Posted on Tue 01 May 2018 in misc

For the whole month of April, I made a personal goal to take a break from participating in open source and the community.

First of all, thank you to everyone who gave me lots of moral support about this!

I felt kind of guilty at first. I was worried if my non-activity would mean that other Python core devs will have to pick up the slack.

But let's give more credit to the core devs! Python has flourished for 20+ years without my involvement. One month without me is fine.

I still did some volunteering 😥

Some of these I sort of anticipated, many were unexpected.

Released cherry_picker v1.1.0

I had offered to help Andrew Svetlov with building a GitHub bot similar to miss-islington, but for maintaining aiohttp. Part of the work needed to be done is to make cherry_picker customizable for other projects. Andrew had made the necessary code changes, but there was one small bug. All I needed to do was review the PR, approve it, and publish the fix to PyPI. It didn't take too much of my time, so I was quite happy to do it.

Shadowed Larry and Barry

This might sound cryptic, but I'll leave it at that for now. I'm also not quite sure how it came to be, but this was something the BDFL asked me to do. Who am I to say no?

Organized a PyLadies Vancouver meetup

I was hoping my co-organizers could take care of this for me, and I wished I didn't have to be involved. But we were having trouble finding a sponsor who would host our April meetup. (I will rant about this in detail some other time).

We reached out to at least five companies, and even tried booking a free meeting room at Vancouver Public Library. Our requests were either denied or ignored.

I asked other meetup organizers and several Python friends in town for help. In the end, we pushed the event to May, and Cisco stepped up to host.

Got myself invited to yet another community Slack channel

Related to our difficulty with finding a meetup venue, the experience prompted me to reach out to the other meetup organizers in town. One group I talked to called themselves the Gastown Gang. Previously, they had lured me in with promises of pasta. 🍝😋

No pasta yet, but we had been talking about a new initiative for shared resources among the local meetup communities in Vancouver, how things can be more transparent and open, and how the different communities can help and support each other. Somehow this ended with me joining a new community Slack team. 😛

Volunteered to write the docs for PEP 557: Data Classes

I had volunteered to do it a couple months ago, but never got around doing anything. After a gentle ping from an eager member of the community, I emailed Eric and Raymond to see if we could sprint on this at PyCon.

I engaged with the community, on Twitter

Ok maybe engaged was not the right word. More like, ... provoked?

I expressed my extreme disappointment to the community. I knew the risks and the repercussions for speaking up about diversity issues. But I did it anyway.

And then the twitter broke. I mean, the twitter on my phone broke.

After having to block three people, I deleted the app for the rest of the month.

Read up about PEP 572

Several Python core devs told me about this PEP, so I read some of the python-dev emails about it. Keeping personal opinions to myself. 🤐

I really DID take time off!

Other than Andrew's PR, I didn't review any other pull requests.

Did not read any mailing list emails, except that one thread about PEP 572.

Did not follow any issues in the bug tracker, except for bpo-3692. But that was raised at work, so I don't consider it as volunteering.

I read Twitter only for my own notifications, mentions, and direct messages, up until the weekend where my twitter broke.

What did I do for my own me time?

Put in extra effort for my work at Zapier

I got a couple new features shipped! 🌮 They're documented here and there. 😄 I'm working on a new feature, wanted by several partners. Stay tuned!

Netflix and ...

🤭 Eh, ... I watched a lot of shows on Netflix: All 3 seasons of Hannibal, Lucky Number Slevin, and Troy: Fall of a City.

Played Ramen Sensei on my phone 🍜

I'm still under the delusion that I can successfully run a ramen shop if I ever need to leave tech.

Went to my oldest son's first piano recital 🎹

He did great! 😊

Worked on my GitHub Bot tutorial

I spent two weekend afternoons to work on the tutorial. While I open-sourced the material, I don't count this as a volunteer work since I'll be getting paid for it at PyCon. Thanks to Brett who reviewed it.

Investigated if we could get a pet turtle

Let's not tell my kids about this. After one afternoon of reading how to care for a pet turtle, I realized I don't really want additional responsibilities.

Watched My Little Pony

My kids are into My Little Pony these days. Not something I'm familiar with. I'm still learning all the ponies' name.

Did my taxes

Procrastinated doing it until pretty much the final day.

Stuff I wanted to do, but didn't

  • I had been working on a pull request for Warehouse. I was planning to find some time to finish it up, but didn't. 😥
  • I've been wanting to do at least some kind of cooking, baking, try out new recipe, or at least make a batch of handmade noodles. None of that happened. 😕
  • My review was requested for a bugfix PR to cherry_picker. I still haven't looked at it. 😔


  • I received a happiness packet. Thanks Anna. 💖
  • Met up with my friends Seb and Dan. We chatted about the community, about PyCon, and, of course, about how awesome f-strings are. I also got Dan to autograph my copy of his book! 🤩
  • Received compliments about miss-islington and my GitHub Bot tutorial. Thanks Bruno and Jeff. 😊
  • Found out that my tutorial at PyCon is now full! 😳️
  • Thankful for the supportive Python community. 💖

What now

I miss getting involved in open source, and being part of the community. But I have other priorities for the moment.

I'm still wanting a break from contributing to open source for another month, except when I'm at PyCon for the sprints.

I will however, start getting involved in my local Python community again. I need to follow up with Gastown Gang, and start planning the next PyLadies Vancouver meetups.

I'm so looking forward to PyCon! Can't wait for my next ice cream selfie!

Things to improve

The past month still felt busier than I wanted to. I'm still thinking up better ways to do this. 😥

Better Gmail filters

I needed to adjust the email filters several times to get it right. I think it is still not optimal. Some emails from GitHub and b.p.o were still going through.

Some important emails got missed, because the sender uses an email system that always include the word "unsubscribe". 🤷🏻‍♀️

Delete twitter on my phone

I should have done it from the get go. I should not even bother with checking my mentions or direct messages. It got me into trouble.

O-O-OS autoreply GitHub bot

I was thinking it might be cool to have my own out-of-open source autoreply GitHub bot. For example if someone mentions me or requested review from me, the bot can respond on my behalf and let people know that I won't get to it for a while, so they can find someone else. But I'm worried it'll just add noise to the thread. More design is needed.

Choose a different month

I'll definitely do this again next year. Question is, which month? 😅

I'm learning now that the months before and during PyCon are busy times of the year for a Python core developer. Same as any month where there's a scheduled release it seems.

Will it be so irresponsible if I choose to be off during those months? And do I need to co-ordinate with other core devs so we don't all go on a break at the same time?

Why is this so complicated? 🙃