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From Enrico Minack <>
Subject Auto-closing PRs or How to get reviewers' attention
Date Thu, 18 Feb 2021 14:57:39 GMT
Hi Spark Developers,

I have a fundamental question on the process of contributing to Apache 
Spark from outside the circle of committers.

I have gone through a number of pull requests and I always found it hard 
to get feedback, especially from committers. I understand there is a 
very high competition for getting attention of those few committers. 
Given Spark's code base is so huge, only very few people will feel 
comfortable approving code changes for a specific code section. Still, 
the motivation of those that want to contribute suffers from this.

In particular I am getting annoyed by the auto-closing PR feature on 
GitHub. I understand the usefulness of this feature for such a frequent 
project, but I personally am impacted by the weaknesses of this 
approach. I hope, this can be improved.

The feature first warns in advance that it is "... closing this PR 
because it hasn't been updated in a while". This comment looks a bit 
silly in situations where the contributor is waiting for committers' 

*What is the approved way to ...*

*... prevent it from being auto-closed?* Committing and commenting to 
the PR does not prevent it from being closed the next day.

*...**re-open it? *The comment says "If you'd like to revive this PR, 
please reopen it ...", but there is no re-open button anywhere on the PR!

*... remove the Stale tag?* The comment says "...  ask a committer to 
remove the Stale tag!". Where can I find a list of committers and their 
contact details? What is the best way to contact them? E-Mail? 
Mentioning them in a PR comment?

*... find the right committer to review a PR?* The contributors page 
states "ping likely reviewers", but it does not state how to identify 
likely reviewers. Do you recommend git-blaming the relevant code 
section? What if those committers are not available any more? Whom to 
ask next?

*... contact committers to get their attention?* Cc'ing them in PR 
comments? Sending E-Mails? Doesn't that contribute to their cognitive load?

What is the expected contributor's response to a PR that does not get 
feedback? Giving up?

Are there processes in place to increase the probability PRs do not get 
forgotten, auto-closed and lost?

This is not about my specific pull requests or reviewers of those. I 
appreciate their time and engagement.
This is about the general process of getting feedback and needed 
improvements for it in order to increase contributor community happiness.


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