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Heads up: Online coding challenge

 

 

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erik at wikimedia

Oct 18, 2011, 5:41 PM

Post #1 of 13 (1196 views)
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Heads up: Online coding challenge

Hi folks,

we're attempting, later this week, an experiment in reaching out to
new potential developers (volunteers and paid developers alike) by
means of an online coding challenge. The general idea is that, by
posing interesting challenges, we'll be able to attract interesting
people :-). It's described a bit more here (some information is out of
date): https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Weekend_of_Code

For this purpose, Jeroen de Dauw has led implementation of the
"Contest" extension which can be used to manage different types of
contests and have a select group of judges evaluating submissions:

https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Contest

The overall project is being coordinated by Greg DeKoenigsberg,
formerly Senior Community Architect at Red Hat. If you'd like to be
involved as a judge, please let him know (greg.dekoenigsberg at gmail
dot com).

This is a first experiment and it may not work, in which case we may
never do it again. Greg will post a full announcement about it
shortly, but in the meantime, feel free to poke around the
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Weekend_of_Code pages, make edits or
suggestions, etc.

We'll run a CentralNotice to advertise the coding challenges, for
about a week at most. During the time the banner is running and for a
week or two beyond that, we may see a few more newbies on IRC and the
listservs. We'll set up some alternative communications channels for
them if the flood becomes too much, but I hope that won't happen and
we'll see some promising developers pop up in our community. Thanks
for your hospitality. :-)

All best,
Erik
--
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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erik at wikimedia

Oct 19, 2011, 7:36 PM

Post #2 of 13 (1131 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

Following up, we'd appreciate help with testing the coding challenge
workflow. This is a DRAFT ONLY -- here's the current draft workflow:

http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:ContestWelcome/Draft_October_2011_Coding_Challenge

Any data you submit through it will be lost, messaging is subject to
change, and any email address you provide may receive notices as we
test the workflow. :-)

The contest rules are just a placeholder right now; we'll finalize
them tomorrow.

You can report bugs or post comments here or on
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk:October_2011_Coding_Challenge

Thanks!
Erik

--
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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tfinc at wikimedia

Oct 20, 2011, 2:58 PM

Post #3 of 13 (1130 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

Seems like were not the only ones thinking about challenges

http://developers.slashdot.org/story/11/10/20/2025241/gnarly-programming-challenges-help-recruit-coders

--tomasz



On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 7:36 PM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> Following up, we'd appreciate help with testing the coding challenge
> workflow. This is a DRAFT ONLY -- here's the current draft workflow:
>
> http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:ContestWelcome/Draft_October_2011_Coding_Challenge
>
> Any data you submit through it will be lost, messaging is subject to
> change, and any email address you provide may receive notices as we
> test the workflow. :-)
>
> The contest rules are just a placeholder right now; we'll finalize
> them tomorrow.
>
> You can report bugs or post comments here or on
> http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk:October_2011_Coding_Challenge
>
> Thanks!
> Erik
>
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>

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erik at wikimedia

Oct 25, 2011, 1:40 AM

Post #4 of 13 (1116 views)
Permalink
Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

Quick update -- we now have more than 2,000 sign-ups. I figure that's
a good base to work with (or if it isn't, there are bigger problems),
so I've turned down the banner to about 20% and will disable it soon.
Expect the frantic sign-up rate on MW.org to drop.

You may have seen first bits of code pop up here and there; we'll next
send folks an email with some of the standard pointers, also in an
effort to re-engage people who signed up a few days ago but instantly
forgot about it. ;-) Greg's also going to send out a call for
volunteers to help with the judging process.

Erik
--
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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alolita.sharma at gmail

Oct 25, 2011, 9:28 AM

Post #5 of 13 (1111 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

Erik - thanks for the update. Exciting to see 2000+ signups.

Looking forward to seeing some good code happen in this challenge!

Alolita

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 1:40 AM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:

> Quick update -- we now have more than 2,000 sign-ups. I figure that's
> a good base to work with (or if it isn't, there are bigger problems),
> so I've turned down the banner to about 20% and will disable it soon.
> Expect the frantic sign-up rate on MW.org to drop.
>
> You may have seen first bits of code pop up here and there; we'll next
> send folks an email with some of the standard pointers, also in an
> effort to re-engage people who signed up a few days ago but instantly
> forgot about it. ;-) Greg's also going to send out a call for
> volunteers to help with the judging process.
>
> Erik
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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greg.dekoenigsberg at gmail

Oct 25, 2011, 10:04 AM

Post #6 of 13 (1119 views)
Permalink
Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

Official judging call coming soon. As you can see, we'll need all the
help we can get -- but we're going to sort out what that entails
first.

--g

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM, Alolita Sharma
<alolita.sharma [at] gmail> wrote:
> Erik - thanks for the update. Exciting to see 2000+ signups.
>
> Looking forward to seeing some good code happen in this challenge!
>
> Alolita
>
> On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 1:40 AM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:
>
>> Quick update -- we now have more than 2,000 sign-ups. I figure that's
>> a good base to work with (or if it isn't, there are bigger problems),
>> so I've turned down the banner to about 20% and will disable it soon.
>> Expect the frantic sign-up rate on MW.org to drop.
>>
>> You may have seen first bits of code pop up here and there; we'll next
>> send folks an email with some of the standard pointers, also in an
>> effort to re-engage people who signed up a few days ago but instantly
>> forgot about it. ;-)  Greg's also going to send out a call for
>> volunteers to help with the judging process.
>>
>> Erik
>> --
>> Erik Möller
>> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>>
>> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikitech-l mailing list
>> Wikitech-l [at] lists
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>

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Platonides at gmail

Oct 25, 2011, 10:40 AM

Post #7 of 13 (1112 views)
Permalink
Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

Erik Moeller wrote:
> Quick update -- we now have more than 2,000 sign-ups. I figure that's
> a good base to work with (or if it isn't, there are bigger problems),
> so I've turned down the banner to about 20% and will disable it soon.
> Expect the frantic sign-up rate on MW.org to drop.
>
> You may have seen first bits of code pop up here and there; we'll next
> send folks an email with some of the standard pointers, also in an
> effort to re-engage people who signed up a few days ago but instantly
> forgot about it. ;-) Greg's also going to send out a call for
> volunteers to help with the judging process.
>
> Erik

That's a lot! :)
I wonder how many of them will proceed to code something useful and
submit it. And how good will it be.

An issue I see with the challenge is that it encourages the cathedral
model,* so we lose the opportunity of training them as they go (eg.
point out how we do i18n).
Maybe Greg's mail should suggest them to ask for a quick review on
#mediawiki (specially for projects which aren't completely independent).
I pondered about the fairness of "helping" projects, but a) they could
ask for help anyway in those channels, b) if the suggestion is
broadcasted to all of them, they are in equal terms.



*This is common to (almost?) every competition, but I assume that the
goal isn't as much getting the best cathedral by each one but engaging
developers able to contribute to MediaWiki.


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greg.dekoenigsberg at gmail

Oct 25, 2011, 10:44 AM

Post #8 of 13 (1157 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

> That's a lot! :)
> I wonder how many of them will proceed to code something useful and
> submit it. And how good will it be.

I wonder that too. :)

> An issue I see with the challenge is that it encourages the cathedral
> model,* so we lose the opportunity of training them as they go (eg.
> point out how we do i18n).
>
> Maybe Greg's mail should suggest them to ask for a quick review on
> #mediawiki (specially for projects which aren't completely independent).
> I pondered about the fairness of "helping" projects, but a) they could
> ask for help anyway in those channels, b) if the suggestion is
> broadcasted to all of them, they are in equal terms.

We do have the option of sending reminder emails to the entire set of
contestants, so we can certainly re-emphasize the call to show up on
IRC+mailinglist for help. My guess is that in many cases, contestants
won't even know the right questions to ask -- if you don't even know
you should be thinking about i18n/l10n, you won't think to ask if
you're doing it right or wrong.

> *This is common to (almost?) every competition, but I assume that the
> goal isn't as much getting the best cathedral by each one but engaging
> developers able to contribute to MediaWiki.

And this is a key difference. It's why we were very careful in our
legal language to clarify that winners would be determined at WMF's
sole discretion. Able participation is part of that discretion, and
it's not a checkbox/scoreboard kind of thing; you know it when you see
it. (Which points out a bit of a bug, actually: may not be trivial to
relate the IRC nick back to the project. But we'll cross that bridge
when we come to it, I guess.)

--g

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brion at pobox

Oct 25, 2011, 11:16 AM

Post #9 of 13 (1110 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 10:40 AM, Platonides <Platonides [at] gmail> wrote:

> That's a lot! :)
> I wonder how many of them will proceed to code something useful and
> submit it. And how good will it be.
>
> An issue I see with the challenge is that it encourages the cathedral
> model,* so we lose the opportunity of training them as they go (eg.
> point out how we do i18n).
>

Indeed, this is very different from how we traditionally get volunteer
developers involved (by letting them walk into our web of addictive code and
giving them feedback on their code until they can't imagine doing anything
else ;).

I think the theory is that some small percentage of contestants will be
interested enough to actually dive in and do research, write code, and ask
people for feedback directly, and those are the people we'd actually want to
get back to?

Depending on how many of those 2000+ signups actually submit anything, that
might be a *lot* of extra judging work to find them, or it might not be too
much.

-- brion
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jeroendedauw at gmail

Oct 25, 2011, 11:31 AM

Post #10 of 13 (1109 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

Hey,

> Indeed, this is very different from how we traditionally get volunteer
> developers involved (by letting them walk into our web of addictive code
and
> giving them feedback on their code until they can't imagine doing anything
> else ;).

Ah, so that's what happened to me :0

Cheers

--
Jeroen De Dauw
http://www.bn2vs.com
Don't panic. Don't be evil.
--
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roan.kattouw at gmail

Oct 25, 2011, 11:37 AM

Post #11 of 13 (1114 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM, Jeroen De Dauw <jeroendedauw [at] gmail> wrote:
> Ah, so that's what happened to me :0
>
We call this recruitment by privilege escalation :D . It worked on me
something like 4 times over.

Roan

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innocentkiller at gmail

Oct 25, 2011, 11:53 AM

Post #12 of 13 (1111 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 2:37 PM, Roan Kattouw <roan.kattouw [at] gmail> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM, Jeroen De Dauw <jeroendedauw [at] gmail> wrote:
>> Ah, so that's what happened to me :0
>>
> We call this recruitment by privilege escalation :D . It worked on me
> something like 4 times over.
>

And now that you're a root, what further incentive do we have to
keep you around Roan? Must...find...next...level....

-Chad

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erik at wikimedia

Oct 25, 2011, 12:00 PM

Post #13 of 13 (1109 views)
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Re: Heads up: Online coding challenge [In reply to]

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM, Brion Vibber <brion [at] pobox> wrote:
> I think the theory is that some small percentage of contestants will be
> interested enough to actually dive in and do research, write code, and ask
> people for feedback directly, and those are the people we'd actually want to
> get back to?

Pretty much. :) But we should invite folks more explicitly to share
their work in progress. I've made a page for doing so here:

http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/October_2011_Coding_Challenge/Work_in_Progress

We'll add an invitation to do so to the email and other future communications.
--
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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