Petr Pudlák | 5 May 13:22 2013
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Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Hi,

on another thread there was a suggestion which perhaps went unnoticed by most:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me>
Date: 2013/5/4
...
I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
indications concerning this.

This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If you consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit reply and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would display some red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since D.M.Y."

Best regards,
Petr
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Doug Burke | 5 May 19:19 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages


On May 5, 2013 7:25 AM, "Petr Pudlák" <petr.mvd <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> on another thread there was a suggestion which perhaps went unnoticed by most:
>
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me>
>> Date: 2013/5/4
>> ...
>> I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
>> quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
>> for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
>> indications concerning this.
>
>
> This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If you consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit reply and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would display some red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since D.M.Y."
>
> Best regards,
> Petr
>

For those packages that give a repository, a query could be done automatically to see when it was last updated. It's not the same thing as 'being maintained', but is less annoying for those people with many packages on hackage.

Doug

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Petr Pudlák | 5 May 20:28 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

I'd say:
- If a package has UNMAINTAINED (perhaps also DEPRECATED?) somewhere in its title/description, don't do anything.
- Otherwise if the package hasn't been updated for past 3 months, send a quarterly reminder (including the information under what conditions the reminder is sent).



2013/5/5 Doug Burke <dburke.gw <at> gmail.com>


On May 5, 2013 7:25 AM, "Petr Pudlák" <petr.mvd <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> on another thread there was a suggestion which perhaps went unnoticed by most:
>
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me>
>> Date: 2013/5/4
>> ...
>> I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
>> quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
>> for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
>> indications concerning this.
>
>
> This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If you consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit reply and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would display some red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since D.M.Y."
>
> Best regards,
> Petr
>

For those packages that give a repository, a query could be done automatically to see when it was last updated. It's not the same thing as 'being maintained', but is less annoying for those people with many packages on hackage.

Doug


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Joe Quinn | 6 May 00:24 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

And we can have something on hackage that does this check automatically! And we can put "unmaintained" in the description! And then we can leave it unmaintained!

"Unmaintained" should have its own flag, I think...

On 5/5/2013 2:28 PM, Petr Pudlák wrote:
I'd say:
- If a package has UNMAINTAINED (perhaps also DEPRECATED?) somewhere in its title/description, don't do anything.
- Otherwise if the package hasn't been updated for past 3 months, send a quarterly reminder (including the information under what conditions the reminder is sent).



2013/5/5 Doug Burke <dburke.gw <at> gmail.com>


On May 5, 2013 7:25 AM, "Petr Pudlák" <petr.mvd <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> on another thread there was a suggestion which perhaps went unnoticed by most:
>
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me>
>> Date: 2013/5/4
>> ...
>> I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
>> quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
>> for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
>> indications concerning this.
>
>
> This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If you consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit reply and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would display some red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since D.M.Y."
>
> Best regards,
> Petr
>

For those packages that give a repository, a query could be done automatically to see when it was last updated. It's not the same thing as 'being maintained', but is less annoying for those people with many packages on hackage.

Doug




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Felipe Almeida Lessa | 6 May 03:42 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Just checking the repo wouldn't work.  It may still have some activity
but not be maintained and vice-versa.

On Sun, May 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM, Doug Burke <dburke.gw <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>
> On May 5, 2013 7:25 AM, "Petr Pudlák" <petr.mvd <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> Hi,
>>
>> on another thread there was a suggestion which perhaps went unnoticed by
>> most:
>>
>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>> From: Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me>
>>> Date: 2013/5/4
>>> ...
>>> I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
>>> quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
>>> for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
>>> indications concerning this.
>>
>>
>> This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If you
>> consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit reply
>> and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would display some
>> red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since D.M.Y."
>>
>> Best regards,
>> Petr
>>
>
> For those packages that give a repository, a query could be done
> automatically to see when it was last updated. It's not the same thing as
> 'being maintained', but is less annoying for those people with many packages
> on hackage.
>
> Doug
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
>

--

-- 
Felipe.

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Conrad Parker | 6 May 03:59 2013

Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

On 6 May 2013 09:42, Felipe Almeida Lessa <felipe.lessa <at> gmail.com> wrote:
> Just checking the repo wouldn't work.  It may still have some activity
> but not be maintained and vice-versa.

ok, how about this: if the maintainer feels that their repo and
maintenance activities are non-injective they can additionally provide
an http-accessible URL for the maintenance activity. Hackage can then
do an HTTP HEAD request on that URL and use the Last-Modified response
header as an indication of the last time of maintenance activity. I'm
being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but actually this would allow you to
point hackage to a blog as evidence of maintenance activity.

I like the idea of just pinging the code repo.

Conrad.

> On Sun, May 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM, Doug Burke <dburke.gw <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> On May 5, 2013 7:25 AM, "Petr Pudlák" <petr.mvd <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hi,
>>>
>>> on another thread there was a suggestion which perhaps went unnoticed by
>>> most:
>>>
>>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>>> From: Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me>
>>>> Date: 2013/5/4
>>>> ...
>>>> I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
>>>> quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
>>>> for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
>>>> indications concerning this.
>>>
>>>
>>> This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If you
>>> consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit reply
>>> and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would display some
>>> red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since D.M.Y."
>>>
>>> Best regards,
>>> Petr
>>>
>>
>> For those packages that give a repository, a query could be done
>> automatically to see when it was last updated. It's not the same thing as
>> 'being maintained', but is less annoying for those people with many packages
>> on hackage.
>>
>> Doug
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
>> Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
>> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Felipe.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Lyndon Maydwell | 6 May 04:35 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

But what if the package is already perfect?

Jokes aside, I think that activity alone wouldn't be a good indicator.


On Mon, May 6, 2013 at 9:59 AM, Conrad Parker <conrad <at> metadecks.org> wrote:
On 6 May 2013 09:42, Felipe Almeida Lessa <felipe.lessa <at> gmail.com> wrote:
> Just checking the repo wouldn't work.  It may still have some activity
> but not be maintained and vice-versa.

ok, how about this: if the maintainer feels that their repo and
maintenance activities are non-injective they can additionally provide
an http-accessible URL for the maintenance activity. Hackage can then
do an HTTP HEAD request on that URL and use the Last-Modified response
header as an indication of the last time of maintenance activity. I'm
being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but actually this would allow you to
point hackage to a blog as evidence of maintenance activity.

I like the idea of just pinging the code repo.

Conrad.

> On Sun, May 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM, Doug Burke <dburke.gw <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> On May 5, 2013 7:25 AM, "Petr Pudlák" <petr.mvd <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hi,
>>>
>>> on another thread there was a suggestion which perhaps went unnoticed by
>>> most:
>>>
>>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>>> From: Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me>
>>>> Date: 2013/5/4
>>>> ...
>>>> I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
>>>> quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
>>>> for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
>>>> indications concerning this.
>>>
>>>
>>> This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If you
>>> consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit reply
>>> and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would display some
>>> red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since D.M.Y."
>>>
>>> Best regards,
>>> Petr
>>>
>>
>> For those packages that give a repository, a query could be done
>> automatically to see when it was last updated. It's not the same thing as
>> 'being maintained', but is less annoying for those people with many packages
>> on hackage.
>>
>> Doug
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
>> Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
>> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Felipe.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe

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Tillmann Rendel | 6 May 11:46 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Hi,

Petr Pudlák wrote:
>     ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>     From: *Niklas Hambüchen* <mail <at> nh2.me <mailto:mail <at> nh2.me>>
>     Date: 2013/5/4
>     ...
>     I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
>     quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
>     for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
>     indications concerning this.
>
>
> This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If
> you consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit
> reply and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would
> display some red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since
> D.M.Y."

I like the idea of displaying additional info about the status of 
package development, but I don't like the idea of annoying hard-working 
package maintainers with emails about their perfect packages that 
actually didn't need any updates since ages ago.

So what about this: Hackage could try to automatically collect and 
display information about the development status of packages that allow 
potential users to *guess* whether the package is maintained or not. 
Currently, potential users have to collect this information themselves.

Here are some examples I have in mind:

  * Fetch the timestamp of the latest commit from the HEAD repo
  * Fetch the number of open issues from the issue tracker
  * Display reverse dependencies on the main hackage page
  * Show the timestamp of the last Hackage upload of the uploader

Tillmann
Niklas Hambüchen | 6 May 14:01 2013

Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

On 06/05/13 17:46, Tillmann Rendel wrote:
> So what about this: Hackage could try to automatically collect and
> display information about the development status of packages that allow
> potential users to *guess*

In my opinion, that's what we have now.

Obtaining the info in the four points you mention from their respective
sources usually takes less than a minute in sum - hackage saving me that
minute would give me little added value.

Having the metrics you mention is nice, but still they are just metrics
and say little the only thing that's important:

   Is there a human who commits themselves to this package?

> I like the idea of displaying additional info about the status of
> package development, but I don't like the idea of annoying hard-working
> package maintainers with emails about their perfect packages

I really think this is not too big of a deal, getting one email every 3
months and clicking a few checkboxes.

Probably fits into one cabal update.
Tillmann Rendel | 6 May 14:06 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Hi,

Niklas Hambüchen wrote:
> Having the metrics you mention is nice, but still they are just metrics
> and say little the only thing that's important:
>
>     Is there a human who commits themselves to this package?
>
>> I like the idea of displaying additional info about the status of
>> package development, but I don't like the idea of annoying hard-working
>> package maintainers with emails about their perfect packages
>
> I really think this is not too big of a deal, getting one email every 3
> months and clicking a few checkboxes.

Is "a human clicked the check box" a good metric for "a human commits 
themselves to this package"?

   Tillmann
Niklas Hambüchen | 6 May 14:14 2013

Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

On 06/05/13 20:06, Tillmann Rendel wrote:
> Is "a human clicked the check box" a good metric for "a human commits
> themselves to this package"?

If the check box has the text "Do you want this thing to be called
'maintained' on Hackage" next to it, yes.
Tobias Dammers | 6 May 14:34 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

On Mon, May 06, 2013 at 08:14:59PM +0800, Niklas Hambüchen wrote:
> On 06/05/13 20:06, Tillmann Rendel wrote:
> > Is "a human clicked the check box" a good metric for "a human commits
> > themselves to this package"?
> 
> If the check box has the text "Do you want this thing to be called
> 'maintained' on Hackage" next to it, yes.

The problem is that people tend to (truthfully) check such a box, then
stop maintaining the package for whatever reasons, and never bother
unchecking the box.
Niklas Hambüchen | 6 May 14:45 2013

Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Well, that's what the "once every 3 months" is good for.

On Mon 06 May 2013 20:34:13 SGT, Tobias Dammers wrote:
> The problem is that people tend to (truthfully) check such a box, then
> stop maintaining the package for whatever reasons, and never bother
> unchecking the box.
Carter Schonwald | 6 May 18:25 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

is that really a problem though? 

Who's problem are we trying to solve? Is this being proposed to help seasoned haskellers, or make getting started easier for new folks?

those are two VERY different problems. Also many of the maintainers for heavily used packages are incredibly busy as is, do they need to keep track of even *more* email? I'd hope not. 

In some respects,  just having the hackage2 deps and revdeps stats is a good proxy for how likely a package is to be well maintained. 


On Mon, May 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM, Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me> wrote:
Well, that's what the "once every 3 months" is good for.

On Mon 06 May 2013 20:34:13 SGT, Tobias Dammers wrote:
> The problem is that people tend to (truthfully) check such a box, then
> stop maintaining the package for whatever reasons, and never bother
> unchecking the box.


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Felipe Almeida Lessa | 6 May 19:47 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

I do think it's a real problem even for seasoned haskellers.  I don't have problems in remembering which packages I should use for the things I've already used before recently, but I need to search Hackage just as everyone else as soon as I need to do something new.

I also agree that this is more of a social problem not a tooling one.  Hackage would just provide a tool for helping this kind of social interaction.  


On Mon, May 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM, Carter Schonwald <carter.schonwald <at> gmail.com> wrote:
is that really a problem though? 

Who's problem are we trying to solve? Is this being proposed to help seasoned haskellers, or make getting started easier for new folks?

those are two VERY different problems. Also many of the maintainers for heavily used packages are incredibly busy as is, do they need to keep track of even *more* email? I'd hope not. 

In some respects,  just having the hackage2 deps and revdeps stats is a good proxy for how likely a package is to be well maintained. 


On Mon, May 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM, Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me> wrote:
Well, that's what the "once every 3 months" is good for.

On Mon 06 May 2013 20:34:13 SGT, Tobias Dammers wrote:
> The problem is that people tend to (truthfully) check such a box, then
> stop maintaining the package for whatever reasons, and never bother
> unchecking the box.


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--
Felipe.
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Dan P. | 6 May 21:55 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

On Monday 06 May 2013 14:34:13 Tobias Dammers wrote:
> The problem is that people tend to (truthfully) check such a box, then
> stop maintaining the package for whatever reasons, and never bother
> unchecking the box.

I think there should be just one mail per maintainer mail address, not per 
package. The notification mail should provide a link to a page, that shows all 
packages maintained by this user (mail address). Every checkbox should be 
unchecked by default whether there is activity in the repo or not. This way, 
the maintainers wouldn't get annoyed by hackage mail spam and to check a 
couple of checkboxes just takes a few minutes.
Sturdy, Ian | 6 May 22:39 2013

Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Being in favor of not needlessly harassing people, even for a few minutes, I would favor issuing such emails
only when there is some reason to believe that the package is not maintained. The two situations I can see
that would justify such an email:
 - A dependency exceeds the upper bound listed in the cabal file.
 - It fails to build on the most recent GHC with its listed dependencies.

Every three months, issue one email per address listing packages that are in one of those conditions at the
moment and have been for at least a week (or longer--I care little there).

I think this strikes a good balance between bothering people needlessly and doing nothing (although it
does not properly catch unmaintained packages that build but with serious bugs; I welcome any automatic
ways to determine that with reasonably low false positive rates).

--IRS
Ozgun Ataman | 7 May 10:36 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

+1. I would be more than happy to receive such an email every 3 months and quickly scan the page to update the "maintained" status for each of the packages where I'm marked as the maintainer.

One modification I would make is to persist the checked state across emails. They should all be unchecked in the very first email for a given user. Later emails should preload the previous submission, i.e. the current state, so the user doesn't have to do a bunch of work if nothing is changed. That could get annoying for people who maintain 10s of packages on Hackage. This is obvious, but that page should also be accessible through some "My Profile" page so that I don't have to wait until I get the email if I want to modify a status.

I also wonder if it might be worth it to have a little bit more detail than just "maintained" and "not maintained" as possible flags. Something like the following would be nice (I'm sure there are better names; I just don't have the time right now) :

- Actively Developed (Meaning: The package is alive, it's a priority and it's actively improved)
- Maintained (Meaning: I make sure it doesn't break, semantics are preserved but no major enhancements)
- Life Support (Meaning: I just keep it compiling with no effort towards correctness, i.e. use with caution)
- Deprecated/Unmaintained


On Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:55 PM, Dan P. wrote:

On Monday 06 May 2013 14:34:13 Tobias Dammers wrote:
The problem is that people tend to (truthfully) check such a box, then
stop maintaining the package for whatever reasons, and never bother
unchecking the box.

I think there should be just one mail per maintainer mail address, not per
package. The notification mail should provide a link to a page, that shows all
packages maintained by this user (mail address). Every checkbox should be
unchecked by default whether there is activity in the repo or not. This way,
the maintainers wouldn't get annoyed by hackage mail spam and to check a
couple of checkboxes just takes a few minutes.

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Lyndon Maydwell | 6 May 14:07 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Don't underestimate how greatly people appreciate being saved a couple of minutes!


On Mon, May 6, 2013 at 8:01 PM, Niklas Hambüchen <mail <at> nh2.me> wrote:
On 06/05/13 17:46, Tillmann Rendel wrote:
> So what about this: Hackage could try to automatically collect and
> display information about the development status of packages that allow
> potential users to *guess*

In my opinion, that's what we have now.

Obtaining the info in the four points you mention from their respective
sources usually takes less than a minute in sum - hackage saving me that
minute would give me little added value.

Having the metrics you mention is nice, but still they are just metrics
and say little the only thing that's important:

   Is there a human who commits themselves to this package?

> I like the idea of displaying additional info about the status of
> package development, but I don't like the idea of annoying hard-working
> package maintainers with emails about their perfect packages

I really think this is not too big of a deal, getting one email every 3
months and clicking a few checkboxes.

Probably fits into one cabal update.

_______________________________________________
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Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
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Petr Pudlák | 6 May 20:21 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

2013/5/6 Tillmann Rendel <rendel <at> informatik.uni-marburg.de>
Petr Pudlák wrote:

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: *Niklas Hambüchen* <mail <at> nh2.me <mailto:mail <at> nh2.me>>
    Date: 2013/5/4
    ...
    I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
    quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
    for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
    indications concerning this.


This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If
you consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit
reply and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would
display some red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since
D.M.Y."

I like the idea of displaying additional info about the status of package development, but I don't like the idea of annoying hard-working package maintainers with emails about their perfect packages that actually didn't need any updates since ages ago.

I understand, but replying to an email with an empty body or clicking on a link once in a few months doesn't seem to be an issue for me. And if somebody is very busy and doesn't update the package, it's more fair to signal from the start that (s)he doesn't want to maintain the package.

Personally it happened to me perhaps several times that I used a promising package and discovered later that's it's not being maintained. I'd say that the amount of time required to confirm if authors maintain their packages is negligible compared to the amount of time people lose this way.

Just out of curiosity, do you have some examples of such packages, that are being maintained, but not updated since they're near perfect? I'd like to know if this is a real issue. It seems to me
 

So what about this: Hackage could try to automatically collect and display information about the development status of packages that allow potential users to *guess* whether the package is maintained or not. Currently, potential users have to collect this information themselves.

Here are some examples I have in mind:

 * Fetch the timestamp of the latest commit from the HEAD repo
 * Fetch the number of open issues from the issue tracker
 * Display reverse dependencies on the main hackage page
 * Show the timestamp of the last Hackage upload of the uploader

Tillmann

Those are good ideas. Some suggestions:

I think we already have the timestamp of each upload, this already gives some information. Perhaps we could add a very simple feature saying how long ago that was and adding a warning color (like yellow if more than a year and red if more than two years).

Reverse dependencies would certainly help a lot, but it works only for libraries, not for programs. (Although it's less likely that someone would search hackage for programs.)

The problem with issue trackers is that (a) many packages don't have one, (b) there are many different issue trackers.


Best regards,
Petr
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Clark Gaebel | 6 May 20:49 2013
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Re: Hackage checking maintainership of packages

Deepseq comes to mind regarding a "perfect" package that doesn't require active maintenance.

  - Clark


On Mon, May 6, 2013 at 2:21 PM, Petr Pudlák <petr.mvd <at> gmail.com> wrote:
2013/5/6 Tillmann Rendel <rendel <at> informatik.uni-marburg.de>
Petr Pudlák wrote:

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: *Niklas Hambüchen* <mail <at> nh2.me <mailto:mail <at> nh2.me>>
    Date: 2013/5/4
    ...
    I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
    quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
    for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
    indications concerning this.


This sounds to me like a very good idea. It could be as simple as "If
you consider yourself to be the maintainer of package X please just hit
reply and send." If Hackage doesn't get an answer, it'd just would
display some red text like "This package seems to be unmaintained since
D.M.Y."

I like the idea of displaying additional info about the status of package development, but I don't like the idea of annoying hard-working package maintainers with emails about their perfect packages that actually didn't need any updates since ages ago.

I understand, but replying to an email with an empty body or clicking on a link once in a few months doesn't seem to be an issue for me. And if somebody is very busy and doesn't update the package, it's more fair to signal from the start that (s)he doesn't want to maintain the package.

Personally it happened to me perhaps several times that I used a promising package and discovered later that's it's not being maintained. I'd say that the amount of time required to confirm if authors maintain their packages is negligible compared to the amount of time people lose this way.

Just out of curiosity, do you have some examples of such packages, that are being maintained, but not updated since they're near perfect? I'd like to know if this is a real issue. It seems to me
 

So what about this: Hackage could try to automatically collect and display information about the development status of packages that allow potential users to *guess* whether the package is maintained or not. Currently, potential users have to collect this information themselves.

Here are some examples I have in mind:

 * Fetch the timestamp of the latest commit from the HEAD repo
 * Fetch the number of open issues from the issue tracker
 * Display reverse dependencies on the main hackage page
 * Show the timestamp of the last Hackage upload of the uploader

Tillmann

Those are good ideas. Some suggestions:

I think we already have the timestamp of each upload, this already gives some information. Perhaps we could add a very simple feature saying how long ago that was and adding a warning color (like yellow if more than a year and red if more than two years).

Reverse dependencies would certainly help a lot, but it works only for libraries, not for programs. (Although it's less likely that someone would search hackage for programs.)

The problem with issue trackers is that (a) many packages don't have one, (b) there are many different issue trackers.


Best regards,
Petr

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Gmane