Kadalu RFCs

Many changes, including bug fixes and documentation improvements can be implemented and reviewed via the normal GitHub pull request workflow.

Some changes though are "substantial", and we ask that these be put through a bit of a design process and produce a consensus among the Kadalu community and the [sub-team]s.

The "RFC" (request for comments) process is intended to provide a consistent and controlled path for new features to enter the Kadalu echosystem, so that all stakeholders can be confident about the direction the community.

When you need to follow this process

You need to follow this process if you intend to make "substantial" changes to repos in github/kadalu organization, or the RFC process itself. What constitutes a "substantial" change is evolving based on community norms and varies depending on what part of the ecosystem you are proposing to change, but may include the following.

  • Any semantic or syntactic change that is not a bugfix.

  • Removing features, including those that are feature-gated.

  • API changes

  • CLI changes

Some changes do not require an RFC:

  • Rephrasing, reorganizing, refactoring, or otherwise "changing shape does not change meaning".

  • Additions that strictly improve objective, numerical quality criteria (warning removal, speedup, better platform coverage, more parallelism, trap more errors, etc.)

  • Additions only likely to be noticed by other developers, invisible to users.

If you submit a pull request to implement a new feature without going through the RFC process, it may be closed with a polite request to submit an RFC first.

Gathering feedback before submitting

It’s often helpful to get feedback on your concept before diving into the level of API design detail required for an RFC. You may open an issue on this repo to start a high-level discussion, with the goal of eventually formulating an RFC pull request with the specific implementation design. We also highly recommend sharing drafts of RFCs in #dev-rfc on the Kadalu Slack channel for early feedback.

The process

In short, to get a major feature added to Kadalu, one must first get the RFC merged into the RFC repo as a markdown file. At that point the RFC is 'active' and may be implemented with the goal of eventual inclusion into Kadalu.

  • Fork the RFC repo http://github.com/kadalu/rfcs

  • Copy the appropriate template. For most RFCs, this is 0000-template.adoc, for deprecation RFCs it is deprecation-template.adoc. Copy the template file to text/0000-my-feature.adoc, where 'my-feature' is descriptive. Don’t assign an RFC number yet.

  • Fill in the RFC. Put care into the details: RFCs that do not present convincing motivation, demonstrate understanding of the impact of the design, or are disingenuous about the drawbacks or alternatives tend to be poorly-received.

  • Fill in the relevant core teams. Use the table below to map from projects to teams.

  • Submit a pull request. As a pull request the RFC will receive design feedback from the larger community, and the author should be prepared to revise it in response.

  • Find a champion on the relevant core team. The champion is responsible for shepherding the RFC through the RFC process and representing it in core team meetings.

  • Update the pull request to add the number of the PR to the filename and add a link to the PR in the header of the RFC.

  • Build consensus and integrate feedback. RFCs that have broad support are much more likely to make progress than those that don’t receive any comments.

  • Eventually, the [core teams] will decide whether the RFC is a candidate for inclusion in Kadalu.

  • RFCs that are candidates for inclusion in Kadalu will enter a "final comment period" lasting 7 days. The beginning of this period will be signaled with a comment and tag on the RFC’s pull request. Furthermore, Kadalu’s official Twitter account will post a tweet about the RFC to attract the community’s attention.

  • An RFC can be modified based upon feedback from the [core teams] and community. Significant modifications may trigger a new final comment period.

  • An RFC may be rejected by the [core teams] after public discussion has settled and comments have been made summarizing the rationale for rejection. The RFC will enter a "final comment period to close" lasting 7 days. At the end of the "FCP to close" period, the PR will be closed.

  • An RFC may also be closed by the core teams if it is superseded by a merged RFC. In this case, a link to the new RFC should be added in a comment.

  • An RFC author may withdraw their own RFC by closing it themselves.

  • An RFC may be accepted at the close of its final comment period. A [core team] member will merge the RFC’s associated pull request, at which point the RFC will become 'active'.

The RFC life-cycle

Once an RFC becomes active the relevant teams will plan the feature and create issues in the relevant repositories. Becoming 'active' is not a rubber stamp, and in particular still does not mean the feature will ultimately be merged; it does mean that the core team has agreed to it in principle and are amenable to merging it.

Furthermore, the fact that a given RFC has been accepted and is 'active' implies nothing about what priority is assigned to its implementation, nor whether anybody is currently working on it.

Modifications to active RFC’s can be done in followup PR’s. We strive to write each RFC in a manner that it will reflect the final design of the feature; but the nature of the process means that we cannot expect every merged RFC to actually reflect what the end result will be at the time of the next major release; therefore we try to keep each RFC document somewhat in sync with the feature as planned, tracking such changes via followup pull requests to the document.

Implementing an RFC

The author of an RFC is not obligated to implement it. Of course, the RFC author (like any other developer) is welcome to post an implementation for review after the RFC has been accepted.

If you are interested in working on the implementation for an 'active' RFC, but cannot determine if someone else is already working on it, feel free to ask (e.g. by leaving a comment on the associated issue).

For Core Team Members

Reviewing RFCs

Each core team is responsible for reviewing open RFCs. The team must ensure that if an RFC is relevant to their team’s responsibilities the team is correctly specified in the 'Relevant Team(s)' section of the RFC front-matter. The team must also ensure that each RFC addresses any consequences, changes, or work required in the team’s area of responsibility.

As it is with the wider community, the RFC process is the time for teams and team members to push back on, encourage, refine, or otherwise comment on proposals.

Referencing RFCs

  • When mentioning RFCs that have been merged, link to the merged version, not to the pull-request.

Helpful checklists

Moving to FCP to Merge

  • ❏ Achieve consensus to move to "FCP to Merge" from relevant core teams

  • ❏ Comment in the RFC to address any outstanding issues and to proclaim the start of the FCP period

  • ❏ Tweet from @kadaluio about the FCP

  • ❏ Ensure the RFC has had the filename and header updated with the PR number

Move to FCP to Close

  • ❏ Achieve consensus to move to "FCP to Close" from relevant core teams

  • ❏ Comment in the RFC to explain the decision

Closing an RFC

  • ❏ Comment about the end of the FCP period with no new info

  • ❏ Close the PR

Merging an RFC

  • ❏ Achieve consensus to merge from relevant core teams

  • ❏ Ensure the RFC has had the filename and header updated with the PR number

  • ❏ Create a tracking card for the RFC implementation at {projects}

  • ❏ Update the RFC header with a link to the tracking

  • ❏ Merge

  • ❏ Update the RFC PR with a link to the merged RFC (The Rendered links often go stale when the branch or fork is deleted)

  • ❏ Ensure relevant teams plan out what is necessary to implement

  • ❏ Put relevant issues on the tracking

Kadalu’s RFC process owes its inspiration to the Rust RFC process and EmberJs RFC process

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