onboarding.md

2020-01-31

Onboarding

This document is an outline of the things we tell new Collaborators at their onboarding session.

One week before the onboarding session

  • If the new Collaborator is not yet a member of the nodejs GitHub organization, confirm that they are using two-factor authentication. It will not be possible to add them to the organization if they are not using two-factor authentication. If they cannot receive SMS messages from GitHub, try using a TOTP mobile app.
  • Announce the accepted nomination in a TSC meeting and in the TSC mailing list.
  • Suggest the new Collaborator install node-core-utils and set up the credentials for it.

Fifteen minutes before the onboarding session

Onboarding session

Local setup

  • git:
    • Make sure you have whitespace=fix: git config --global --add apply.whitespace fix
    • Always continue to PR from your own GitHub fork
      • Branches in the nodejs/node repository are only for release lines
    • Add the canonical nodejs repository as upstream remote:
      • git remote add upstream git://github.com/nodejs/node.git
    • To update from upstream:
      • git checkout master
      • git remote update -p OR git fetch --all
      • git merge --ff-only upstream/master (or REMOTENAME/BRANCH)
    • Make a new branch for each PR you submit.
    • Membership: Consider making your membership in the Node.js GitHub organization public. This makes it easier to identify Collaborators. Instructions on how to do that are available at Publicizing or hiding organization membership.
  • Notifications:
    • Use https://github.com/notifications or set up email
    • Watching the main repo will flood your inbox (several hundred notifications on typical weekdays), so be prepared
  • #node-dev on webchat.freenode.net is the best place to interact with the TSC / other Collaborators
    • If there are any questions after the session, a good place to ask is there!
    • Presence is not mandatory, but please drop a note there if force-pushing to master

Project goals & values

  • Collaborators are the collective owners of the project
    • The project has the goals of its contributors
  • There are some higher-level goals and values
    • Empathy towards users matters (this is in part why we onboard people)
    • Generally: try to be nice to people!
    • The best outcome is for people who come to our issue tracker to feel like they can come back again.
  • You are expected to follow and hold others accountable to the Code of Conduct.

Managing the issue tracker

  • You have (mostly) free rein; don't hesitate to close an issue if you are confident that it should be closed
    • Be nice about closing issues! Let people know why, and that issues and PRs can be reopened if necessary
  • See "Labels"
    • There is a bot that applies subsystem labels (for example, doc, test, assert, or buffer) so that we know what parts of the code base the pull request modifies. It is not perfect, of course. Feel free to apply relevant labels and remove irrelevant labels from pull requests and issues.
    • semver-{minor,major}:
      • If a change has the remote chance of breaking something, use the semver-major label
      • When adding a semver-* label, add a comment explaining why you're adding it. Do it right away so you don't forget!
    • Please add the author-ready label for PRs, if applicable.
  • See Who to CC in the issue tracker.
    • This will come more naturally over time
    • For many of the teams listed there, you can ask to be added if you are interested
      • Some are WGs with some process around adding people, others are only there for notifications
  • When a discussion gets heated, you can request that other Collaborators keep an eye on it by opening an issue at the private nodejs/moderation repository.
    • This is a repository to which all members of the nodejs GitHub organization (not just Collaborators on Node.js core) have access. Its contents should not be shared externally.
    • You can find the full moderation policy here.

Reviewing PRs

  • The primary goal is for the codebase to improve.
  • Secondary (but not far off) is for the person submitting code to succeed. A pull request from a new contributor is an opportunity to grow the community.
  • Review a bit at a time. Do not overwhelm new contributors.
    • It is tempting to micro-optimize. Don't succumb to that temptation. We change V8 often. Techniques that provide improved performance today may be unnecessary in the future.
  • Be aware: Your opinion carries a lot of weight!
  • Nits (requests for small changes that are not essential) are fine, but try to avoid stalling the pull request.
    • Identify them as nits when you comment: Nit: change foo() to bar().
    • If they are stalling the pull request, fix them yourself on merge.
  • Insofar as possible, issues should be identified by tools rather than human reviewers. If you are leaving comments about issues that could be identified by tools but are not, consider implementing the necessary tooling.
  • Minimum wait for comments time
    • There is a minimum waiting time which we try to respect for non-trivial changes so that people who may have important input in such a distributed project are able to respond.
    • For non-trivial changes, leave the pull request open for at least 48 hours.
    • If a pull request is abandoned, check if they'd mind if you took it over (especially if it just has nits left).
  • Approving a change
    • Collaborators indicate that they have reviewed and approve of the changes in a pull request using GitHub’s approval interface
    • Some people like to comment LGTM (“Looks Good To Me”)
    • You have the authority to approve any other collaborator’s work.
    • You cannot approve your own pull requests.
    • When explicitly using Changes requested, show empathy – comments will usually be addressed even if you don’t use it.
      • If you do, it is nice if you are available later to check whether your comments have been addressed
      • If you see that the requested changes have been made, you can clear another collaborator's Changes requested review.
      • Use Changes requested to indicate that you are considering some of your comments to block the PR from landing.
  • What belongs in Node.js:
    • Opinions vary – it’s good to have a broad collaborator base for that reason!
    • If Node.js itself needs it (due to historical reasons), then it belongs in Node.js.
      • That is to say, url is there because of http, freelist is there because of http, etc.
    • Things that cannot be done outside of core, or only with significant pain such as async_hooks.
  • Continuous Integration (CI) Testing:
    • https://ci.nodejs.org/
      • It is not automatically run. You need to start it manually.
    • Log in on CI is integrated with GitHub. Try to log in now!
    • You will be using node-test-pull-request most of the time. Go there now!
    • To get to the form to start a job, click on Build with Parameters. (If you don't see it, that probably means you are not logged in!) Click it now!
    • To start CI testing from this screen, you need to fill in two elements on the form:
      • The CERTIFY_SAFE box should be checked. By checking it, you are indicating that you have reviewed the code you are about to test and you are confident that it does not contain any malicious code. (We don't want people hijacking our CI hosts to attack other hosts on the internet, for example!)
      • The PR_ID box should be filled in with the number identifying the pull request containing the code you wish to test. For example, if the URL for the pull request is https://github.com/nodejs/node/issues/7006, then put 7006 in the PR_ID.
      • The remaining elements on the form are typically unchanged.
    • If you need help with something CI-related:
      • Use #node-dev (IRC) to talk to other Collaborators.
      • Use #node-build (IRC) to talk to the Build WG members who maintain the CI infrastructure.
      • Use the Build WG repo to file issues for the Build WG members who maintain the CI infrastructure.

Landing PRs

See the Collaborator Guide: Landing Pull Requests.

Commits in one PR that belong to one logical change should be squashed. It is rarely the case in onboarding exercises, so this needs to be pointed out separately during the onboarding.

Exercise: Make a PR adding yourself to the README

  • Example: https://github.com/nodejs/node/commit/ce986de829457c39257cd205067602e765768fb0
    • For raw commit message: git log ce986de829457c39257cd205067602e765768fb0 -1
  • Collaborators are in alphabetical order by GitHub username.
  • Optionally, include your personal pronouns.
  • Label your pull request with the doc, notable-change, and fast-track labels.
  • Run CI on the PR. Because the PR does not affect any code, use the node-test-pull-request-lite-pipeline CI task.
  • After two Collaborator approvals for the change and two Collaborator approvals for fast-tracking, land the PR.
    • Be sure to add the PR-URL: <full-pr-url> and appropriate Reviewed-By: metadata.
    • node-core-utils automates the generation of metadata and the landing process. See the documentation of git-node.
    • core-validate-commit automates the validation of commit messages. This will be run during git node land --final of the git-node command.

Final notes