving.

Perhaps an edit to your post is in order here, I see that one of your pull requests has been merged since you posted this. ;)

I've just merged and released a new version of WWW::xkcd with your patches. Thank you for the contribution.

I do feel like I need to offer some words of self defense. My time is very limited and I spend it on numerous projects (not including work, hobbies, and some form of life). I try to optimize it to what makes the most benefit to people and to myself. Yesterday, for example, I had spent over 5 hours to properly review emails and write a new Perl 5 Porters summary.

This means that contributions to something such as a small toy module to fetch comics I wrote at the beginning of 2012 (which as far as I can tell isn't used by *anyone*, including myself) will inevitably fall through the cracks and will go unnoticed.

It isn't that your patches required a lot of review. The interaction was simple, succinct, and it was ready to be merged quickly. The merge and release took less than 10 minutes. I honestly did not remember it, because this isn't on of my top priorities.

I apologize for how this makes you feel. I understand that. However, I believe the qualification "It seems that module authors are not willing to help making their own modules better" is unfair.

And that is why I used "it seems", because I know it is not true.

Culture gap I guess. “It seems” usually means “from what I can tell”, i.e. a position you are not necessarily sure about but which you conclude based on an observation. If you actually disagree with the impression – if you really mean something like “it gives the false impression” – then you need to explicitly say that. Otherwise most readers will misinterpret you. (I did, too.)

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About Alberto Simões

user-pic I blog about Perl. D'uh!