[Members] GSoC Mentor Summit wrapup

Kevin Smith kevin.smith at isode.com
Tue Dec 15 22:34:13 UTC 2015

Hi folks,

This year Joachim and Flow went to the GSoC Mentor Summit on behalf of the XSF. Their reports are below, for anyone interested in their thoughts, and I imagine we’ll keep this in mind for possible future GSoC years.

For me personally the most interesting part was meeting the OpenKeychain
guys. We nearly immediately came to discuss the state of OpenPGP in XMPP
and started working on a successor/replacement for XEP-0027. I'm really
happy with the outcome so far and plan to submit the XEP as ProtoXEP
within the next few weeks. I'd love to accompany the publication of the,
then Experimental, XEP with a GSoC wrap up blog post.

I also held a lightning talk about the DNSSEC project and got some
feedback from interested parties, one person even said he knows someone
in the security field who may be willing to also review the code (We
already have a dozen reviewers but more eyes can't hurt).

As for advice from other orgs: It appears the acceptance standards for
students and how they are mentored varies heavily from organization to
organization. I've talked with a few about student selection and how to
mentor the project. My conclusion is:

- Require at least one patch - be it because of a teaser task or own
incentive - accepted in order to even consider his proposal. More
patches are a plus.
- Make it clear that besides the project ideas, the students are
welcomed to propose their own, but that it's up to the project to decide
if it is a suitable GSOC project.
- Ask everyone who applied to show up on IRC. Determine date and time
with a doodle. If they don't show up, dismiss proposal. Interview them
- Determine milestones
- Require status reports and contact with the mentor at least every
second work day
- Make it clear that the student is required to announce brief inactive
periods ("a few days") prior these periods
- Make it clear that the student is required to write every week a short
blog post
- Make it clear that for final acceptance, it is required that the
majority of the students work is merged prior deadline.

The last point is borderline. I would communicate it this way to the
student, but would also pass the student if he/she submits a good
quality patch/commit/branch before the deadline. For example the DNSSEC
code isn't merged yet either, but Rene and I want to wait until it was
really thorough reviewed.

- Florian

For me as a first timer on gsoc and the summit. I am amazed of the energy and effort that is put into this program and the fantastic diversity of people from all over the world. I think not only for the possibility to get good work done it is also a golden thing to show the world that you are a healthy organisation.

I also think the way XMPP handled the whole process compared to others was very mature.  many thanks to you Kevin that you from the start gave the blog rules and weekly meetings etc. made it easy as a mentor to just pursue that.

Agree with Florian on early deliveries and blog etc
- Perhaps we should have a monthly letter to the xmpp mailing lists.
I think at least me and Adhish we could have done the community communication part much better.

I had a small demo of the project on a table which gathered a few interested people.
I also had a lightning talk on the project.
Making a poster of the project to show on the summit can be good. 
There were several IoT discussions, so this topic will be around alot in next years gsoc from several organisations.



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