Nano-annoucement: create a field `inactivityReason` for maintainers

Hello, people.

I opened a PR to insert a new field for maintainers - namely, inactivityReason:

I need opinions about it.

Here is a description:

Description - not up-to-date

Default null; should be a free-form string explaining why the maintainer became
inactive.

The most immediate use of this attribute is to mark maintainers that are not
contributing to Nixpkgs from a long amount of time. Nonetheless it can be used
to mark any long term inactivity, including but not limited to:

  • Sabbatical leave
  • Retirement
  • Intimate issues
  • Force majeure

In principle, a third person can set this attribute. For the sake of a good
etiquette, in such case at least one contact attempt should be issued and
carried out before effectively committing it to the codebase.

This attribute can be employed to many useful activities, including but not
limited to:

  • Treewide automation
  • Removal of inactive maintainers from packages
  • Orphaning alerts
  • Filter automatic notifications

this fall under “too much information”

i read through the discussion and understand what you’re trying to achieve… and maybe it’s just me… but it feels a bit strange to record this information here :thinking:

6 Likes

At a guess this might be a mild mistranslation? :slight_smile: I think “personal issues” might be more idiomatic for “non-project related, doesn’t want to disclose further”? (E.g. health, relationship, family problems, etc)

1 Like

It might be worth thinking about how and in what circumstances the information is useful. Ultimately I guess it comes down to “is the maintainer likely to become active again” and “if so, in what sort of time-frame”? In which case perhaps it might be better as a non-free form field that covers those two things. The third bit of useful info might be “how sure are we of the accuracy of this information”, which might encompass whether it was set by the maintainer themselves or a third party, etc.

At a guess this might be a mild mistranslation? :slight_smile: I think “personal issues” might be more idiomatic for “non-project related, doesn’t want to disclosure further”? (E.g. health, relationship, family problems, etc)

Yes, that was the idea initially.
I have updated on the original PR.

Ultimately I guess it comes down to “is the maintainer likely to become active again” and “if so, in what sort of time-frame”?

Yes. The most typical usage would be in cases of “the maintainer is not responding”. But nothing hinders the maintainer theemself of filling this field.

1 Like

privacy concerns probably make this information less valuable than you think it will be - i stand against recording family issues that our maintainers have in pkgs/… which leads into my next point: this sounds like a highly speculative game that results in rules that sound awkward when spoken out loud

why don’t we just make it simple and say something super generic like “no activity after x units of time results in removal of maintainer status” with the well understood fact that it isn’t “personal” and we’re happy to have you back?

if any of this is to avoid making someone feel bad for removing their maintainer status i feel like the alternative overall causes was less undesirable feeling as long as it is a well documented policy

but these are just my thoughts … :man_shrugging:

5 Likes

This can work, as long as we have tooling to support it (which we currently don’t). and there is some benefit ti having maintainers explicitly say they are busy (the reason is still too-much-info IMO)

Originally I proposed a mere Boolean field isActive, default true.

@pbsds (hi!) vented the idea of a free-form text field, since it would be useful to put some info like “no activity since YYYY-MM-DD”.