Sheriffing @ Mozilla – checkin-needed

January 26th, 2017 by cbook
Working as Sheriff @ Mozilla is much more than just monitoring our trees and doing things like backouts. In 2017 i wanted to start to blog more about what we do and here is:
Part 1 – Checkin-needed
A lot of checkins land everyday on the Mozilla repositories. Some are great new features and improvements and some are bugfixes of existing bugs etc.
While a lot of checkins are done by the developers themselves, also sheriffs are involved in this.
We not only monitor the Mozilla repositories (aka the tree) we also do checkins for people who don’t have the appropriate level of permission to check in changes (for example new community members).
In the past checkin-needed was used by developers to reduce load on our build systems with fewer pushes but with a more robust build system this isn’t relevant anymore. 
So checkin-needed is more and more important for developers without access-levels to do commits and, as mentioned, new community members who for example finished their first patch.
To request checkin-needed people use this keyword in Bugzilla or use the [checkin-needed-beta] or [checkin-needed-aurora] whiteboard entry for the patches in a bug.
For me personal is checkin-needed a very important task because you sometime check in a patch from someone who just started to contribute to Mozilla. So you are one of the people that are the first contacts to the new contributor and you help them getting the patch landed. Thats also a good opportunity to say “thanks for contributing to Mozilla” to the new community member, this is great motivation and recognition! 
How we work :
We have a wiki page with a bug query and some basic information for the Sheriff on Duty [1]. We use this query to get a overview what bugs need checkins.
For bugs with a patch attached that is not on mozreview we check the checkin-neeed request for:
    -> Has proper review before doing anything else
    -> Has a successful try run to avoid any bustage on checkin
and land the patch on mozilla-inbound.
For bugs with patches in mozreview we use the autoland tool to do the checkins. 
However we still check if the bug has review and check the try run.
This is the preferred way of doing checkin-neededs since autoland is an automated system.
How can you help 
  • ->  Use Mozreview – Autoland – it helps us to do more checkins in less time due to the automated tasks. Please make sure that there are no open issues in Mozreview when you request checkin-needed. In fact, you can land them yourself with autoland. In the future, checkin-needed will only be allowed on security bugs.
  • -> Make sure that you have a passing try run. It is a waste of the sheriffs time to come look at a checkin-needed and it has failures in the try run.
  • -> When you have multiple patches that need to land and the patches need to land in a specific order – please make a comment in the bug with the correct order.
  • -> When there are dependencies with other bugs – please state this in the bug.  
We try to do checkin-needed checks and checkins several times a day depending on sheriff workload etc so we cannot guarantee a turnaround time but trying to do our best.
When you have feedback/suggestions or idea how to do this task better let us know anytime!
Also as every part of the Mozilla Project we also depend on Community Members like you! So if you are interested to be become a Community Sheriff let me know!
– Tomcat

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