I remember working on my first big group programming project back in college. The project involved some web scraping work; I enthusiastically took charge of that part. But a few weeks in, my code just wasn’t working. I felt frustrated and helpless — I’m supposed to be the scraping expert, so why couldn’t I fix the problems? I retreated into hiding and didn’t want to think about the group of people or the project.
A week later, I feebly ran svn update to see how the project had progressed. “Oh!” I exclaimed to myself. “Someone made the data importer work!” I felt a rush of relief. (While writing this paragraph, I sighed again remembering it.)
When I talked to my teammate George, he mentioned off-handedly that he had fixed it. He didn’t feel any of the anguish I felt or assign me the blame I thought I deserved. I guess if I had just asked for help earlier, I could have skipped the feelings of inadequacy entirely and George would have just fixed the bug.
Half a decade later, I feel the same dread about the lack of Maildir support in Alpine. The bug is three years old! Ugh.
This time, I’m going to ask for help. So I listed the issue on the Alpine project page on OpenHatch. To do the same thing, here’s how:
- Go to the OpenHatch projects list and enter your project’s name. That will take to your project page.
- Answer the last question, “What is a bug or issue that you’ve been putting off, neglecting, or just plain avoiding?”
- Hit submit! We’ll help you sign in with your Google account or other OpenID.
For those of you who work on Free Software projects, what are the issues that drain you the same way?
No bug tracker I’ve seen has a field that says, “I’m avoiding working on this, and that sucks.” To say that, list the issue on your project’s OpenHatch page.
So join in! What are the issues you don’t want to think about? Once you share them, maybe a fellow developer or a new contributor will come by and help you out.
Head to OpenHatch and let the world know.
P.S. Do you have any ideas about how we can make these project pages more useful? Let us know!
P.P.S. Dear Joey Hess and everyone else, sorry that Alpine still doesn’t have Maildir support.
(Cross-posted to asheesh.org.)