[sword-devel] Getting willing people to work!

Trevor Jenkins sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 17 Jan 2001 12:22:37 +0000 (GMT)

On Tue, 16 Jan 2001, Jonathan Hughes <jhughes@crosswire.org> wrote:

>     I hope that everyone at least got to take a little break on Martin
> Luther King, Jr. Day!

It's not celebrated here in old England.

> ... I have sitting here in my mail folders two e-mails
> from people that have openly stated on the sword-devel mailinglist they
> would like to help with Sword in some manner and both of them have not
> received any answer about how they could help. To me, people willing to help
> need to be put to work! :) How do we need to treat people that are new and
> willing to help? Should we send a little bit of a questionnaire like what
> are their coding abilities, and talents that will be an aid to our project
> and then plug them in? What are other peoples ideas, I was going to just
> send this to Troy but thought maybe other people would have some ideas also!
> So lets start throwing those ideas around!

I recall that at least one of the recent volunteers said they were not a
programmer. However, everyone can be a tester. Problems need to be
reported. Whether they are functional problems causing program crashes or
idiocyncracies of the interface(s) all need to be reported. They'll not
get fixed. Documentation needs reviewing, split infinitives need
repairing, spelling misteaks corrected, better explanations
written. Modules need reviewing (but as was pointed out recently not
everyone involved knows Vietnamese).

Long time ago Prof Peter Brown suggested that test installations should be
made by novices wilst the program author was on holiday. This tested the
installation instructions and the ease of installation. For details you
can read "Writing Interactive Compilers and Interpreters ". For an example
of how to write good technical explanations read the same book. He
suggests that proram authors should give a beer to the first person who
finds a particular bug. (Many commerical software producers would have to
buy a brewery.) That it's now over the age of maturity, originally in
1979, and hasn't been better nor sadly the lessons learnt means that
there's a long way to go. (With many more breweries being required than in
1979.) Brown also presents the 14 deadly sins of program writing, which is
a humourous compendium of typical programmer's mistakes.

How's about collating a regression test suite? Something that a
non-programming volunteer could do. Running QA tests on new
releases. Again something that a non-techncial volunteer could
do. Writing, reviewing, editing documentation. The tasks are legion. Just
needs someone to volunteer to compile the list. Note that many of the
things I've brainstormed are not one-offs but are necessary and vital
aspects of the project.

Regards, Trevor

British Sign Language is not inarticulate handwaving; it's a living language.
Support the campaign for formal recognition by the British government now!


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