Recruiting Savannah volunteers


  • Add a Savannah job for the group administration (
  • Ask the GNU Volunteer Coordinators ( Unfortunately people we got this way have been very disappointing so far (they almost didn't contribute).
  • Another thing we did to recruit people was to put a big "We need you!" text on the homepage, and we had also had the gnu webmasters put a similar notice at - but that was already an urgent situation.


Project approvals

(IRC transcript):

  Beuc: Well, the "training" I've done until then is:
  Beuc: 1) have people review a project and give me the review, so I can review the review (;))
  Beuc: 2) when that begins to be good (note that here, we've already excluded people who do not have the time to contribute),
        then they're added to project Savannah as simple members 
  Beuc: then they assign themselves subsmissions, so the user know they're in progress, but still have me review their work
  mjflick: ah, cool
  Beuc: I also have to approve/cancel the project
       At this point we may also give people "read-only" (~svadmin) access to Savannah.
  Beuc: 3) when I and above all the volunteer feel confident, they're full admins, and they approve directly
  Beuc: I still have a look at submissions to check for potential issues
  Beuc: (that's a quick look: "looks like canned answer" -> ok; "looks like custom text" -> needs a closer look) ;)
  Beuc: The thing is that usually this is done through private exchanges with me and the volunteer, so you do not necessarily see it
  Beuc: One time I started CC:ing those mail exchanges to sv-hck-priv, but it ended up flooding the list more than anything else, so I stopped :)
  Beuc: Giving root access depends on the need (eg is the guy doing any support request at all?)
       and the confidence (does the guy/GIRL! have a minimum sysadmining experience?)

Support requests

A similar "training" can be done by asking the volunteer to keep track of all requests and provide an existing admin as many information as possible on how to fix them. He can for example provide a quick summary of the requests and the commands the admin would need to run. The volunteer is likely to need the "read-only" access to Savannah to investigate the issues. I (Beuc) proceeded that way, without any form of access, during my first Savannah weeks :)

Improving Savannah

First, I need to finish this work on having Savannah easily (and quickly) replicated in a test install. Optionaly have a test install somewhere at Savannah itself (using, eg, different ports, and a set of sub-subsystems). That would help experiments.

Aside from that, once somebody is confident enough to answer support requests alone, I think he's free to discuss and try to implement new ideas at Savannah. He just needs to be greatly available: we can afford the risk of experimenting and breaking something at Savannah only if we compensate this with an important reactivity. This also applies to veteran admins ;)