RIP recruiting.gentoo.org

The recruiters team announced a few months ago that they decided not to use the recruiting webapp any more, and move back to the txt quizes instead. Additionally, the webapp started showing random ruby exceptions, and since nobody is willing to fix them, we found it a good opportunity to shut down the service completely. There have been people that were still working on it though (including me), so if you are a mentor, mentee or someone who had answers in there, please let me know so I can extract your data and send it to you.
And now I’d like to state my personal thoughts regarding the webapp and the recruiter’s decision to move back to the quizes. First of all, I used this webapp as mentor a lot from the very first point it came up, and I mentored about 15 people through it. It was a really nice idea, but not properly implemented. With the txt quizes, the mentees were sending me the txt files by mail, then we had to schedule an IRC meeting to review the answers, or I had to send the mail back etc. It was a hell for both me and the mentee. I was ending up with hundreds of attachments, trying to find out the most recent one (or the previous one to compare answers), and the mentee had to dig between irc logs and mails to find my feedback.
The webapp solved that issue, since the mentee was putting his answers in a central place, and I could easily leave comments there. But it had a bunch of issues though, mostly UI related. It required too many clicks for simple actions, the notification system was broken by design, I had no easy way to see diffs or to see the progress of my mentee (answers replied / answers left). For example, in order to approve an answer, I had to press “Edit” which transfered me in a new page, where I had to tick “Approve” and press save. Too much, I just wanted to press “Approve”! When I decided to start filling bugs, surprisingly I found out that all my UI complaints had already been reported, clearly I was not alone in this world.
In short, cool idea but annoying UI. That was not the problem though, the real problem is that nobody was willing to fix those issues, which led to the recruiters’ decision to move back to txt quizes. But I am not going back to the txt quizes, no way. Instead, I will start a Google doc and tell my mentees to put their answers there. This will allow me to write my comments below their answers with different font/color, so I can have async communication with them. I was present during the recruitment interview session of my last mentee Pavlos, and his recruiter Markos fired up a Google doc for some coding answers, and it worked pretty well. So I decided to do the same. If the recruiters want the answers in plain text, fine, I can extract them easily.
I’d like to thank a lot Joachim Bartosik, for his work on the webapp and his interesting ideas he put on this (it saved me a lot of time, and made the mentoring process fun again), and Petteri R├Ąty who mentored Joachim creating the recruiting webapp as GSoC project, and helped in deploying it to infra servers. I am kinda sad that I had to shut it down, and I really hope that someone steps up and revives it or creates an alternative. There has been some discussion regarding that webapp during the Gentoo Miniconf, I hope it doesn’t sink.

7 Responses to RIP recruiting.gentoo.org

  1. Dion Moult says:

    I am currently doing the quizzes with Markos via Google Docs and I must say, it works very well :)

    Reply
  2. Matti says:

    When I read this, I immediately thought of the gist feature from github. Makes for great collaborative editing when you want to keep the txt files. Also allows you to do diffs when using something like https://github.com/blog/595-diff-your-gist

    Reply
  3. Isaiah says:

    I’m a ruby developer, and I would like to help.

    Reply
  4. tampakrap says:

    @Matti: the communication between mentor-mentee is easy to solve, but the webapp offered solutions for mentee-recruiter mentor-recruiter mentor-mentor communications. For example, it offered the ability for mentors to propose questions to the recruiters. All of those things were useful ideas and we really need them in such a webapp, but without the UI bugs that I described in my original post. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    @Isaiah: thanks for the offer, it is appreciated. Please contact recruiters at gentoo dot org

    Reply
  5. Isaiah says:

    @Tampakrap: I wrote to recruiters at gentoo dot org, but nobody replies.

    Reply
  6. tampakrap says:

    I pinged them on IRC

    Reply

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