[swift-dev] stale PRs

Drew Crawford drew at sealedabstract.com
Thu Apr 14 18:35:48 CDT 2016

Hello all,

I'm growing concerned about a small workflow hangup.

I've noticed a pattern in the PR queue where: a patch is generally uncontroversial, reviews are of very high quality, and authors are quick to respond to reviewer concerns.  However so much time elapses waiting for review or re-review that the patch becomes stale.  Authors bump infrequently to try not to be annoying, and I am sure reviewers grow weary as the bumps are a lot louder when there are 80 people doing it.

Examples I've been following:

https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/629 <https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/629>
https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/1176 <https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/1176>
https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/1479 <https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/1479>
https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/1891 <https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/1891>
https://github.com/apple/swift-corelibs-libdispatch/pull/61 <https://github.com/apple/swift-corelibs-libdispatch/pull/61>
https://github.com/apple/swift-corelibs-libdispatch/pull/62 <https://github.com/apple/swift-corelibs-libdispatch/pull/62>
https://github.com/apple/swift-corelibs-libdispatch/pull/64 <https://github.com/apple/swift-corelibs-libdispatch/pull/64>

Speaking only for myself, dreading this outcome has prevented me from sending ~10 patches upstream in the last two months.  I can work around a bug from my code in five minutes; but to prosecute that fix upstream and into a snapshot takes 6 weeks, and it is just not worth the effort to me the vast majority of the time.  Only in cases where I absolutely must, and even then, the experience resolves me to do it locally next time.  Meanwhile, I wonder if some of the very bright reviewers I've had the pleasure to work find pouring over a mountain of boring patches involving dark corners of platforms they don't personally use and problems they don't have to be a source of joy.

Now, perhaps this is all by design, and if so: Okay.  But if it isn't by design, I wonder if there is some small change we could make to increase everyone's happiness.


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