For one reason or another, I enjoy helping others making progress. Whether that is helping them getting unstuck when they are up to their neck in quicksand, finding the right direction when they face the wrong one or becoming more knowledgable when they already are smart, it does not matter.
For those who know, I’m ofcourse talking about my ‘work’ in the jBPM forums, mainly the user-forum. In there I get an occasional compliment from users (and besides that many from the team) and just every now and then a negative remark from people who are (most of the time) not only jBPM newbies, but sometimes even total (java?) newbies and the ones that ‘complained’ probably did not get the help they wanted.
Just like with most (F)OSS projects there are things you do not know, like who your users are, how often it is used etc. These things all come with the ‘job’ and are certainly not what keeps me awake at night. And just like in any other project you have users who do not read sticky topics on how to post, think that we all know what they know, we have an infinite amount of time etc. Although having seen very different ways of thinking/reasoning by many, I more and more can make a guestimate (would not call it clairvoyant yet). And if you follow forums very close, you can see that all items addressed in one of the better ‘support documents‘ come by more often then I’d like. The question why they behave the way they do is also not what I’d like to know most. Some people learn when I try to educate them, others don’t. Luckily I can focus on the former ones, so it does not bother me to much.
No, the most intriguing question I’d like to know is something that is not visible in the forums because of what I think is a bug.
As you can see, my number of posts is …. “kukeltje”. Does not look completely right does it. Every now and then it triggers my curiosity how many posts did I make. A certain post in the forum and me handling it and pinging the core devs and their reply triggered it again:
Tom Baeyens wrote:
> Joram Barrez wrote:
> Thanks for the excellent handling in the forum, Ronald!
+9432523463 (ronald’s approx amount of posts)
I had no idea how far Tom was of, 10%, 15%, 42%? So I informally inquired if it was possible for someone within JBoss IT to do a manual query. Tom, very aware of the importance of the community and ‘politicallly aware and growing ;-)’ , pulled some strings (thanks Mark, Libor) and an answer came out at a moment that the question was still known (Deep Thought was not needed)
Well, how much of was he? 131372193.0779945% to be ‘precise’. In 4 years it turned out I made 7180 posts. Personally I hoped it was around the 10.000, so I admit that the initial number was a disappointment. Luckily, Tom did some preliminary calculations:
So 7180 / 4 years * 356 days/year is almost 5 posts a day, including holidays and weekends ! (me: it’s 365 Tom ;-))
Ronald, congrats. It deserves a statue !
Hmmm… not bad if you look at it this way. If you just take my average number of 200 working days into account, you get close to 9 posts a day. My personal impression is that it takes me around 1 hour per day, so that is an average of 6.67 minute per post. Well, believe me, the standard-deviation is huge… Heck, it is not even a normal distribution (I think).
Now the answer to the most intriguing question is known, let me show you some other numbers, derived from this one (I know the guestimate of 2 posts per topic used further on is not fully legit, since the last 2 years I replied more than before)
- 200 days, 1 hour/day over 4 years is 800 hours, 2/3 of a normal working year.
- 800 hours, €105 per hour excluding v.a.t (19% in the Netherlands) is €100.000 (including v.a.t.)
- On average that is €13.92 per post. With a ‘guestimate’ of an average of 2 posts per topic, that is over €40 per ‘support call’. Keep that in mind you all ;-)
- With 720 ‘pages’ in the jBPM user forum and 10 topics per page, you have 7200 topics. With the same average of 2 posts per topic, it means that I reply to 1 out of 2 topics.
Tom takes very well care of the volunteers in the jBPM community and I know he’d even like to do more. May I suggest to Red Hat/JBoss management, as I already did to Tom, that in the Netherlands volunteers are allowed to receive around €1500 tax free per year ;-)
See you all in the forum