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' feedback.

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.

Cheers,
Enrico