[wp-hackers] The problem with Contributions and This Thread

Jacob Santos wordpress at santosj.name
Mon Jan 3 01:19:58 UTC 2011

I'm not upset about being excluded and I don't care that I'll never have
commit access. I burnt that bridge (commit access) the first three months I
was part of the community. Oh man, if there were any time to want a time
machine; I would have gone back and changed my attitude real quick.

I started this year with an experiment, and the hypothesis was, "Given the
changes and so called improvements to the development process, I do not
believe it would be any easier to get patches into core." I started with
something I knew well and something I thought would be relatively easy to
push patches through. Being the architect and original engineer of the HTTP
API, I didn't expect as much push back. I was wrong. Part of the problem, I
suspect was that I long left support to others that worked on the HTTP API.
I felt it was in good hands during my absence.

The HTTP API is flawed and was planned to match BackPress as much as
possible (Blob Object Oriented Based). The HTTP API does not have any real
external dependencies. It was written with what I thought would be
specifications that would plausibility be committed given the amount of time
I would have to invest into the API. Truthfully, when it was initially
committed it had so many flaws, I thought it would be reverted completely
out of core and probably would have been if I had not stayed on and
supported it for the month it needed to become "stable."

The initial patches and tickets were introduced in May 2010. Unfortunately,
right before the 3 month break. After some initial complaining that I would
have to wait 3 months before even discussing the patches. I decided to still
do other projects and provide a few other patches in the WordPress
community. Some missteps later, I decided that I would again push the
patches and feedback for the tickets come September. When September came
around I again queried for feedback on the patches and tickets. The only
responses I received were from Nacin and perhaps one or two others
(Scribu?). They both said the same thing, the component was managed by DD32
(Dion) and therefore outside of their scope. Given the time differences, it
would be high difficult to impossible to be on at the same time as DD32. The
times I did happen to be on, DD32 appeared to be doing other things and
unable to accept any discussion. I do believe I sent an email, but if I did
then it largely went ignored, if I did not, then I felt it wasn't worth
requesting DD32 personally take the time to look at it.

Given the difficulties of discussing the ticket and patches with DD32, I
repeatedly made requests to those on wp-dev IRC channel before and during
the month of September. I also spent some time attempting to bring the
matter up during the weekly meetups. However the agenda rarely allowed for
bringing the matter up and since the weekly IRC chats were made during my
work hours. I couldn't devote a lot of time waiting and debating the issue.
Any time I did bring it up, some issue about bunnies or some other nonsense
was stated and it was implied that it wasn't yet time to bring up extra

I do believe I bought the tickets up on wp-hackers, but it was largely
ignored, except for Peter Westwood. I forget what he stated during that
thread, but it was largely unsatisfactory.

So the process for getting a ticket or patch known used to be to mention it
on IRC, which for me was a nonstarter, because it appears that during my
year absence, the lead developers were assigned a component for which they
are responsible for. Since I couldn't communicate with the lead of the
component I was working on and no one else wanted to look at it either, I
was SOL taking it in that direction.

The new process appears to be to get on the weekly IRC chats, but that has
always been a problem, since majority of the time it is during work hours
and trying to squeeze upwards to an hour meeting into a short break is near
impossible. As I mentioned, bringing issues up that aren't on the agenda is
met with rejection and attempting to get in to the window where discussing
tickets was difficult. I might have done it once, but was, I believe met
with a similar response to what Nacin told me before.

At some point, I realized the irony that I had to get permission to modify
the component that I originally developed. Nacin mentioned that I wasn't
available for supporting the patches, which isn't true. I was available all
during September and would have made time if feedback was given on the
ticket during October, since I would check the tickets periodically.

At some point during October, I notified one of the committers that if
feedback wasn't received on the tickets, that I would drop support for the
patches. This was a threat in order to get some reaction, but it was poorly
received and I probably could had handled it better. Regardless, nothing
came out of it and I stopped caring about the tickets. Eventually, my own
HTTP library reached the point where it was functional and it doesn't seem
logical to support the WordPress HTTP API and my new HTTP library.

To say I care about my tickets. I don't. I stopped caring in October and now
in January, well, I'm not going to waste any more of my time supporting
patches that aren't going into WordPress anyway. In fact, I would rather the
patches be deleted and the tickets be removed. Well, I write "I'd rather"
but truthfully, it is more of a demand and anyone using the patches will be
in violation of my copyright.

DD32, Nacin and Ryan have all worked on the HTTP API since May and none have
given feedback on any of the patches and most of the tickets. The only
ticket that received any feedback was #11613, which was when I request
further clarification on the details of the ticket in question.

You will also see that all of these tickets received patches back in Summer
2010, long before the start of 3.1 and many were ready for inclusion in 3.1
early further ensuring that they would have been tested before the RC of
3.1. If most or any of the patches were committed in September then I could
have been around to provide any further patches and support for the patches
and tickets in question.

Now that you have my side of the story and most of the facts, you decide. Am
I wrong in my initial post to assert the things I have? What could I have
done better, besides used more tact? Should tact have mattered, since my
initial inquiries were rather tame and didn't become heated until I was
brushed aside and dismissed.

In my conclusion, I was partly right in that it was still difficult to get
paches into core, except now the difficulty seems to have increased. It is
annoying that this thread was sidetracked and I had to bring forth proof of
my assertions to counter the logical fallacies and incomplete information.

Jacob Santos

PS: Well, come to think of it, it might not be WordPress, but the lead
developers might just hate me and want nothing to do with me or my tickets
and patches. I still think that this idea is a faulty one, because it stinks
of childish behavior and anyone who wants to help the project should be
given the chance. Right?

Ironically, I could have been someone who helped get this release out on
time. Provided my initial patches were given feedback and a few of them were
committed, which given that majority of them are relatively simple and
defect fixes I would hope that wouldn't be difficult. Also ironically, most
of the time Jane says I wasted was spent attempting to get my tickets
committed or to at least receive decent feedback and the tickets reviewed. I
think really, I find it funny that the expectation of me as a would be
contributor is to provide patches and unpaid time to features and support
for tickets and features that are 'blessed'. I don't have a lot of time and
even less to a project that wants to dictate that time for me. I did make
this clear at one point during the long discussions attempting to get the
tickets and patches looked at.

PSS: Just hope this doesn't happen to you. If it does, just leave and get
out before it becomes personal.


http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/13777 - (enhancement) Most contentious

http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/13915 - (enhancement, but really bug
fix) Relatively simple that should require no thought.

http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/9072 - (feature request) This time
fully tested with functional tests and proven to work.

http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/11613 - (defect) Patch correctly
identifies the problem area and seeks feedback on whether the solution is
appropriate or a better method is available.

http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/14184 - (defect) Patch corrects one
issue and also allows for correct implementation for cookies.

http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/8622 - (enhancement) Minor. Had some
cross dependencies to a few of the above tickets.

So basically 6 patches within the span of a week. Just imagine what I could
have done if I didn't have to spend all of my time attempting to get those
tickets to even be looked at.

On Sat, Jan 1, 2011 at 10:34 PM, Greg Boggs <greg at humhost.com> wrote:

> Leading documentation, committing huge chunks of code, and leading commit
> props all sound like the perfect reasons to add someone to the leadership
> team of a project that is run based on merit. So far the only reason we've
> read here not to add him to the core group is that he's upset that he has
> been excluded despite his merit.
> Advocating for your work and reminding others of your contributions has
> long been an element of successful contributors to open source projects.
> Granted, he could have handled his problem with more tact, but if he hadn't
> mailed the list, very few people would even know he exists.
> On 12/30/2010 04:40 PM, wp-hackers-request at lists.automattic.com wrote:
>> Jacob has contributed greatly to the project in the past, it's true. In
>> addition to http and other funcitonal patches, he did a huge chunk with
>> inline documentation in 2.7 that definitely lead to a lot of commit
>> props (and verbal props from me in pretty much every talk or interview I
>> did around that time). But that isn't a reason to add someone to the
>> leadership group.
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