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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • As discussed, the grants aren't much of a carrot, but they're an excellent stick. Let's see what happens inside a developer's head both with and without grants.

    I don't feel particularly guilty when one of my own, unfunded volunteer projects doesn't receive the attention it deserves. Everyone knows that volunteers never have enough time for everyone, and I can hardly be blamed for taking a break now and again, especially if that's to earn a crust.

    Funding, on the other hand, means the whole world knows that I'm getting paid for my project. I'm expected to blog about it. I'm expected to give talks at conferences. I'm accountable, and I don't have a choice but to work on the project, because now my reputation now hangs in the balance. Screwing up with grant money means I face the possibility of public humiliation and ridicule. That means that grants are an excellent motivator.

    The trick, therefore, is to identify people who will respond well to fear, and "motivate" them with a grant, even if they haven't actually put in a proposal. The risk (as Adam has mentioned) is that this may be seen as favouritism; I don't have a good solution to that.

    • Funding, on the other hand, means the whole world knows that I'm getting paid for my project. I'm expected to blog about it. I'm expected to give talks at conferences. I'm accountable, and I don't have a choice but to work on the project, because now my reputation now hangs in the balance. Screwing up with grant money means I face the possibility of public humiliation and ridicule. That means that grants are an excellent motivator.

      I think this is true, but it doesn't address the problem I see of not getting enough good grant proposals! I for one am not going to be motivated to write a grant proposal because it's a good stick. Maybe we need more skilled hackers who are also masochists in the Perl community ;)

      Maybe TPF should do some outreach to the BDSM community.

      • Ah! I seem to have missed properly communicating my point. Rather than wait exclusively for grant proposals to arrive, we can find people or projects that are doing good things, and motivate them to continue that excellent work. We take the stick to them, as it were.

        This may take the form of introducing a new class of grants (the TPF motivation grants), which have the same expectations as a standard grant (you have to deliver the goods), but are instead offered by the TPF to particular individuals or

        • This may take the form of introducing a new class of grants (the TPF motivation grants), which have the same expectations as a standard grant (you have to deliver the goods), but are instead offered by the TPF to particular individuals or groups, rather than requring a grant proposal to be submitted.

          I believe the grants committee is already doing exactly this, and I think that's a good thing.

          But the recipient may not want to accept the grant because it just adds responsibility without making the work easier to do. This is the exact same problem that would prevent them from submitting a grant in the first place.

          I'll come back to the example of myself. I would be a good candidate for getting a grant (useful modules, well known in community, good track record, showers daily). I don't want one. It's not e

          • That actually brings up another question, which is whether or not having money involved (even enough for a sabbatical) is actually an incentive. Maybe it just ruins the fun for people.

            I suspect the obvious solution here is to say, "We would like to offer you a grant (if you'd like it), or an award/certificate/recognition/XP for your work. A listing in the TPF Hall of Fame has considerable cool-value, without the problems associated with money.

            If desired, this could even be changed into a game; peopl

          • But the recipient may not want to accept the grant because it just adds responsibility without making the work easier to do. This is the exact same problem that would prevent them from submitting a grant in the first place.

            I'll come back to the example of myself. I would be a good candidate for getting a grant (useful modules, well known in community, good track record, showers daily). I don't want one. It's not enough money for the hassle, and it would just cause me more stress to take the grant. That would suck the fun out of doing the work.

            <aol>Me too!</aol>

            This is exactly what I found when doing Improving Perl 5 [perlfoundation.org]

            Also, things I found which may be personal to me:

            • I don't like working at home
            • I don't like working on something alone (which, as the only "full" time person is effectively what it was - I had questions no-one else had time to dig into to answer). If one is in a full time job with colleagues, one is likely to have people one can ask.

            So, whilst I guess I am about to be looking for a job, which would seem to m

            • I should say that if I could get a grant sufficient to substitute for real work for a time, I'd probably like that. I do like working from home, and I don't mind working alone for a while, though it's not always ideal.

              My big reason for not wanting a grant as they stand is that it would provide pressure to do work without providing any extra time for that work.
              • My big reason for not wanting a grant as they stand is that it would provide pressure to do work without providing any extra time for that work.

                I hadn't realized I felt this way until I read it. I agree.

            • You could have a look at Jelly [workatjelly.com]. Looks like a solution to both problems.