Bug BBQ squashes bugs!

Authors: Tracy TealErin Becker BLOG

“Over 75 pull requests from the Issue Bonanza and Bug BBQ”

In preparation for Data Carpentry’s first lesson release, we hosted a Bug BBQ last week to resolve outstanding issues and issues identified during the Issue Bonanza.

The Bug BBQ and Issue Bonanza were a great success with 40 contributors in 8 countries holding lively discussions in the gitter chat room and submitting over 75 pull requests!

Throughout the event, the lesson maintainers commented on issues and pull requests, merged PRs and resolved merge conflicts. Francois Michonneau created a milestone in the R lesson with relevant issues for the BugBBQ, which will be a great model for future events. A huge thank you to all of our lesson maintainers who constantly demonstrate their commitment to keeping Carpentry lessons amazing!

Contributors were amazing, with great discussions, pull requests that fixed typos and also added clarification and missing content. Thanks to all who contributed during the Issue Bonanza and Bug BBQ!

If we didn’t name you, please let us know so we can correct our error!

These events demonstrated yet again what an amazing community Software and Data Carpentry are, eager to share knowledge and enthusiasm and to contribute to communal curricula that will impact thousands of learners.

For the lesson release and events, we also created a lesson release checklist and a How to Contribute document that will be useful as a start to contributor guidelines and preparing for lesson releases more generally.

Alas, the name Bug BBQ was misleading in that there was no actual BBQ food involved. There was some disappointment on this front. Distributed, virtual BBQ may be challenging, but this is clearly something that needs addressing. Maybe we can at least share BBQ tips?

Were the Issue Bonanza and Bug BBQ an effective way to update lessons?

So, is this an effective way to work?

The energy was great. It was fun to get to work on pull requests while you knew other people were working on them too.

Setting aside time. It was nice to set aside some time to specifically do this work. Since there aren’t deadlines on lesson contributions, it doesn’t always get to be a priority. This was a good way of blocking off time on schedules.

Feedback! Usually when you’re working on PRs you get delayed feedback after you put in your PR and then get comments later from others or lesson maintainers. Here, we could ask questions in the gitter chat and get responses, on things from content, to how we should be doing formatting. It was nice to get more immediate confirmation that we were headed in the right direction with our edits.

Local groups. We didn’t have too many local groups, but for those that did, people got to meet each other and talk about lessons and more.

The numbers! The numbers show that there were a lot more issues generated and pull requests put in and merged than any other time in the Data Carpentry lesson development.

What could have been better?

While a lot got done, there were a few things we could have done better.

Getting the word out! A few blog posts and tweets weren’t enough. We should have started generating enthusiasm and providing updates about what would be going on sooner, and kept with it. Software Carpentry did a great job of this with their Bug BBQ Next time we’d start earlier and as Software and Data Carpentry synch their lesson releases, we can do these events together.

Communicating with maintainers. There was some confusion about the role of these events and we didn’t have a clear process for setting milestones and labeling issues until just before the event. Next time we’d need to communicate and coordinate better with maintainers.

If you missed the Bug BBQ, there are still issues to be resolved before lesson release, so please continue the bug squashing!

Also, for those who contributed, we’ll be sending out swag shortly. If you contributed and would like swag, please email us with your physical mailing address. (There may even be post-it notes)

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