Contributors mailing list archives


Re: How can functional people "really" participate in OCA?

Komit Consulting, Jean-Charles Drubay
- 10/02/2020 04:24:23


In the past years, I also observed difficulties for functional people to contribute to OCA.

When I ask myself the question "Is there any known OCA contributor who does not have technical skills?" I find it hard to think of anyone.

So, I also came to the conclusion that existing OCA tools are not adapted to contributors who don't have technical skills.

We could argue that the step is not so big, that functional people would follow a guideline to create their PR. But deep inside me, foreseeing the step of such a guideline, thinking of the ease of edition of a Google Doc,  I have strong doubts about adoption unless we change tools.

I have also observed that most of the "good" contributions come from a small number of people who are doing very  high quality work and are investing a lot of time. Big thanks to them.

Before jumping into solutions, we should try to answer the following questions:

- What are the types of contributions for contributors without technical skills? (see the first answer from Maxime)

- What is the current process?

- What tools for which contributions?

- If changing tools what is the cost (money / time / moderation level: keeping trolls away vs. review of the changes before accepting the contributions)? Can OCA do it?

- What the non-technical Contributors should expect from the Community?

I am sorry for the length of this message, I imagine the best would be to split this discussion per type of contribution, I did not see it coming but I had a lot in mind.

Here I started to share some of the answers to these questions per type of contribution.

Update and improve the README per module

This is probably the second most important.

It's already readable nicely with images in list of modules within Odoo and in

I find the github presentation of the README nice too.

Is there a bigger need to publish README?

The problem is more about "How to edit and improve the content of the README?".

The current solution using github+PR is great because repo maintainers can review before merge and we have a good version control which seems important for this very important page.

Also, all the README are automatically published without the risk of duplicated/outdated content.

But this PR process is not intuitive for everyone. Should OCA do something about it to simplify it? Could have a feature where a logged-in contributor could simply edit the text of a README and submit the review with a nice UX to add images, preview the result, compare with the past README, list my on-going submissions, Call for attention from maintainers?

In the back-ground, could take care of submitting the PR.

In the README, we could have a message "Suggest improvements for this README on"

Provide designs of new features on Github using issues & Challenge designs proposed by others

A forum could be a better place than a mailing list, but mailing lists do the job and have been in place for a while. Is there any real benefit of a forum instead?

Probably better indexing, more searchable, and easier to navigate / read the full discussion.

Contributors can expect feedback from other functional experts to refine their analysis and understanding of an issue to make better and more generic so it could be integrated into OCA repo later on. Also, there are often some recommendations for existing modules.

However, the contributors should not expect a technical person to pick-up that specification and start coding.

Maybe a small feature / tag to "Request for a quote" would be welcome so Technical Contributors could sell their services in a more private way,  but OCA could get a commission from that recommendation.

Report issues

All functional and technical issues are in the same place and it's probably fine like this because quite often a classification is required.

When it comes to functional changes, maybe some functional issues can be closed and reopened as a forum discussion.

When it comes to Functional Support, maybe it's more about improving the quality of the README.

When it is a real defect, then it should be kept open as an issue.

What to expect from the community after an issue is created? Today, nothing... but tomorrow? Maybe also a "Request for a quote" feature? Because the probability a defect is being corrected by a kind technical contributor is low unless he/she face that issue and he/she must correct it?

Test new PRs on Runbot

Yes, but if we expect support for testing, then I think we need to make it way easier to start testing a PR because for the time being that not intuitive all all:

Click on runbot link at the bottom of a PR, search based on the PR ID (seriously?! is it documented somewhere),  understand how to read / use the runbot page, if you are lucky you can test click on a button to enter the test instance with a login / password that you must know (know or die here), 

We could ask the contributor of the PR to add a "magic" link to with the login info to call some kind of "magic bot".

That magic link available in the description of the PR could rebuild the test environment if necessary and redirect to the suitable odoo login page.

How about a module installed on all OCA odoo instances on runbot that would display / present the login and password on the login page to admin / admin?

Test existing modules on Runbot

For existing modules, it's fairly easy to test with the Try Me button on the Readme, but here again sometimes we need to force rebuild and it's not too easy to know what should be done once you land on the runbot page.

That Magic link to test new PRs could also help here.

Translate modules on Weblate

No opinion on Weblate

Participate and provide their opinions on the various mailing lists

If all points are moved out of Mailing Lists, what will be left to discuss in the mailing list? Maybe not much...

Maybe all this could be also in a Forum.

About solutions

+1 for a forum that could make functional contributors discuss comfortably.

+1 for README in github with the great process of Pull request + Review before merge and avoid duplicated content BUT tools to facilitate contributions

+1 for google doc to compile contributions of ideas for the specifications for a module => But I guess this can be agreed when there is such a need appearing within a forum discussion

-1 for a wiki: because I don't think OCA as the resources to moderate and review the content

Maybe the forum could have a dedicated "Category" for each OCA-repo and and "Sub-Category" per "Module". Discussions could be linked to a module, but for a new module the discussion should at least start in the correct repo/Category.

Keep the Readme on Github , but add 2 links [1] for the guideline on how to update the README (how to do a PR + how to format RST) and [2] a link to the dedicated Sub-category page on the forum.

Getting started as a contributor

Probably the most important to on-board new contributors, maybe not directly related to this thread so ... 

Yet this page as some "issues":

  • No future event referenced: not an issue but not encouraging, if we have no event to promote we should not put this as the first link

  • IRC channel: could we find something easier to use? Is it still in use? That's definitely not a "Functional Friendly" communication tool.

  • Testing is not mentioned in "How can you help?"

  • Should we have a dedicated section for the maintenance of the README ?


Jean-Charles Drubay / Komit /

On Sun, Feb 9, 2020 at 2:37 AM Graeme Gellatly <> wrote:

Not really. Preferably something we already have / dont need to do install. That's why I thought gsuite as we already have it and it costs us nothing. Plus I imagine it ranks well. But I'm not a big user of forums since they closed the odoo ones. Others will know better.

On Sun, 9 Feb 2020, 2:57 AM Maxime Chambreuil, <> wrote:
I think we can start by setting a forum and use the wiki at

From there, we can evaluate in a year if it's a success by looking at the number of members/posts and contributors/pages.

If it works for the few of us, others will pick it up and join.

Greame, do you have a software forum in mind?

For those interested in the wiki, what do you think of the current structure? If you want to make changes, I can set you up as an administrator. I am happy to share the ball here.


El sáb., 8 de febrero de 2020 06:37, Pedro M. Baeza (Tecnativa) <> escribió:
I don't like Wiki pages as you propose, as we will duplicate data and have inconsistencies between both sources. There must be only one source. What we can do is to create a Wiki page for teaching how to propose a modification in README.rst files of the modules / of the repository for newbie people that is not used to GitHub, and add massively in all the README files this link (we have tools for this) in a special section. Something like:

Is this README not accurated or are there missing things you have detected? Please visit xxx to learn how you can propose changes in it.

I know there's still the barrier of RST formatting, but usual redaction doesn't require it (and we can teach about usual formatting things like bold or italic - GitHub also includes some buttons for them in the top bar).


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