GS-SOC'21 Experience as Mentor
GirlScript Summer of Code is the 3 month-long Open Source program conducted by GirlScript Foundation intending to help beginners get started with Open Source Development. Throughout the program, participants contribute to different projects under the guidance of mentors and project admins. Top contributors are rewarded goodies and future opportunities.
In 2020, I got to know about this program via LinkedIn but the program was already in running and no new applications were accepted. Then the organizers launched an extended program. Though I registered for the extended program, I knew that I won’t be accepted and the result was as expected, not accepted.
Then I got engaged in other open-source programs such as Hackincodes and Script Winter of Code which gave me enough confidence to directly apply as a Mentor in GSSOC!
As soon as the applications for mentors were out, I filled it in first hand only and waited for the results. Luckily, I was selected as a Mentor for this year’s GSSOC edition.
After the selection mail, we were supposed to select the project which we want to mentor for the rest of 3 months. I choose some of the known projects with new ones but none of them were assigned to me. Actually, no project was assigned to me and another mail was sent out to select projects for the remaining ones.
Here was the issue, my tech stack projects were already chosen and I was left with no projects. Then I contacted one of the program organizers, Ruchika Modgil, and explained the situation to her. She was kind enough to understand my point and assigned me the project which I had chosen in the first place, Amazing Python Scripts.
I had a prior experience with a similar project, Rotten-Scripts, and therefore, I didn’t have any difficulties understanding the code base and the style guide. To be honest, the issues and PRs were pretty messed up and it lacked proper management.
The first thing I did was cleaning up the old PRs and checking if the contributors are willing to fix the PRs. Those who aligned with the plan did the job and other PRs had to be closed. Next, for the issues, I had to scan all the opened issues and check if the associated PRs are merged successfully or require some improvements. This took a whole day just to organize the issues and PRs!
I started with the PR reviews and I had a tough time. These are my observations about how the participants performed and not to criticize the program overall:
- As the participants were beginners, they found it difficult about how to make a proper PR.
- PR templates empty, multiple commits, and not reading all the comments/suggestions properly. I had to reiterate the comments and if the participants don’t understand after this much iteration, I had to close the PR with proper reason.
- Not reading the issue description carefully and then arguing about the same.
- This program had levels for issues. The more the level, the more will be the points. Among all of them, few participants were only concerned about getting more and more points which was not good practice in my point of view.
- Some participants created the same issues and PRs on multiple projects just to gain more points. This thing is a bit perspective-based as one can argue that the contributions might be new for that specific project but on the other hand, you need to understand that these contributions are made only in lieu of getting ahead in the leaderboard and not with the motive of supporting open source project. Though it can be the other way too I felt that this was wrong.
- Some participants were also indulged in plagiarism. They were given warnings and then they didn’t try it again which was a great success. We as mentors tried our best to eliminate such PRs.
Apart from these issues, there were many good things I observed:
- The organizers took action for the feedback I provided on the way. One of the members, Salil Naik, was very active in terms of taking action on the inputs provided.
- Not all the participants were in the rat race and some of them contributed quality code.
- Participants like Abdelrahman Walied, Ayush Jain, Meha Bhalodiya, Tanvi Bugdani, Rohini Rao, and Smriti Raina were among the few ones who contributed good code, and I had a great time reviewing their code.
Interestingly, I with Abdelrahman Walied created automation for the project which adds projects information from PR to JSON database. This database is pushed to the website branch too and that’s how the website is also updated as soon as new scripts are added. The website redesign was done by Ayush Jain.
Now let me share some of the stats about the project I mentored, Amazing Python Scripts:
- Repository Stars went from 198 to 565!
- Forks went from 98 to 301!
- In total, I reviewed 269 PRs, and out of them, 197 PRs were merged successfully!
- Level distribution of these approved and merged PRs
- 255 Issues were created/labeled as GSSOC.
In the end, I would like to thank all the members of the Girl Script Foundation for starting such a good initiative. These programs surely help beginners to get started. It also helps mentors on how to handle quires from the participants, be calm in these situations, and provide feedback to the participants so that they can improve upon their skills.
With this, we come to the end of this article. Make sure to give your responses in the poll below and comment down below on how was your experience with GSSOC!