We really need more community involvement with GSoC

Note : I do not mean to compare or criticize any organization. This is
based on my experience.

Dear Community,

I have subscribed llvm-dev list for last 6 months and I follow most of the
thread when it makes sense to me. I have observed that some times some
mails do not get any kind of response. Mostly novice students and some one
trying to use LLVM in the research have many questions.
I respect all community members and I understand that working for top
companies or colleges keep them very busy. So when I go on IRC same things
happens ( I keep my self up late night to sync with timezone so I get many
people to ask on IRC).
Personally if I stretch my self and read some older mail chains, I am able
to get answers to my questions 80% of time, but some time I just get stuck
and some times to understand output and "why it has happen so" a novice may
require help from you people.

I have just one suggestion that is not particular to GSoC but it applies in
general. Actually Drupal.org uses this idea. See this

Every Monday and Wednesday they keep a session on IRC (just textual chat)
dedicated to novice student may be an hour long or so. To keep main channel
undisturbed we may have a separate channel. (or slack.com ) The time
chosen for both days are very different so that they can cover may time
zones. 2 or 3 experienced community members attends this session and
answers to the each kind of questions from participant. This will help
students and researchers very much. Specially if they are not able to
progress by their own.
I have been benefited from this on Drupal. LLVM is more complex code base
than Drupal. And I believe that your 60 minutes may save their days.

Sincerely,
Vivek

That seems to be great idea.

I work for one of those “top companies”, but LLVM is only one of the back-ends I’m working with so I have only pretty narrow knowledge of it (but ok knowledge of compilers in general, I hope).

I’m trying to post easy to understand answers to those beginner questions when I have time (there was one yesterday, about constant evaluating things like sqrt() in the front end).

One concern I have is that although these basic questions often have no answers on the mailing list, any number of people might well have replied to them privately, in an effort to both be helpful to the questioner, and also to “maintain the signal to noise ratio” of the mailing list.

Of course I don’t know if this is really happening or not, but if it is then the wasted duplication of effort is probably worse than a few extra messages on the list. Which is why I copy the list as well.

The “office hours” idea would definitely help with all this, if beginners can in fact be encouraged to use it.

I’d probably use it myself, as I’m a novice to many aspects of LLVM.

I think the idea of dedicated “newbie hour - no question is too basic” drop in sessions is fantastic. +1 for that.

+1000 to all of this fwiw.

I’m happy to chat with some folks and send out a concrete proposal?

I would like to insist more to use slack.com due to persistent storage of message it can be useful to create ‘Minutes of Meeting’ kind of thing and later on shared on mailing list so that all community can be aware of that, when some serious discussion has happened during ‘office hours’.

Hmm. But we already use IRC, we don’t already use Slack (as a community).

@James
I am not sure in IRC if we can retrieve back the older messages. So consider Slack as suggestion only.

IRC doesn’t archive messages, but many IRC communities run a bot as a room participant that archives to a web site (and often other services).

Hi,

Indeed, and I think this suggestion will succeed best if the delta between what community members do now and what they would need to do is small. Loitering on one extra IRC room is trivial; loading a whole new system just at the right time is likely to get fewer members.

James

@Bruce yes that can take care of archival of messages.

@James If we prefer to stick with IRC then during the office hours for the people who are not interested or wanted to have separate thread of discussion may need to communicate one-to-one other wise it would create effect like cross-talk. Or dedicate a separate channel like Drupal has ‘druapl-google’ dedicated to Summer of Code see https://www.drupal.org/irc. People may join it when it is not ‘Office hours’ but may not get enough (experienced) people to get their questions answered. I have observed that on #llvm channel some time a group of (experienced ) people discuss very specific thing that they are working on and my intention is not to disturb their work when it is ‘office hour’.

I just realized that Slack might require SignUp and Login (necessarily due to the team concept Slack uses) to access the office hour discussion where as in IRC one may enter the room with temporary ID.

When I reply to a question, I reply to the list. That ensures that a) everyone knows if a question has been answered and b) it allows others with a similar question to see the answer. On a side note, I think our FAQ may need some updating; we’ve gotten similar questions over the years which I should have added to a FAQ but (to date) have not. Regards, John Criswell

Same. Wait, we have a FAQ? (Mostly joking, I know if it, just never seen anyone reference it.) Should we try to encourage folks to update the FAQ and reply with a link rather than directly answering questions on llvm-dev?

Hi,
Has there been any update on this office-hour idea?
I’m just starting to get my feet wet with LLVM and this seems like an amazing potential resource for getting answers!
Regards,
Aditi Dixit
Would be a really helpful resource for beginners

I've found that the LLVM's IRC channel on oftc is pretty much a
round-the-clock virtual helpdesk. When I was initially learning LLVM
internals, I'd throw questions in there and almost invariably someone would
offer help.

If you haven't tried it, I strongly recommend that you do. irc://
irc.oftc.net/#llvm