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GSoC 2023

Owner: Dom
Helpers: Anish, Rajat


Quick summary: it should be enough for any reader wanting to know what their responsibilities are (and to read the related notes) to check their role descriptions under Phase-independent responsibilities and Current phase.

This document lists the responsibilities, related instructions and guidelines for a GSoC program. GSoC is made up of multiple phases, each of which have different responsibilities. This document is structured accordingly. Phase-independent responsibilities are listed, then phase-dependent responsibilities are divided into whether it’s the current phase, a previous phase, or an upcoming phase. Between phases, the GSoC team roles, membership and responsibilities are variant. The rest of the document is under the Details section, which holds guides, links and instructions, and it’s linked as needed from the responsibility lists.

Phase-independent responsibilities


  • Be an org admin for GSoC
  • Be extremely familiar with the GSoC program, including
  • Keep an eye on any GSoC related emails and action items, and ensure the rest of the team completes any action items
  • Keep an eye on GSoC related deadlines and timelines
  • Keep our custom GSoC calendar up-to-date
  • Includes keeping track of recurring tasks
  • Follow up on requests from GSoC (e.g. filling out forms about impact of GSoC on Mathesar), since it builds goodwill
  • Generally keep an eye on GSoC process efficiency and make improvements to processes or documentation as needed

Current phase

Ranking phase

Starts 2023-04-04, ends 2023-04-27.


Role Assignees
Owner (aka Admin) Dominykas
Candidate helper Anish, Rajat, Dominykas
Mentor Anyone that’s a mentor in a GSoC project idea



Candidate helper

  • Help candidates with their late contributions
    • During the ranking phase, candidates might still be making contributions, which might be useful when ranking their proposals
  • See helping guidelines


  • Facilitate final proposal ranking
  • Make sure the rankings are submitted in a timely manner
    • Consider attempting to balance that against doing final reviews late in the phase so that candidates have more time to make contributions

Previous phases

Proposal phase

Starts 2023-03-20, ends 2023-04-04.


Role Assignees
Owner (aka Admin) Dominykas
Candidate greeter/helper Anish, Rajat, Dominykas



Candidate greeter/helpers


  • Monitor GSoC draft applications and ensure they all get reviewed in a timely manner.
    • Follow up with other team members as needed.
  • Keep track of issues that have already been assigned and un-assign them after 7 days of inactivity.
    • Anish is doing this, but itโ€™s good to keep an eye on this.
    • may be helpful, it sorts by last activity.
  • Ensure there are enough open issues for GSoC contributors to work on OR revise the applicant guide to remove the contribution requirement and come up with an alternate way to evaluate candidates (maybe have a standard backend and frontend task for everyone).


Final proposal review

Performed in two passes. First pass is that the spammy or obviously unfitting proposals are filtered out. Likely performed by the owner. Second pass is where the mentors evaluate proposals for the projects they are mentoring, and those who interacted with the candidates evaluate the candidates. All of this is done in the final review spreadsheet. The final rankings are derived by sorting the approved proposals on their scores and their authors’ (candidates’) scores.

In the second pass, each proposal for a given project idea has the same three reviewers. Two of them are the project idea’s mentors. The third is another member of the team, preferably someone with an outside perspective on the project idea. The reviewers for candidates are assigned based on who interacted most with them on the issue tracker.

Effort is put in so that the workload distribution between the proposal reviewers is equal-ish and/or practical.

Final proposal review instructions

The final review consists of reviewing each candidate and each proposal. That is done in two separate sheets within the final review spreadsheet. See detailed instructions below.

Candidate review

  1. Go to the current final review spreadsheet
  2. Go to the sheet titled “Second pass, candidate”
  3. Find a candidate that you are a reviewer of, and that you have not yet scored
  4. Inspect the candidate’s contributions in the issue tracker and score the candidate
    • notice the links to the candidate’s PRs, issues created, and issues assigned
    • inspect all aspects of the candidate’s activity in the issue tracker, not only the code contribution
    • consider reaching out to teammates that might have had insightful interactions with your candidate, unless these teammates are already assigned to review this candidate
  5. Repeat from the beginning until you’ve scored all of the candidates you’re a reviewer of
  6. If this marks the end of your candidate and proposal reviews, notify the admin of you having completed the scoring, via the same channel through which you were requested to perform it (probably via an email thread)

Proposal review

  1. Go to the current final review spreadsheet
  2. Go to the sheet titled “Second pass, proposal”
  3. Find a proposal that you are a reviewer of, and that you have not yet scored
  4. Familiarize with the proposal’s project idea by reading its wiki page
  5. Inspect the proposal’s PDF and score the proposal
    • if you’re getting errors when trying to load the PDF, you might have to navigate to, log out (if you’re logged in), and log in
  6. Repeat from the beginning until you’ve scored all of the proposals you’re a reviewer of
  7. If this marks the end of your candidate and proposal reviews, notify the admin of you having completed the scoring, via the same channel through which you were requested to perform it (probably via an email thread)

Final proposal review spreadsheet

Draft proposal review

Who is responsible for a review

The primary mentor for a project is responsible for getting the project’s draft proposals reviewed. Primary mentors are encouraged to delegate part of their work to the secondary mentors, but, until that’s coordinated, the primary mentor is responsible for the proposal getting reviewed. Motivation for this rule is to prevent someone expecting the other mentor to step up without solicitation and thus resulting in delayed reviews.

Who is currently responsible for a review is tracked in the tracking spreadsheet.

Internal draft proposal tracking spreadsheet

This spreadsheet gets a row added automatically for every draft proposal submitted via our submission form. It also tracks whether a review is pending, who is responsible for a pending review, and who and when reviewed a given proposal. Respective mentors are expected to keep all of this up-to-date.

Do not remove rows from the spreadsheet. You might be tempted to do this for multiple review requests for the same person, but that would impede admin’s ability to track the submit-review process: for example, the admin needs to know if certain proposals are waiting for a review for a long time, and if all but the most recent are removed, the admin doesn’t know when it was first submitted; if you remove all but the oldest, the admin doesn’t know that the candidate is making repeated review requests.

Draft review instructions

  1. Use the tracking spreadsheet to tell which reviews you have pending
  2. Read the proposal and provide feedback via Google Doc comments
  3. (Recommended) Place general comments on the title of the proposal (or somewhere thereabouts); this seems to have become an unwritten rule (until now) amongst some of the mentors
  4. Once done, add a general comment saying that the review is finished, so that the status of the review is not ambiguous to the candidate
  5. (Recommended) Ask that the candidate resubmit via the same draft proposal form he originally used, when/if he wants to request a new review; this way the admin will be able to track and notify of new requests for review, otherwise it’s the mentor’s responsibility
  6. Update the tracking spreadsheet

Greeting instructions

Suggested process:

  1. Notice new contributors
    • In Matrix, check the little visualizations above and below messages of new people joining to see who is new
  2. Welcome them, whether they’re active or engage first or not
  3. Preemptively remind them of our resources for self-guidance:
  4. the applicant guide
  5. or, the contributing guide
  6. Having provided a resource for self-guidance, encourage them to speak up if something is not clear.

Example in our Matrix General channel:

Welcome @practicat, @Joangie Marquez, @Mayank Arya, @shantanu oak, @krishav ๐Ÿ‘‹ If you're here for GSoC, don't forget to check out our [GSoC candidate guide](/community/mentoring/applicant-guide). If something is not clear, reach out!

Helping guidelines

A few things to keep in mind

  • Be on the watch for problems that might affect a lot of people, or few people but gravely
  • Don’t do new contributors’ work for them
  • Don’t be dismissive either
  • Refer them to resources for self-guidance (namely our applicant or contributing guides)
  • Politely remind of our expectation that contributors will be relatively self-sufficient and tolerant of minimal hand-holding

Greet/help schedule

We aim to greet and help new contributors (mostly GSoC candidates) multiple times per day (between all of us, not each). This schedule should act as a very rough guide, in practice we’ll often respond whenever we see a new message, but in case that’s inconvenient, use this schedule as a guide for when to perform this task.

Member Approximate time
Dominykas UTC 11:00
Anish UTC 4:30
Rajat UTC 4:30

Related conversation thread.

Office hours

Office hours are public sync meetings we host where community members (GSoC candidates mostly) join to get help. Previous year such meetings only received community participation just before the end of the proposal period. We’re currently planning to host these only during the last week of the proposal period.

We track community events, including office hours, on this Wiki page and GSoC-related events in our GSoC Calendar.

No early issue assigns

This rule should not be always applied. Its purpose is to maximize the number of issues candidates have available. Useful when number of issues available for candidates to prove themselves is low.

No-early-issue-assigns rule means that a contributor can be assigned to an issue only when he has a PR that reached some kind of completion (merged or killed).

See this conversation thread for the edge case this opens up where multiple PRs for the same issue compete to be merged

  • This rule should only be applied when evaluating candidates
  • Note to admin, make sure to evaluate whether number of issues is indeed low
  • Note to admin, consider selecting a subset of issues to which this rule should apply
    • E.g. in 2023 we had too few backend issues, but sufficient number of frontend issues


This Google calendar is used to track GSoC-related deadlines and related tasks.

Periodic process reviews and reports

GSoC administration involves periodic process reviews and reports. They are scheduled in the calendar. This thread tracks resulting updates:

Notes for future programs

Here we collect insights gained that might be useful during future programs:

  • We might benefit from checking project coherence earlier; in 2023 we didn’t have an explicit step checking for coherence: in terms of proposal (not candidate) filtering, one step was checking if the proposal is not too short, and the other was the final review.
  • In 2023, we had proposals that were known to their mentors to be strong (because their drafts were submitted for early review), but GSoC admin didn’t know that; if there were a way to communicate that to GSoC admin early, that would have saved some time;
  • A suggestion has been made that we could have each person, that interacted with a given candidate, give a self-weighted score to that candidate; a single score to compensate for the fact that this would mean people doing more reviews, and self-weighted (weight applied to score by reviewer) to compensate for not every reviewer having as much information about the candidate.

2023 proposal phase retrospective

    - PR reviews
    - We could do a retrospective of GSoC at the end of GSoC (end of summer)
    - Feels cynical
        - Example
            - 4 PRs for a single issue
                - 3 team members left 15 comments across them
                - at the end Sean submitted a PR himself
                    - took him 1 hour and Pavish didn't have critique
        - Hasn't seen the rewards of GSoC
        - Feels like a competitive classroom
            - As opposed to a community
        - GSoC sucks all of the good first issues
            - Makes them unavailable to contributors from outside GSoC
    - What are we open to considering changing (next year)?
    - Are there other ways we could evaluate candidates?
    - Ranking/scoring needs improvement, but went smoother than contributions

    - Many ways to solve candidate evaluation
        - We could have a test that people have to take
    - Too much core team time spent on candidates that might not be interesting
        - Seen other projects not engage with people until they've done some work
    - At CC
        - Less noise
        - Maybe GSoC is different these days
    - A lot of people don't put in the minimum of effort
    - People wanting to put things on their resume is not bad
        - It's an exchange
            - Problem is if the candidate doesn't offer anything

    - Many people were trying to pump up number of PRs they had
        - A single person did 7 good-first-issues
            - Instead of doing more difficult issues
        - Or single person doing many issues simultaneously

    - Lack of documentation is a test for contributors
    - A lot of contributors seem to treat GSoC as competitive
        - GSoC is something you can put on your resume
    - There should be a progression from easy to hard issues
        - For each contributor
    - Maybe contributors should come up with suggestions or ideas
        - Kriti: we've had bad experiences with this
    - GSoC candidates are often on Windows
        - Causes many Windows-related issues
            - Distorts feedback space
            - Actual users might not be on Windows
        - Kriti: we should just take this into account when triaging issues
    - Unequal distribution of proposals for project ideas
        - Many strong proposals for the same project idea
            - But many project ideas didn't get almost any proposals

    - Valuable contributors are those that actually want to add new features
        - They care
        - Sean:
            - 1 contributor on frontend that didn't come from GSoC

    - What percentage of time each of us spent on GSoC during the proposal phase?
        - Sean 60%
        - Pavish 50%
        - Kriti 20%
        - Mukesh 40%
        - Brent 20%
        - Anish 30%
        - Dom 100%