To all reviewers ... I'd like to send everyone a not-so-subtle reminder:
The mission of reviewing Full Project Applications is to ensure that new contributors have a basic understanding of the Drupal community's core values concerning contributing code to Drupal.org, AND to promote lasting, long-term contributing to the project.
Over time, the project apps process has strayed away from it's original mandate. It was intended as a means to help on-board new contributors into the Drupal community, and provide a level of mentoring and guidance before setting them loose in contrib ... but has since transformed into a manned security gate that only those who can master the secret handshake can ever break through. We have gone from ensuring 'that new contributors have a basic understanding of the Drupal commumity's core values' to ensuring that 'only the perfect and persistent' are ever vetted. In the meantime, the hurdles and delays do nothing to promote 'lasting, long-term contributing' for the vast majority of applicants.
So please try to remember ... we as reviewers are not an enforcement body. It is not our job to go out looking for applicants who have done something wrong, and then punish them for their crimes. The role of reviewer is to help the applicants ... and every action we take should be in the applicants' best interests.
Case in point ... I recently reviewed an application posted at the end of November, which was subsequently looked at by three different reviewers, and marked RTBC within a week. It then sat for an additional 12 weeks before I came along for a final review. Sure, it was short, and still had a couple of issues ... but putting myself in that applicant's shoes, I knew how frustrating seeing another 'needs work' status would be, especially after three months of RTBC status while waiting for final approval. So I flagged the issues, glanced through the user's other sandboxes, and made a judgement call to push them through.
Well, it appears that the 'enforcement' role has taken another evolutionary leap forward, in that even a git admin's 'final approval' is now subject to peer review ... today, I was surprised to discover that another git admin had unilaterally decided to reverse my decision to promote the user, and had even gone so far as to remove their 'git vetted user' status.
Now we can go back and forth all day debating about whether that decision was justified, but that isn't the point of my story. Instead, consider the crushing effect it must have had on the applicant ... someone who initially made the leap and decided to give back to the project, only to find themself blocked for three months because "we're too busy" despite their application having been accepted. Then, once those "in power" finally spare a minute to look down and click the magical checkbox that accepts them into the contrib community ... ten days later the applicant finds themselves back outside, their application marked 'wont fix', and the waiting game starting over once again. Just what is this supposed to do to that person's morale, or their chances of contributing anything else?
Drupal's motto is "Come for the code, stay for the community!". As an on-boarding process for new code contributors, however, the motto for today's projectapps process could be "Give us your code, and get in line ... the community's too busy to look right now, but if you stick around long enough, we might let you in."
It's important to note that this is not a criticism of those who are still active in the queue ... the reviewers do what they can with what they've got. They put in a ton of time for the sake of helping others, and receive almost no credit for their effort. But the sad fact remains that
the process itself is broken, and simply not sustainable on the backs of a group of volunteer reviewers. EDIT: while we've spent about 18 months trying to improve the situation, applicants continue to face exceptionally long delays and growing frustration within the queue.
To this end, I will be bringing forward a proposal for discussion amongst the larger Drupal community in the next week or so, suggesting changes to the process of publishing code on Drupal.org and the role that the Project Applications process plays within it. Please keep an eye out for the post, and add your voice to the discussion when it occurs.