Contributing to psiTurk

Note: This guide is copied more or less from the contributors guidelines of the gunicorn project. Alternations were made for the nature of this particular project. An up to date copy of this guide always resides here.

Want to contributed to psiTurk? Awesome! Here are instructions to get you started. We want to improve these as we go, so please provide feedback.

Contribution guidelines

Pull requests are always welcome

We are always thrilled to receive pull requests, and do our best to process them as fast as possible. Not sure if that typo is worth a pull request? Do it! We will appreciate it.

If your pull request is not accepted on the first try, don’t be discouraged! If there’s a problem with the implementation, hopefully you received feedback on what to improve.

We’re trying very hard to keep psiTurk lean, focused, and useable. We don’t want it to do everything for everybody. This means that we might decide against incorporating a new feature. However, there might be a way to implement that feature on top of psiTurk.

Discuss your design on the mailing list

We recommend discussing your plans in our Google group before starting to code - especially for more ambitious contributions. This gives other contributors a chance to point you in the right direction, give feedback on your design, and maybe point out if someone else is working on the same thing.

Create issues...

Any significant improvement should be documented as a github issue before anybody starts working on it.

...but check for existing issues first!

Please take a moment to check that an issue doesn’t already exist documenting your bug report or improvement proposal. If it does, it never hurts to add a quick “+1” or “I have this problem too”. This will help prioritize the most common problems and requests.

Conventions

Fork the repo and make changes on your fork in a new feature branch:

  • If it’s a bugfix branch, name it XXX-something where XXX is the number of the issue
  • If it’s a feature branch, create an enhancement issue to announce your intentions, and name it XXX-something where XXX is the number of the

issue.

Make sure you include relevant updates or additions to documentation when creating or modifying features.

Write clean code.

Pull requests descriptions should be as clear as possible and include a reference to all the issues that they address.

Code review comments may be added to your pull request. Discuss, then make the suggested modifications and push additional commits to your feature branch. Be sure to post a comment after pushing. The new commits will show up in the pull request automatically, but the reviewers will not be notified unless you comment.

Commits that fix or close an issue should include a reference like Closes #XXX or Fixes #XXX, which will automatically close the issue when merged.

Add your name to the THANKS file, but make sure the list is sorted and your name and email address match your git configuration.

Contributing to the docs

Our docs are currently hosted at readthedocs. Readthedocs uses Sphinx as the backend for their documentation so in order to update the docs you will first have to install Sphinx simply by typing

easy_install -U Sphinx

on the command line.

There’s a Makefile in the docs directory, so you can generate the docs by running make on the command line, for example:

make html

will generate the html docs in _build/html. Running make with no arguments will show you the available subcommands.

All documentation files are in the docs folder and are formatted as reStructured Text. A good, detailed manual for the reStructured Text syntax can be found here.

Some essentials:

The index page is the main page that users see will see when they open the docs. It is also how readthedocs generates the sidebar that contains all the names of individual pages in the documentary so it is important that this is formatted correctly.

The main important feature is the toctree.

The toctree just looks like this:

.. toctree::
  forward
  install
  quickstart
  recording

Sphinx will go through the pages listed in the toctree, search for subject headers and create both links for the index page and the sidebar in the correct format in the order that the pages are listed. For this reason, it is also very important that subjected headers be used correctly on the individual pages. For example, the forward page has a title that looks like this:

Forward
=======

and subtitles that look like this:

What is psiTurk?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It actually doesn’t matter what character you use for the underline, it can be any of

= - ` ‘ ” : ~ ^ _ * + # < >

but it must be consistent since all headers with the same character will be at the same level. For convenience, we are using ===== to mean title and ~~~~~ to mean sub header. Some other basic things in rST:

Links look like this:

``Getting psiTurk installed on your computer <install.html>``__

with the actual page in angle brackets. If the link is to another page within the docs, you only need to include the name of the page. Whenever you include a code example, put this line before:

.. code:: javascript

All pages on readthedocs.org (including this one) have a link to “Edit on Github.” This can be a great way to “steal” formatting ideas for your documentation edits.

Decision process

How are decisions made?

In general, all decisions affecting psiTurk, big and small, follow the same 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Open a pull request. Anyone can do this.
  • Step 2: Discuss the pull request. Anyone can do this.
  • Step 3: Accept or refuse a pull request. The little dictators do this (see below “Who decides what?”)

Who decides what?

psiTurk, like gunicorn, follows the timeless, highly efficient and totally unfair system known as Benevolent dictator for life. In the case of psiTurk, there are multiple little dictators which are the core members of the gureckislab research group and alumni. The dictators can be emailed at authors@psiturk.org.

For new features from outside contributors, the hope is that friendly consensus can be reached in the discussion on a pull request. In cases where it isn’t the original project creators John McDonnell and/or Todd Gureckis will intervene to decide.

The little dictators are not required to create pull requests when proposing changes to the project.

Is it possible to become a little dictator if I’m not in the Gureckis lab?

Yes, we will accept new dictators from people esp. engaged and helpful in improving the project.

How is this process changed?

Just like everything else: by making a pull request :)