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Greater Kansas City Drupal User Group Message Board › The Drupal Ladder meetup

The Drupal Ladder meetup

Mary H.
mollyavalon
Lawrence, KS
Post #: 2
I have been swamped ever since we met last week in Lawrence, and only just now have had time to write up my thoughts about the meeting.

To recap for those who weren't there, the idea behind the Drupal Ladder (http://drupalladder.o...­) is to get 1% of Drupal users contributing to Drupal core by 2014. Currently the number of contributors is more like .01%.

The way it works is that first you get everyone up to speed by running a learn sprint, where we all acquire basic skills that will allow us to contribute. A learn sprint takes about an hour of meetup time.

Then we run an issue sprint, where we spend two hours of meetup time (preferably fueled by food and drink) actually contributing to Drupal core.

For both kinds of sprints, we pair up so that we can help each other. The big hotdogs can leap ahead of everyone else and work on what they want, but it all needs to be contributions to core. Pairing up is good.

So last week there were, I think, 10 of us. We had a small technical problem that resulted in moving to a different room but no big deal.

The Drupal Ladder has rungs, and the idea was to get everyone up to the third rung. Henceforth, I think we should ask everyone to get to the third rung on their own, because it is pretty low level. (Rung 1: Install a local copy of Drupal. Rung 2: Install Git. Rung 3: Submit and document an issue.)

I was very surprised that even some of the experienced folks in the room weren't quickly able to get up to Rung 3.

First question to everyone: How can we make it clear that you need to do some pre-work? My guess is that my description of what to do before the meeting was not read by anyone.

Second question: How can we get everyone excited about this project? If we are Drupal users, and therefore supporters, shouldn't we all be willing to contribute to this fabuloso product that we get so much use out of?

I was initially disappointed that we weren't blasting along, but then encouraged, because ultimately it moved everyone farther up.

So maybe next time we do this, we ask people to get to Rung 3, and then of course some won't but they will still show up, which is great, and so then we have a small group of Ladder beginners and everyone else proceeds from their rung? In pairs, which is a great idea. Yes? No?

Third question: Should we do the next one in Kansas City so that those folks for whom it is a burden to drive to Lawrence can participate?

My summary: There was quite a bit of flapping around, but ultimately it was a good meeting. And then we went out for beer and food and blab at Free State Brewing. Nice.

Other thoughts?
Mary H.
mollyavalon
Lawrence, KS
Post #: 3
Something I forgot to mention: We all had opinions about the lessons on drupalladder.org. There has been a certain amount of discussion on groups.drupal.org about the lessons. I recommend that you follow this discussion: http://groups.drupal....­
A former member
Post #: 1
I was a little frustrated with the inconsistencies in the instructions on the Drupal ladder site. Step 1 had instructions to download a tar.gz of Drupal 8, while Step 3 had you work from a git repository. If this project is to be successful, half the meeting shouldn't need be spent trying to find out what to do. This is no fault of the event organizers, more so just rough edges of the Drupal ladder project.

My development environment wasn't fully setup before I came to the meeting, which delayed me in getting up and going. I had done an upgrade recently and things were still in a semi-broken state. I didn't want to slow down my pairing partner so I tried to abandon it, but even he had a few issues on his machine.

I don't remember the Drupal ladder project having good instructions for their suggested way of getting a development environment setup. While more experienced developers already have this, I could see a good portion of Drupal devs not having this type of setup, or would require assistance setting it up.
Scott W.
HaloFX
Kansas City, MO
Post #: 2
I am a little curious, why is the Ladder focused on Drupal 8, when there are over 10,000 open issues on Drupal 7 core and Drupal 8 is still having massive changes happening to core?
Mary H.
mollyavalon
Lawrence, KS
Post #: 4
I had the same thought, but then it occurred to me that this is just the Learn section, where we are learning what to do and not really working in the issue queue. So in a way it doesn't really matter which queue we are working in at this point.

At the same time, I think it would be good to suggest that if this is the case it should be made clearer.

My plan is to contribute to the D7 queue once I get farther along.

Mary H.
mollyavalon
Lawrence, KS
Post #: 5
John, I agree about the instructions, and it appears from the drupal.org thread that we weren't alone. As we seem to be in the first wave of users of this project, we are in a good position to contribute to make it clearer.

I am wondering if one thing we can do in our own meetup is to
a) provide an addendum to the instructions until the project owners come to some agreement about how to make changes to them
and
b) offer pre-meetup help to anyone who needs it for those initial three steps.
Mark K.
devildogmrk
Kansas City, MO
Post #: 1
1.) You absolutely must post a separate posting somewhere everyone will see it that says "READ BEFORE ATTENDING - MONTH/DAY MEETING". But even that will not ensure everyone will unless there is an incentive. Some groups hold drawing for prizes among those that can prove they have read or done a certain task before arriving. And it really seems to motivate people. But that requires sponsors willing to "donate" to the cause.

2.) The problem you usually run into in getting folks to contribute is that it is like a "roach motel" type of environment. You can check in but you can not check out. Meaning once you contribute you are on the hook in the Drupal world; so unless you use Drupal exclusively and can afford time to contribute daily, people shy away. I mean the Drupal site themselves tell you emphatically that once you contribute YOU MUST support your work.

So, unless you are just a vulture sitting around pointing out everyone else's mistakes without actually contributing code yourself, you become trapped until that functionality is retired. Now, that is just my observation (two cents worth) and I may not talk for everyone, but that is what appears to keep the community of developers capable of contributing at bay from contributing directly themselves.

The other is, quite simply outside of learning how to USE Drupal the vast majority of implementors of Drupal are just USERS and do not have enough knowledge to contribute other than to log defects/issues. Which certainly helps locate issues, but those folks all too often feel a little weird pointing out issues that they have no idea how they work in the first place truthfully. So you have those sort of folks who also shy away from contributing out of fear of sounding "uneducated". Not to mention, what is appealing to most Drupal implementors is the very fact that is is "all done for them" and they do not have to learn the coding, or worry about the details in order to use it and have very appealing sites. So, unless you have a way to ease both of these concerns the likelihood of getting full or majority buy-in is less than likely. Got an ideas how to solve these issues anyone?

3.) I would suggest a rotating schedule between Kansas City and Lawrence honestly, because those on the east side of the KC metro probably won't drive to Lawrence every month and vice versa, the folks in Lawrence will not want to come to KC every month.

I hate to suggest it, but if there are truly enough members in both sites to support it, maybe the best answer is to meet 1 time a month separately (with a joint initiative of course) and then bring both groups together 1 time a month to collaborate. I am just throwing that out there. Not sure how much traction it might get...



First question to everyone: How can we make it clear that you need to do some pre-work? My guess is that my description of what to do before the meeting was not read by anyone.

Second question: How can we get everyone excited about this project? If we are Drupal users, and therefore supporters, shouldn't we all be willing to contribute to this fabuloso product that we get so much use out of?

I was initially disappointed that we weren't blasting along, but then encouraged, because ultimately it moved everyone farther up.

So maybe next time we do this, we ask people to get to Rung 3, and then of course some won't but they will still show up, which is great, and so then we have a small group of Ladder beginners and everyone else proceeds from their rung? In pairs, which is a great idea. Yes? No?

Third question: Should we do the next one in Kansas City so that those folks for whom it is a burden to drive to Lawrence can participate?

My summary: There was quite a bit of flapping around, but ultimately it was a good meeting. And then we went out for beer and food and blab at Free State Brewing. Nice.

Other thoughts?

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