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Hadoop, mail # dev - [DISCUSS] What is the purpose of merge vote threads?

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[DISCUSS] What is the purpose of merge vote threads?
Chris Nauroth 2013-10-24, 20:40
I've realized that I'm very confused about the purpose and the process of
merge votes.  I'd like to use this thread for clarification so that we all
know exactly what our votes on a merge thread mean.  It's possible that
we'll even want to reconsider whether or not merge vote threads are useful.

>From what I can tell, there is no concrete action taken as a result of a
merge vote thread.  If the vote passes, nothing happens.  If the vote
doesn't pass, nothing happens.  Instead, it is the +1 vote on the merge
patch in jira that really drives action.  This differs from all other
voting topics, which do result in some concrete action if passed (new
release, change to the bylaws, etc.).  Considering that, what value do we
get from merge vote threads?

It seems the merge votes could be replaced entirely by the traditional code
review and commit process.  Committers can respond directly on the umbrella
jira with +1 (or -1 and a list of what needs to be done to earn a +1).  The
merge vote threads may in fact be detrimental, because they fork relevant
technical discussion away from the jira and into the mailing lists.  Would
it be appropriate for us to say that the real merge vote happens on the
jira and do away with the process of conducting a separate vote on the
mailing list?

Also, I don't see consistency in this process across sub-projects.  Merge
vote threads have been more frequent in HDFS than YARN.  If we continue to
use merge vote threads, then do we need to do this consistently across the

My first inclination was to review the bylaws for clarification.  The
bylaws don't call out merges as a separate voting topic.  Instead, merges
just fall under Code Change with the extra requirement of 3 +1s from
committers instead of 1.  Again, this sounds like activity better suited to
the jira in question, where the proposed action is to commit a code change,
and committers and contributors enter comments to vote on acceptance of the
code and related artifacts like design docs and test plans.

Of course, there may be a need to announce that a big feature is almost
ready and needs more reviewers.  That could be handled by an email to the
dev lists, but I don't see the benefit of labeling that as a vote.  Best
case scenario, the vote is redundant with the more meaningful activity
happening on the jira.  Worst case scenario, the vote is a distraction and
introduces an artificial 7-day delay on code that has already received
votes in jira.

Until I get some clarification on this, I don't think I can participate in
further merge vote threads in good conscience.  I'll continue to offer my
+1 or -1 directly on feature jiras, where I know with certainty that I'm
voting on whether or not to accept something tangible.

Thank you!

Chris Nauroth

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