- Finished cleaning up the technical debt that kept us from having two Outreachy rounds active at once
- Added code for gathering internship midpoint feedback
- Migrated the travel stipend page off the old wiki for Outreachy to the Django website
- Added a required field for mentors to provide the minimum computer system requirements to contribute to the project
- Created intern blog post prompts for weeks 5 & 7
- Followed up on all December 2018 sponsorship invoices
Minimum System Requirements
New for this Outreachy round is asking mentors to provide the minimum system requirements for their project. Many Outreachy applicants have second-hand, 10 year old systems. They may not have the memory to be able to run a virtualized development environment. In the past, we’ve had applicants who tried to follow installation instructions to complete their required contribution, only to have their systems hang.
By requiring mentors to provide minimum system requirements for their projects, we hope to help applicants who can’t afford a newer computer. We also hope that it will help communities think about how they can lower their technology barriers for applicants who face socioeconomic hardship
This month I migrated the travel stipend instructions page from our old wiki to the new travel page. During that migration, I noticed the language in the page was filled with complex vocabulary and longer sentences. That’s how I tend to write, but it’s harder for people who speak English as a second language to read.
I used the Hemmingway editor to cut down on complex sentences. I would recommend that people look at similar tools to simplify their language on their website
Debt, debt, and more technical debt
I had hoped that January would be spent contacting Outreachy communities to notify them of the round. Unfortunately, Outreachy website work took priority, as it wasn’t ready for us to accept community sign-ups.
Most of the work was done on cleaning up the technical debt I talked about in my last blog post. The website has to handle having two internship rounds active at once. For example, in January, mentors were submitting feedback for the December 2018 internships, while other mentors were submitting projects for the upcoming May 2019 internships.
A lot of the process was deciding how long to display information on the website. For example, when should mentors be able to choose an applicant as an intern for their project?
Mentors could find a potential candidate very early in the application period, so the very soonest they could choose an intern would be when the application period starts.
Most people might assume that interns can’t be selected after we announce the internships. However, in the past, interns have decided not to participate, so mentors have needed to select another applicant after the interns are announced. The very latest they could select an intern would be five weeks after the internships start, since we can’t extend an internship for more than five weeks.
It’s a complex process to decide these dates. It requires a lot of tribal knowledge of how the Outreachy internship processes work. I’m happy to finally document some of those assumptions into the Outreachy website code.