Reproductibility project: December 2023 report

Here is a summary of what has happened on the reproducibility project last month.

The hiring process for the designer finally concluded and I am very happy to have been joined by @zoecooper at the beginning of December, who is working on the project as a designer.
As expected, my main focus was therefore on her onboarding to OpenRefine as a whole first, before we get into the weeds of the reproducibility project. This obviously means getting familiar with the tool itself, by watching videos, reading documentation, using the tool together and working on a small data cleaning challenge I came up with. It's a fantastic opportunity to see someone do their first steps with the tool. I have tried to write down what aspects of the tool she found counter-intuitive when I could observe it and encourage her to do so too, which has led to nice issues on GitHub. The onboarding process is also about getting familiar with GitHub, the forum, the general structure of the project, the people involved and so on. It is a rather uncommon working environment after all, so I think it's worth taking the time to do this right. As we live a quick train ride away from each other, we have also had one in-person meeting to get started on the project, which felt quite useful to me. We plan to do more of them.

On the development side of things, I mostly did more testing and debugging around concurrent long-running operations. I don't have any new user-facing feature to share there. The goal was to do as much testing as I could on my side to eliminate bugs I am aware of, to prepare the tool to being exposed to other users in testing sessions run by @zoecooper. But I didn't get to do as much of that as I hoped: the end of the year was also a period with increased activity in other areas of the project, for instance a push to finish the reconciliation project with @Ayushi_Rai, @Lydiaofficial and @lozanaross, and starting the release process for 3.8 which feels quite overdue.

I also took a break, which felt much needed and was very helpful to start the new year with renewed motivation.