Getting involved in CLLARE

From CSTART Wiki

There is no real "official" way to get involved in CLLARE. Whatever works, works. However, the steps outlined in this article are a sort of Platonic ideal for how somebody might go about getting involved in CLLARE. If you follow them all, chances are you'll be able to make an excellent impression and a solid contribution to the project.

Of course, some of the general advice in being a helpful member of CSTART will indirectly help CLLARE as well.


[edit] Step 1: Choose your workgroup(s)

Work in the CLLARE project is divided into workgroups which are as close to independent as possible. The current workgroups are:

You can be involved with as few or as many workgroups as you like, but you will probably be more helpful by getting deeply involved in one or two groups than by just occasionally helping out in all of them - but don't be afraid to do whatever you think will make you the most helpful.

The names of the workgroups should make it obvious what sort of things each one does, but if you're having trouble getting a feel for things, try reading "What's involved in CLLARE?", or just read each workgroup's main Wiki page.

[edit] Step 2: Background reading

If you have a lot of knowledge and experience in the matters dealt with by the workgroups you choose to join, perhaps by virtue of a university degree or a day job, you can probably skip this step. If you are more of an amateur, you will probably need to educate yourself a bit before you can make really useful contributions (but don't feel like you need to be an expert before you can say anything).

Each CLLARE workgroup has a "Suggested reading" Wiki page which you can find a link to from its main Wiki page. The suggested reading pages contain links to Wikipedia articles and other online resources discussing things relevant to the workgroup. Most suggested reading pages have a few fairly basic links suitable for beginners, and hopefully in time we will amass a good collection of more advanced links.

If you're a university student, or your local university allows public use of its library, you should check out your library. Many university libraries have a lot of excellent space related references from the glory days of the Space Race, often including official NASA technical reports and the like.

[edit] Step 3: See what needs to be done

Each CLLARE workgroup has an "Open tasks" Wiki page which you can find a ink to from its main Wiki page. The open tasks pages detail tasks which have not yet been completed by that workgroup. The list may not always be a complete list of everything that will have to be done, but it will list the problems which are most relevant at the time. Identify an open task or two that you are interested in helping to solve before going any further.

[edit] Step 4: Check the forums for the latest ideas

Ideas on how to solve open tasks are usually proposed and discussed in the forums. Each CLLARE workgroup has its own subforum, so it should be easy to find ideas which have been previously discussed. Before you invest too much time in solving an open task, check out recent posts to the relevant workgroup's subforum to see if anybody else has been working on the same task or if some ideas have already been discussed and ruled out. Once you are comfortable with the current state of affairs for your chosen workgroup and/or specific open tasks, you will be ready to start thinking about or working on solutions. But first...

[edit] Step 5: Read the Design Philosophy. Twice!

If you haven't already done so, read the CSTART Design Philosophy carefully. You don't need to memorise its verbatim expression, but you should make sure you have the essential spirit of the document firmly entrenched in your mind. Keep it in mind during all following steps.

[edit] Step 6: Get talking!

Now it's time to get talking! Pitch your ideas in the relevant subforum, or comment on other people's ideas. Don't be afraid to create diagrams, run simulations or write code - post everything useful you can on the forums and solicit feedback. Don't worry too much about completeness or quality. If a half-completed idea is good, eventually someone will do the work to complete it. The main thing is to stimulate discussion and get ideas flowing.

[edit] Step 7: Slowly update the Wiki

Once discussions in the forum have converged on agreement about a particular design decision, the Wiki should be updated to reflect this. One day there may be a formal voting procedure in place to control the progression of ideas from the "under discussion" state in the forums to the "agreed upon" state in the Wiki, but for now it works simply by taking things slow, acting in good faith and not getting too attached to your ideas. If a particular solution to a problem is obviously the best one out there, or if a large proportion of the active members in the relevant workgroup have agreed that the solution is a good one, it's probably time to add it to the Wiki. If people are still debating the pros and cons, it should probably be left out, or added as a quick and uncertain reference, like "Current considerations for X are focused on Y, but alternatives may yet be proposed".

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