[llvm-dev] RFC: Code Review Process

Tom Stellard via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Oct 5 10:09:25 PDT 2021

On 10/5/21 9:47 AM, Renato Golin wrote:
> On Tue, 5 Oct 2021 at 17:06, Tom Stellard via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org <mailto:llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>> wrote:
>     - Any other information that you think will help the Board of Directors make the best decision. 
>     - Foundation Board will have 30 days to make a final decision about using GitHub Pull Requests and then communicate a migration plan to the community.
> Hi Tom,
> Please help me here, I think I'm severely misunderstanding what this means...
> I'm reading it that the "Board of Directors" will make a decision and communicate to the community, apparently through some undisclosed internal process.
> For example:
>   * What about people that are on holidays during the 30 days comment period?
>   * What if the points are not made clear after 30 days?
>   * How do we know the IWG will correctly summarise the comments to the board?
>   * How does the board guarantee it will take all facts in consideration without bias?
>   * What kind of recourse would the community have if the decision alienates a large part of the developers?
> Please understand that I'm not assuming malice *at all*. We're all humans, and in the effort to make some change happen we quite often let unconscious bias be the merits of our decisions.
> For context...
> Since its inception[1], the foundation has always steered away from technical decisions, always referring to the llvm-dev list for those. Previous long running contentious issues (Github, monorepo, CoC) were all decided by the community, in the llvm-dev list, and executed by the foundation.

In my opinion, this is not a technical issue.  The Board owns the infrastructure
for the project and is responsible for ensuring that it is well maintained and
functional.  From the blog post:

"The LLVM Foundation" will allow us to:

  - Solve infrastructure problems.

This is what we are doing here.  The project is very much at risk by using
a self-hosted, unmaintained code review tool.  We really need to move forward
with a more robust solution otherwise we risk a major disruption to the community.

> Recent discussions about the mailing list, irc, discord, discourse have emphasised that, even with an infrastructure working group, the views of the community are still too hard to predict and make it work for the majority. Neither the board of directors, nor the IWG are wide and diverse enough to make decisions that take most people's views into consideration. That is why we still rely on the dev list for large technical discussions and decisions.
> Code review and bug tracking are very much technical decisions. Not code directly, but how we all work. And there are a lot of us. Giving feedback and having no insight into the decision making process will certainly divide the community even more, if we're forced to accept whatever outcome.

What additional information about the decision making process would you like to see?


> I can't see how this "solves" the problem of never-ending discussions, other than further fragmenting the community.
> cheers,
> --renato
> [1] http://blog.llvm.org/2014/04/the-llvm-foundation.html <http://blog.llvm.org/2014/04/the-llvm-foundation.html>

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