[Osmf-talk] site

Tom Hughes tom at compton.nu
Tue Dec 20 17:48:45 UTC 2011

On 20/12/11 14:18, Kate Chapman wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 8:01 PM, Tom Hughes<tom at compton.nu>  wrote:
>> I would be very reluctant personally to have a paid implementation because
>> it basically pays somebody to the interesting work of writing something
>> while leaving the grunt work of trying to review the results to the
>> volunteers.
> I'm curious Tom, is implementing every feature interesting to you?
> Are there tasks other than reviewing patches that you consider grunt
> work?

Of course I was generalising with the comment about writing features 
being the interesting bit.

My key point really is that reviewing and integrating things is a 
bottleneck in our system and just contracting people to feed more and 
more code of possibly dubious quality into one end of that bottleneck is 
not likely to improve that.

I freely admit that this is partly a problem of my making and that 
probably I need to find better ways to handle code reviews as I am far 
too prone to fixing stuff myself rather than sending it back with 
comments for the contributor to fix issues.

It's partly that much of the time it would take me just as long to 
describe the issue as to fix it, though that ignore the longer term 
advantage of hopefully teaching the contributor how to do things better 
so that next time less changes are needed.

Maybe there are better tools we could use. I know there are web based 
code review tools and things, though I have never used any. Maybe we 
should be looking at some of those.

> I personally think you pay people to do the work people don't want to
> do.  But I've never been 100% clear on what that is in OSM.  Though my
> assumption really is most of the time now it is people having time to
> do the work they want.

The problem with paying people to do the work that people don't want to 
do of course, is that the people you're paying probably won't be that 
thrilled by it either and are therefore not likely to do a good job.

Now that may be fine for some tasks, where something is either done or 
it isn't, but for an intellectual activity like programming there are a 
wide range of values for "done" with results that vary greatly in their 

What I am afraid of is a lowest price bidder turning up one day with a 
metric tonne of hastily knocked out code and the community expecting 
that to be something that can just be rolled out. Perhaps even more 
worrying is the amount of work I might have to do to make such code usable.


Tom Hughes (tom at compton.nu)

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