Metakgp:Governance/Election October 2017/SOP Srihari Radhakrishna

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I’m Srihari Radhakrishna, a fifth-year undergraduate student of the department of Electrical Engineering pursuing a dual degree with a specialization in Instrumentation and Signal Processing. I’m a boarder of Patel Hall of Residence. I am an Executive Editor with The Scholars’ Avenue and a debater with Debating Society, IIT Kharagpur.

I’m contesting to be elected one of the Maintainers of MetaKGP. My primary motivation for contention springs from my love for the community and projects. Moreover, various ideas on how the community could grow in terms of size and productivity drive my contention. For the duration of my role, if elected, my engagements are minimal and I can afford to spend sufficient amount of time on MetaKGP.

If elected as a maintainer, my primary intent would be to arrange for resources so that the community can grow organically - be it seeing projects to the finish line, organizing more avenues for knowledge transfer and of course, inviting more students to be actively contributing members.

My association with MetaKGP to date

I’ve been a passive member of the community so far with occasional participation in conversations on the Slack channel and few contributions to the wiki. But I’ve always kept a close tab on the developments in the community and of projects. Regardless of the results of the elections, I plan to proactively participate in conversations and contribute to MetaKGP in terms of content and technical facility, henceforth.

Broad Goals

If elected as a maintainer, these are the broad goals I’d like to affect:

  • Increased participation of students in MetaKGP activities.
  • Positively impact KGP community through regular projects/events - technical and otherwise.
  • Expand the perception of MetaKGP to more than just “a group of coders.”
  • Evolve the MetaKGP experience to more rewarding - in terms of learning, impact and social experience - for all those who are involved.

Proposals

Increasing the MetaKGP reach and participation

Problem: While Slack serves MetaKGP well for its needs, I believe it isn’t conducive for someone new to the community to get started. Content discovery isn’t quite as easy - for someone new to the community, information on current projects, past projects (and information about their success/failure) and proposals for newer ones aren’t readily available. There has to be a correlation between this observation and that most active members are people who took to the community in the early days. This is a stark contrast to the objective of the wiki, which is to ease access to information.

Solution: I propose a newsletter summarising the developments on projects and decisions made in conversations to be sent out every week. This will be sent out via a new Google Group and MetaKGP Facebook Page. It is to be noted that this doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the existing group on Slack in any manner and would largely be the responsibility of a maintainer. I would also be building a rather comprehensive getting started page and maybe plug it to Eva.

The following will roughly be the contents of the newsletter:

  • Current MetaKGP projects and how you can help
  • Proposals that were discussed in group conversations
  • Updates about any interesting additions to the wiki
  • Meetups, hackathons and any other events from (or relevant to) MetaKGP
  • Fun stuff

I intend to leverage the Facebook page to a larger extent as a tool for reaching out.

Workshops and Talks

In line with the two set of talks that were conducted previously, more talks can be conducted. Also, considering the amount of technical expertise in MetaKGP and otherwise in KGP, there is an opportunity to conduct workshops for transfer of knowledge about anything ranging from tools (like Keerthana’s workshop on Git and Vikrant’s preface to Docker) to research realms (say cryptography or deep learning).

Proposal: I intend to leverage my personal contacts and MetaKGP community to find people enthusiastic about conducting workshops on their areas of expertise. We can use the discussion on MetaKGP to figure what people are most enthused about learning. If properly publicised, I believe this can be a great way to engage more people with MetaKGP and for us to be even more relevant to KGP.

Hackdays

Hackdays are fun and as a maintainer, I want to enable more frequent hackathons. Hackdays introduce new projects, help contributors find projects and of course provides an impetus to build prototypes. Hackdays have been successfully conducted in the past but there is plenty space for improvement.

Proposal: I propose to brand the hackdays differently so that it provides an opportunity for anyone in the KGP community to come forward a present whatever they are working on. Hackdays can sound intimidating but I think with sufficient rebranding (through Facebook, Google Group and word of mouth), students would be incentivized to present their work. One way of doing this is to recharacterize the hackday presentations as an opportunity to present any work irrespective of when it was done or what it is about.

Recognition for contributions and SWAG

The community recognizes major contributors through the FB page and lists maintained on the wiki. I intend to institute practices to provide even more incentives for contributions apart from the inherent rewards. We can reward wiki contributions, code contributions, and hackday participations.

Proposal: SWAG. Now, obviously funding is the bottleneck. I intend to provide for this by possibly attracting sponsorship. Also, employed members may provide for SWAG and the fact that the infrastructure is largely financially supported by founders/members sets a precedent. Also, I intend to resume the practice of recognizing weekly top contributors.

Project Maintenance

As the maintainer, I would like to propose newer ways to think about working on projects so that they are even more impactful. For an average KGPian, MetaKGP is mfqp and/or mftp. It has to be observed that these projects were built and released over a shorter period of time and based on use, were worked upon to improve them. Contrast this with the development of Naarad which was elaborate but somehow failed to attain critical mass.

Proposal: This is less of a proposal and more of a way to think about projects. I think the team needs to show bias for action and be willing to experiment with ideas extensively until they hit the right spots. As a characteristic of the group of people who are actively working on projects, enthusiasm about building stuff precedes anything else. As a maintainer, I’d encourage project maintainers to actively push out their project in pre-beta stages to the KGP and use metrics and feedback to further develop the project.

Collaboration with other societies

I believe it’s conducive for MetaKGP's growth if we actively collaborate symbiotically with other societies on campus.

Proposal: I plan to actively communicate with heads of other societies to figure ways in which they can contribute to the growth of MetaKGP and vice versa. For example, I think there’s a lot of benefits to reaped of a collaboration between The Scholars’ Avenue and MetaKGP in that both these groups deal with information and getting them to KGPians. I would encourage and breed inventive ideas on ways in which such collaborations can be most effective.


Proposed Personal Contributions

As mentioned, I’d amp up my involvement with the community and would extensively contribute to the wiki and to projects. Also, there are a bunch of ideas that I’d love to present to the team, get feedback on and start working on.