April 27, 2021
The past weeks were mostly focused on User Research activities and discussions on how fedeproxy should move forward. A monthly event was scheduled to discuss this activity report and anyone interested is welcome to join the first event.
User research preparation and interviews are well on the way:
- The question was formulated: How and why are multiple forges used in the development life cycle of a given software?.
- Three personas were defined: Free Software developer, Forge developer, Forge maintainer and an interview script written down for each of them.
- Around twenty requests for interviews were sent and the most challenging turns out to be Forge developers because there are not many of them.
- Nine persons agreed to an interview and they are in various stages, from scheduled to fully transcribed and published.
Going back to how User Research was planned last month, it looks like the following steps will be completed by the end of May 2021:
- Prepare the research
- Find participants among software developers, organizations and forge maintainers
- Prepare the research sessions
- Create an intercept interview script
- Conduct interviews with the participants
Which leaves us with the last part:
- Organize an affinity mapping session to identify emerging themes
- Analyze the results and write a report with recommendations for the implementation of the fedeproxy user experience.
Pierre-Louis Bonicoli, Emmanuel Raviart, Tanguy Le Carrour and Loïc Dachary will participate in the affinity mapping but two more participants are required to provide a wider perspective. Hopefully it can be completed by mid June and will tell us which themes fedeproxy should focus on.
A self hosted technical infrastructure was created, based on Enough, with a chat room, a forum, a static web site, a Nextcloud instance, a GitLab instance together with a CI able to run two GitLab instances for integration testing. The current fedeproxy server code does not really do anything useful at the moment and the goal was merely to prepare the tools for developers to start working on something concrete.
Communication and branding
The goal of fedeproxy is: “forge federation” but what it means exactly is yet to be discovered which makes it quite difficult to communicate about the project itself. For starters, the fedeproxy name is not a good one: nobody can guess what it is from the name alone. And it is difficult to remember. There was brainstorming to pick a new one and CoderGlue is better candidate. From the debate around the name emerged another interesting discussions on what it means to mix federation and Free Software development.
A meeting was organized to “kickoff” the grant schedule and someone working on fedeproxy was required to deliver a short presentation. It is non trivial to explain the problem fedeproxy is trying to solve to a non technical audience but a 3 minutes pitch came out of it. There is room for improvement…
Loïc Dachary mastodon account was used to announce the fedeproxy project and call for testimonies to get more material for User Research. There was some interesting feedback that is yet to be compiled. And someone suggested it would be better to create a mastodon account dedicated to fedeproxy going forward.
Last but not least, it was decided to host a monthly event, starting April 2021 to discuss what was done in the past month. A useful addition to this monthly report and a way for people interested in fedeproxy to connect together.
Fedeproxy is not immune to the lack of diversity that can be observed in computer science. The only way to fix this is by starting right at the beginning. Efforts are currently made to reach out to people who are usually under represented: this is an ongoing effort that requires daily attention.
Transparency and funding
The funding category of the forum already listed all expenses and donations from the beginning of the project in January 2021. With the DAPSI grant it became inconvenient to manage it within a forum topic and a spreadsheet was created.
The liberapay account is up but it is still unclear how it should be used and promoted. An anonymous donor pledged 5,000€ to fedeproxy a few days ago and it may be donated on liberapay. Who will receive the money? On what should it be spent? That will be a discussion for the coming weeks.