Accessibility and obstacles to community contribution


I’m a newbie in the Nix/NixOS (just Nix in all further references) community and have only submitted a few PRs and some reviews. I love to nitpick in reviews, this stems from my love for well defined conventions; where Nix really shines IMO. Obviously, there is always room to grow, where come the RFCs.

While I’m a newbie, I want to participate in RFCs as someone who gives my input rather than someone who creates them (at least not yet). While the creation of RFCs is quite structured from the looks of things, the discussion/comments part of it isn’t. For example, I wanted to watch this PR and comment (if felt necessary). However, due to GitHub issues being a monolithic forum, any discussion that happens happens in the same long post. Hypothetically, I’d want conversations to have their own mini-threads so that the RFC becomes easier to digest for me, regular commenters, and even the shepherds. Clearly, this isn’t possible in GitHub issues specifically.

I don’t know of a solution to this either. This discourse doesn’t seem to have a convenient thread feature; and any attempts to spread out the conversation without a dedicated feature for threads would just fragment the RFC, doing more harm than good.

Either ways, this is a big barrier of entry for me to do anything around RFCs. I’m fine submitting PRs and doing PR reviews without being burnt out, but RFCs just sounds like something I wanna do. Hopefully this is addressed :smiley:

I’d like to end the comment saying that I love everything about NixOS; it’s been fun and I’m looking forward to more years of endless fun with Nix. The docs are a hot topic, though for me, they’re brilliant. They have issues that need resolving as people have mentioned on other threads, if not this one.

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On that note, even reading the RFC itself is difficult, I can never remember the exact clicks to get to the rendered version of the document. And monospaced blocks of text, splattered with comments, are rough on the eyes.

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Indeed. When I open an active RFC thread, I’m bombarded with comments, open reviews and markdown diffs. Ideally, I’d want to see just the comments; that too in a compressed form.

A potential solution could be creating RFCs as tracking issues along with their corresponding pull requests; and these issues would house a variable number of sub-issues mentioned in the description of the issue itself so that a reader can head to whatever discussion feels the most relevant to them.

@GetPsyched I think I have a pretty good proposal to improve this: [RFC 0138] Developing RFCs in repositories by infinisil · Pull Request #138 · NixOS/rfcs · GitHub


An RFC to fix RFCs!

Just read through this, it seems great overall, sad that it did not get enough attention. What would be the process to revive it? Should this be discussed in the Matrix room instead; I don’t want to clutter this thread.

Also, I noted 2 drawbacks that I didn't see mentioned in the proposal
  • Changes during force pushes are not documented. In PRs you get a nice diff for this but pushing directly to master in the user owned repository can’t be known in the future even if a notification was sent out to users watching the repository at that time. I can see this being solved by taking ownership of the proposed RFC repository as the first thing after a proposal and protecting the default branch so that only PRs can introduce changes.
  • I forgot while typing :frowning: (will edit it in if/once I remember)

Yeah let’s discuss this in the Matrix room:

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