[llvm-dev] [PITCH] Improvements to LLVM Decision Making

James Henderson via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Jan 15 03:58:19 PST 2020

To be clear, my comment was purely intended to refer to non-technical
decisions (i.e. not things like code reviews etc that stall because there's
disagreement about what to do, but rather things like switching to the
monorepo/github PRs etc). Indeed, my understanding from Chris's pitch is
that his proposal isn't intended to address that either:

" One note: While there are challenges with patch review and code owners,
this proposal focuses on non-technical decisions that do not have a clear
"code owner" escalation path today. This can include things like the
introduction of new subprojects, introduction of a new social policies,
change to core infrastructure like bug review tools or patch review
processes, changes to the LLVM Developer Policy, etc."

These decisions are significantly more impacting than the more technical
ones as they usually impact pretty much every single developer. They are
also often irreversible after a certain point, or at least would cause
serious issues if we tried to reverse. Finally, once a decision has been
made and started to be implemented, I always feel like there's a greater
level required for objections, so people who weren't able to be involved
are less likely to voice their opinions after the fact in a way that will
actually generate any further discussion. Don't get me wrong, I agree that
we can't keep a review open forever, since you can't accommodate everyone
(e.g. months-long parental leave/long-term sicknesses/sabbaticals etc), but
surely 1-2 weeks for such decisions isn't enough.

On Wed, 15 Jan 2020 at 10:18, Doerfert, Johannes <jdoerfert at anl.gov> wrote:

> On 01/15, James Henderson via llvm-dev wrote:
> > One other thought: any formal review period needs to be long enough for
> > people to contribute to if they have any annual leave from work or
> > whatever. For example, if the review period were to be set to two weeks,
> > I'd have missed proposals made at the start of roughly 2-3 different 2
> week
> > periods last year. It would have been worse for 1 week. On the other
> hand,
> > a 3 week period would have meant I'd be able to read and respond to every
> > review. Note this is just an example - I'm not concretely suggesting 3
> > weeks; perhaps it should be longer for bigger changes etc?
> There are various opinions on this (see for example the discussion here
> [0]).
> My take is that there is no fixed reasonable time to review and respond.
> There is a minimal one, due to weekends and time zones, but as soon as
> we take vacation/trips into account the problem is unbounded. Instead, I
> argue that post-reviews and potential revers are acceptable. If a
> consensus was reached and a reasonable* amount of time has passed
> changes should make it into the repository to guarantee timely progress
> for contributors. If problems are encountered later, either because the
> change was not on someones radar or because no one anticipated some
> problematic interaction, we should be flexible. A post-review discussion
> is appropriate if improvements are needed, a potential revert and
> follow-up review are appropriate if it was an actual breaking change.
> * Both "consensus" and "reasonable amount of time" are arguably
>   vague here. Appropriate metrics depend on the impact of the proposed
>   change and written guidelines would be helpful [1].
> [0] http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-dev/2019-November/136808.html
> [1] https://reviews.llvm.org/D71916
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