User's Guide to the Google Summer of Code Website

User's Guide to the Google Summer of CodeTM 2012 Web Site

If you have a question that is not answered in this FAQ, discover a bug in the system, or have a feature request, please file an issue in the Melange issue tracker. Melange is the software that powers the Google Summer of Code 2012 site. For the sake of brevity, Google Summer of Code shall hereafter be referred to as "GSoC" throughout the documentation. For the sake of making this document more readable, the project ideas that students submit to an organization will be alternately called "proposals" and "applications." Accepted student proposals are called "projects". "Organization administrator", "org admin" and "organization admin" are used interchangeably.

This document is a work in progress and will be updated as additional system functionality becomes available based on the program timeline, e.g. when the student application period commences.

For a Belorussian translation of the document, please visit Paul Bukhovko's webpage.

System Documentation

System Frequently Asked Questions


System Documentation

There is one important thing every one who will be involved in Google Summer of Code 2012 should know, more so if you were student, mentor or organization administrator during one or more former Google Summer of Code programs. Melange has gone through a big makeover in last one year. The User Interface has transitioned from a previous datastore-centric design to the User Interface that focuses on the users and the actions they take. Keeping this in mind, a Dashboard has been introduced which caters all types of users who have a role in the system. So, if there is something that is related to your role that you have to find, Dashboard is most often the place where you will have to start looking for it. Dashboard is accessible from the global left hand navigation menu. Melange does not make some actions available on the Dashboard in only very rare circumstances.

    • User Roles for the GSoC 2012 Site

Users of Melange can have many roles. For example, a user may be an organization administrator for one organization and a mentor for the same/another organization, or a user may participate as a student one year and move on to mentor the next year.

The following roles exist in Melange:

Program Administrators: Program Administrators are Google employees who use the system to administer the program, e.g. harvest data from the system to discover how many participants we have from a particular country or to obtain your shipping address to send a t-shirt. Program Administrators can view any data within the system and have the ability to create Program Wide Documentation (e.g. FAQs) within the system. Additionally, they have all the same capabilities for those roles listed below.

Organization Administrators: Organization administrators submit an organization's application, and have the ability to invite system users to act as mentors or co-organization admins for their accepted organization. They have all the same system rights as Mentors, though if they wish to mentor a student they will also need to create a Mentor role profile. Users cannot act as an organization administrator and student for the same Program, but an organization administrator can act as an admin/mentor for another organization. All the organization administrators are mentors for that organization by default. They don't have to become mentors for the organization they are administrating explicitly.

Mentors: Mentors have the ability to review student applications and score them. Any user has the capability to apply as a mentor for any particular organization, though note that organization administrators must accept their request. Users cannot act as both mentor and student for the same Program, but a mentor can act as an organization administrator/mentor for another organization. Mentors are responsible for the projects they are mentoring during the GSoC's coding phase. They will also have the ability to submit evaluations when requested for the student projects they are mentoring.

Students: Students have the ability to submit a proposal to mentoring organizations and, if accepted into the program, the ability to submit evaluations when requested. If accepted, they will be able to edit their project pages where they can post updates about their project. Users cannot act as both student and mentor or or organization administrator for the same Program.

Guide for Organization Administrators
  •    Sign up as an organization administrator.
  1. Visit the URL for registering as organization administrator at http://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/profile/org_admin/google/gsoc2012
  2. If you had already created a profile on Melange during one of the previous programs, the top part of the form indicates what user you are logged in as. If this is not correct and you want to use the previously used account, click on the "Not you?" link to sign out and sign in with a different account.
  3. If you had never created a profile on Melange before you will have a field to enter your site-wide username as the first field in the profile form.
  4. By clicking Publish My Location, you are agreeing to us including you in our annual map linking Students to Mentors (for an example see the GSoC 2008 page) and to display your location (City, State/Province, Country level only) on your public profile page in the system. You can further manipulate your location using the Map field on the page.
  5. Please review the Mentoring Organization/Mentor Participant Agreement and, should you agree to the terms therein, click the "I Agree to the Admin Agreement" check box. You will notice that this agreement incorporates our Program FAQs and Terms of Service by reference. Make sure you have reviewed these documents prior to agreeing.
  6. Complete the rest of the form.
  7. Submit the form to create an organization administrator profile.
  8. Once you are done submitting this form successfully your username is set site-wide and you cannot change it anymore.

  • Submitting an Organization Application
  1. Click on "Apply to Become an Organization" in the left hand navigation menu.
  2. Your Group Name should be the full, formal name of your group, e.g. The Google Open Source Programs Office or The Linux Foundation.
  3. For Public Email, please enter an email address to be used by would-be mentors or students seeking additional information. This can be an individual's email address or a mailing list address; use whichever will work best for your organization.
  4. For IRC channel and mailing list, note that these are required text fields. If your organization does not use IRC or you use forums instead of mailing lists, enter this information in these fields.
  5. For Description, please provide an overview of your organization that will be publicly displayed on its profile page should the organization be accepted. Here is an example:
    • "Google is a proud user and supporter of Open Source software and development methodologies. As a company, Google contributes back to the Open Source community in a variety of ways, including source code, Project Hosting on Google Code, and our student programs Google Summer of Code TMand the Google Highly Open Participation Contest TM. For more information on Google's open source activities, visit code.google.com/opensource."
  6. For Ideas List, please provide a URL to a page listing project suggestions for student applicants. 
  7. As part of this process, you can optionally specify a backup administrator. Should you wish to be able to do this as part of the application process - and it's nice to do so if you have a backup admin identified, as it helps make your application look stronger - make sure that your backup administrator has created a Site Wide User profile prior to submitting your organization's application so you are able to add her Link ID details to your application.
  8. Much of the rest of the organization application form is self-explanatory.
  9. Clicking the Save Changes button submits the application, and you are then returned to the organization application edit form. The application might not have been submitted if there was an error somewhere on the form, e.g. a required field missing. Such an error will be shown in red - but you may need to scroll down to find it. There isn't a warning message at the top of the page to tell you that there was a problem, but you will see an "Application Saved" confirmation message to say that a submit was successful. You can confirm the status by visiting your dashboard and clicking on the list item corresponding to your application in "My organization applications" list.

    Please review the Mentoring Organization/Mentor Participant Agreement and, should you agree to the terms therein, click the "I Agree to the Admin Agreement" check box. You will notice that this agreement incorporates our Program FAQs and Terms of Service by reference. Make sure you have reviewed these documents prior to agreeing.

    Once you have agreed to the Admin Agreement, save your changes. Clicking the Save Changes button submits the application, and you are then returned to the organization application edit form. The application might not have been submitted if there was an error somewhere on the form, e.g. a required field missing. Such an error will be shown in red - but you may need to scroll down to find it. There isn't a warning message at the top of the page to tell you that there was a problem, but you will see an "Application Saved" confirmation message to say that a submit was successful. You can confirm the status by visiting the Programs->GSoC 2012->List My Organization Applications link in the left hand navigation menu.

    You will be able to edit your submitted organization application until the application submission deadline by visiting application from your dashboard. Following the deadline, you cannot update your application. Should your organization be accepted, you will be able to update much of the information you submitted, including your student application template, via updates to your organization profile.

    You can expect an email - sent to the address you gave when signing into the system - from Google's Program Administration Team notifying you whether or not your organization was accepted. Emails will be sent no later than 18 March at 19:00 UTC.

    Accepted organization home page and updating  the Organization's Profile

    Once your organization has been accepted, you will receive an email notifying you of acceptance. This email will be sent to the email address tied to the Google Account you used to sign in to google-melange.com. Along with a link to edit your organization profile. An organization home page will be automatically created for your organization. The items you enter on the organization profile appears on the organization home page. Alternatively you can visit your organization home page on google-melange.com and click the link to edit the organization profile on that page. All the accepted organizations will be listed on the accepted organizations page on google-melange.com.

    Much of the information you entered when submitting your organization's application to the program will pre-populate to the organization profile page. The information requested is also largely self-explanatory, but here are some tips for filling out this page:

  • Short name: Please choose a short name for your organization that will be used at places where there is not enough space. E.g. Google for Google's Open Source Programs Office or PSF for the Python Software Foundation.
  • For the Address Information for your organization, please fill in the address where your organization has offices. If your organization does not have offices, please fill in a contact address for the organization, e.g. the address for your organization administrator. This address will be used to contact the organization provided attempts to reach anyone via email, etc. fail. If the shipping address for your organization is the same as the other physical address information entered, you can simply not fill in the shipping address fields.
  Inviting Other Mentors/Organization Administrators

You can invite other organization administrators or mentors from your organization home page. You will see links to invite organization admins and mentors next to the edit link on the top of that page. On this invitation form you will have to enter the username with which the mentor or organization admins have registered on Melange to invite them along with the optional message.

On the other hand, other potential mentors request to be mentors for your organization. However users cannot request to become organization administrators. Organization administrators is an invite only role! You can handle the mentor requests from your dashboard. It is important to know that it is only possible to invite other mentors or organization admins for your organization only if they have a corresponding profile on Melange. One can register as a mentor for the program by visiting http://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/profile/mentor/google/gsoc2012 or register as an organization admin by visting http://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/profile/org_admin/google/gsoc2012.

In general, it is best for would-be mentors to apply to become mentors rather than an organization administrator having to invite them each individually. This simply saves time for the organization administrator; it is not a requirement in the workflow. A change in the workflow from the previous years is that, you now need not invite yourself as a mentor for the same organization you are organization administrator for. All organization administrators are mentors. You can also choose to mentor a student or not without having to invite yourself as a mentor explicitly.

Additional organization administrators must be invited to become organization administrators. This might have been done by listing them as backup administrators in the program application, which triggers an invitation to them to complete their organization administrator role profile for your organization once its application is accepted. Alternatively, any user who has completed a profile and do not wish to be a student for this year's GSoC can be invited to become an organization administrator.

The user invited to become an organization admin or a mentor will receive an email invitation to become an org admin/mentor and will be prompted to fill out a profile for the invited role, provided she accepts the invitation to become an org admin/mentor.

Organization administrators can invite users who are already accepted as mentors for their organization to become organization administrators at any time. Invite the user as an organization administrator using the steps detailed above. It is also possible to invite mentors or organization administrators of other organizations to be a mentor or org admin for your organization.

    1. Accepting Requests to be a Mentor for Your Organization

Once a user has applied to be a mentor for an accepted organization, that organization's administrator will be able to view their application in their organization's mentor request list reachable from their dashboard.  The requests list page will provide an overview of all requests received to become a mentor for the organization, and all invitations sent by you and your other organization admins to users who would want to become mentors or organization admins for all the organizations you are admin for.

To respond to a request by a mentor, simply click on the hyperlinked list entry corresponding to that request which takes you to a page where you can then choose to accept or reject the request to become a mentor. Accepting a request to become a mentor triggers an email to the accepted mentor. Rejecting a request to become a mentor does not trigger any notification to the user. However, the user is welcome to reapply to your organization.

    1. Maintaining Roles for Your Mentors and Organization Administrators

Organization administrators wishing to review the list of their organization's mentors and admins can do so by visiting the "Members of my organizations" link on the dashboard.

This page lists all the organization admins and mentors for the organization you are an admin for along with listing what other organzations those users are admins or mentoring for.


  • Guide for Mentors
      1. Applying to Become a Mentor

    Once an organization has had its application accepted, anyone who would not like to participate in GSoC this year can apply to become a mentor to an organization. To complete this action, simply click on the "Register" button or "Apply to become mentor" link on the program home page.

  • The information requested on the mentor profile form is largely self-explanatory. Please note that if your address in the Contact Info section is the same as that which you'd enter for Shipping Info, you can leave the Shipping Info section blank.
  • By clicking Publish My Location, you are agreeing to us including you in our annual map linking Students to Mentors (for an example see the GSoC 2008 page) and to display your location (City, State/Province, Country level only) on your public profile page in the system. The map will display your location as wherever you drag the marker on the Map field to, but will only be shown at the City level (e.g. we will not show your address as 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA USA even if that is where the map marker is dragged).
  • Please review the Mentoring Organization/Mentor Participant Agreement and, should you agree to the terms therein, click the "I Agree to the Admin Agreement" check box. You will notice that this agreement incorporates our Program FAQs andTerms of Service by reference. Make sure you have reviewed these documents prior to agreeing.
  • Fill up the rest of the application and then submit the form. This just creates a profile for you on Melange. However to mentor a project you should be a accepted as a mentor for the organization to which the project you would like to mentor belongs to. You can do this by visiting your Dashboard and clicking on the You can now apply to Google Summer of Code link. This lists all the accepted organizations for this year's GSoC. You can choose your organization from this list. Upon clicking on the organization entry in the list you will be presented with a mentor request form where you can fill in the optional message you want to send to the that organization admin along with your request. You will be notified if the request is accepted by one of the organization admins for the organization you applied.

      1. Editing Your Mentor Profile

    You can edit your mentor profile at any time during the program by just clicking on "My Profile" link available on the left hand navigation menu which is accessible from all the pages.

      1. How to Become an Organization Administrator if You are Currently a Mentor

    A user cannot apply to become an organization administrator; she must be invited to become an organization administrator. Users who are already accepted as mentors for a particular organization can be invited to become an Organization Administrator for that organization or any other organization by receiving an invite from an existing Org Admin.

  • Guide to Reviewing and Ranking Student Applications - Mentors & Org Admins
    Reviewing Applications

    To review student proposals, click on "Proposals submitted to my orgs" link on your Dashboard. This lists all the proposals submitted to all the organizations you are a mentor or org admin for. You can then visit each proposal individually by clicking on the hyperlinked student proposal in the list.

    The proposal page contains the student contact information, proposal contents and some actions on the left hand side of the page below the global navigation menu. This page also provides a way to score the proposal and a form to give review comments on the proposal at the below the proposal contents along with listing all the public and private comments on the proposal.

    Applications that are clearly spam, meaning applications having no substantive proposal, should immediately be marked as ineligible by using the "Ignore Proposal" slide switch. Only organization administrators can perform this action. While deciding whether an application is spam is somewhat subjective, you should know a spam application when you see it. If it appears the student only spent two minutes writing the application or the proposal text consists only of phrases like "I would really like to work with you." then it's spam. Mark it as such. If you discover you have accidentally marked an application ineligible and you need to revert it, you can do so using the same sliding switch. Once you ignore the proposal you cannot assign a mentor or accept that proposal and mentors cannot use the "Wish to mentor" sliding switch. The student cannot withdraw or edit this proposal. Those applications under review will have a score assigned to it based on the total score provided by each reviewer on that proposal. The application's current score will also be displayed in this list of all the proposals.

      1. Subscribing to Application Updates

    If you wish to receive notifications about reviews on the proposals check the box labeled "Notify of new public comments" and "Notify of new private comments" depending on what type of comments you would like to receive updates for. Once you check these fields you will receive notifications for all the comments of that type for all the proposals submitted to all the organizations you are a mentor or organization admin for.  See Comments on Applications section for more on public and private updates.

      1. Comments on Applications

    Mentors and organization administrators may post review comments to any application. Proposal review comments are of two different types, viz. public comments that are visible to the student, the mentors and the organization administrators for that organization, and private comments that are visible only to the organization's mentors and admins.

    By default the comments are posted as private comments. If you want to make a comment public, uncheck the "Private" checkbox. Such a comment will be visible to the student applicant and she will receive an email notification that you have commented on her application provided she has subscribed to notifications for comments on proposals.

    All comments are color coded to make it easy to distinguish between private (gray background) and public(light blue) comments on an application. Students may add comments to their application at any time, and these will be listed in the public comments section of the proposal review page.

      1. Scoring Applications

    You can assign a score to an application by using the popularly known star based review system. The number of stars available i.e. the score range is customizable by organization administrators from the organization profile.

    Each organization should decide on their own process for scoring applications.

      1. Requesting Mentorship of a Particular Proposal

    If you wish to act as a mentor for a particular project proposal, you can request to do so by clicking the "Wish to mentor" sliding switch available from the left hand "Proposal Actions" menu. Clicking this button will cause your name to be listed in the "Possible Mentors" section of the proposal review page. Should you later change your mind and decide you would prefer to mentor a different application, turn off the "Wish to mentor" switch. Your name will be removed from the possible mentors listing.

    Only an organization administrator can assign a particular mentor to an application. Make sure to have turned on the "Wish to mentor" switch to let your organization administrator know of your interest. Even if an application already has a mentor assigned, it is worthwhile to indicate that you wish to mentor that proposal, in case, the assigned mentor decides she is no longer will to mentor.

    Very Important: Once an application is assigned to a particular mentor, turning off the "Wish to mentor" switch does not cause the user to be unassigned as the mentor for a particular application. The user's name, however, will only disappear from the list of Potential Mentors for a proposal. If you would like to have an application that you are no longer willing to mentor assigned to a different user, please contact your organization administrator.

      1. Organization Admins Only - Assigning Mentors

    Organization administrators only have the right to assign a particular mentor to an application. They can do so by selecting the mentor from the "Assign Mentor" drop down on the left hand "Propopal Actions" menu and clicking on the "Assign" button. The organization administrator can change the assigned mentor at any time by updating the "Assign Mentor" select list. She can also add multiple mentors to the proposal by clicking on the "Add mentors" link below the mentors select list on the proposal actions menu.

      1. Organization Admins Only - Accepting or Rejecting Proposals

    An organization administrator also has the ability to directly accept or reject the proposals for his organization, regardless of a previous score. She can do this either by using the sliding switch on the proposal actions left hand menu or from the list of all the proposals. In other words, an organization may receive 2 slots and decide it was to accept application "Foo" and application "Bar." The organization administrator may visit the applications for "Foo" and "Bar" and accept them, meaning these two applications will then be the accepted as the projects for their organization no matter what the proposal review scores are. The top N ranked applications that are marked
    "Accepted", where N is the number of student slots Google allocates to each organization, will be those that are accepted into the program.
    NOTE: If the organization administrator doesn't accept a proposal even if it is a highly ranked proposal it won't be accepted into the program.

    This feature is meant to make it easier for organizations to make the final choice about which proposals will be accepted after duplicate accepted students are resolved, etc.

      1. Guide for Students
          1. Registering as a Student on the GSoC 2012 Site

        Before you can submit a proposal to any organization, you must have first created a student profile for GSoC 2012. If you have not completed this step, you will not be able to register as a student or submit any applications for GSoC 2012.

        You can register as a student by clicking on the "Log in" or "Register" link on the program home page (not available until 26 March 2012). You should have a Google account as explained above to create a student profile on Melange. You will be redirected to a page to provide various personal details for your Student Profile.

          1. Updating Your Student Profile
            1. Name on documents: This field will accept UTF-8 text input. The information you provide here will be used to create certificates of completion for successful student participants in GSoC 2012, so the student applicant should enter her name exactly as she would like it to appear on the certificate of completion.
            2. Phone Number: Enter your phone number using only numbers, no spaces, dashes, dots, etc. Make sure to include your country code. For example, if your phone number is +1.650.253.0000, where "1" is the country code for the United States, you would enter 16502530000 in this field.
            3. Publish My Location: By checking this box, you are agreeing to allow Google to include you in our annual map linking Students to Mentors (for an example see the GSoC 2008 page) and to display your location (City, State/Province, Country level only) on your public profile page in the system. You can further manipulate your location using the Map field on the page.
            4. School Name: Please enter the full name of your school, college or university in this field. Please use the complete formal name of your school, e.g. UC Berkeley instead of Cal or UCB. It would be most wonderful if you could provide your school's name in English, as all the program administrators speak English as their first language and it will make it much easier for us to assemble program statistics, etc., later if we can easily read the name of your school.
            5. Degree: Select undergrad if you have never before received a degree from college or university. Select masters if you are obtaining a masters degree and PhD if you are in the process of obtaining your doctorate.

        Much of the information requested on this page is self-explanatory. Unless otherwise indicated, all fields must be filled in using only US-ASCII characters, as the information provided is used to ship items like T-shirts, etc., to accepted students. Sadly, shipping software in the United States doesn't understand the concept of Unicode. This makes a few fields on the student profile page not intuitive for those unfamiliar with GSoC. If you have a problem with the character encoding limitations on the form please check if you are using US-ASCII characters everywhere in the profile form.

        Once you have completed the Student Profile page, and agreed to the Student Participant Agreement, save your profile by submitting the form. You will be notified of errors if any. Your role is not created until the form says that it was successfully submitted. You can make changes to your Profile at any time by visiting the "My Profile" link in the left hand navigation menu. Once your profile has been saved, you can begin submitting proposals to whichever organization(s) you wish.

          1. Submitting Your Proposal

        A student may submit up to 20 proposals to whatever mix of organizations he chooses, e.g. all 20 to one organization or 2 to four different organization or only one to one organization. In general, quality is better than quantity, so consider this when writing your applications.

        Once you have logged in and have a student profile you should see the "Log in" or "Register" buttons turned to "Apply" on the program home page. To submit a proposal, simply click on the "Apply" button. You will be redirected to a screen allowing you to choose which organization you would like to submit an application to.

        Click on the hyperlinked organization in the list that you would like to apply to. You will be redirected to the proposal submission screen. If the organization has provided an application template that they would like you to use when submitting your proposal, it will be provided to you in the "Content" text area on the page.

        Make the title for your abstract as specific as possible, e.g. "Updates to increase performance in ZFS" rather than "Application for Org Foo for GSoC." Making your title specific will make it much easier for mentors to later review your application. The abstract section of the proposal page should be no more than 500 characters and should provide a brief overview of your proposed project's goals. Accepted students will later have their project abstracts publicly published on the GSoC 2012 site. Enter whatever details you would like in the Content section of your proposal, but make sure to use the organization's application template if they have provided one. You can also provide a link to further information, e.g. additional details on your personal website, in the Additional Info field, though this is not required.

        Once you have added the required information, click submit. You should see "Student Proposal saved." at the top of the proposal page if the submission was successful. You can edit the Content and Additional Info section of your proposal at any time during the student application period, but not after the applications submission deadline. You can edit the Abstract portion of your application at any time. To submit additional proposals, repeat the steps listed in this section. You can also make your proposal publicly visible to share with others for reviews etc. by checking the "Publicly visible" checkbox.

        To review which proposals you have submitted or to make edits to your proposal, click on "Proposals" link on your Dashboard. Clicking the proposal you wish to see will take you to that page. You can then click the "Edit  Proposal" link below the title of your proposal to edit/update your proposal, review mentor comments on your proposal, or add your own comments to your proposal.

        You should also subscribe to updates to all your proposals as mentors may post comments to your applications requesting more detail.

          1. Subscribing to Updates to Your Proposal

        Mentors can post comments on a student application as part of the review process. Some of the comments are private, meaning only mentors and organizations administrators for that organization can see them; some are public comments, meaning the student applicant, mentors and organization administrators for that organization can see the comments. Often mentors and organization administrators reviewing your application will use public comments to contact you to request further information, invite you to join a mailing list, etc. In order to make it easy for you to know when a public comment has been added to your application, you can subscribe to updates on all your proposals by checking the "Notify of new public comments" checkbox on your student profile page. If you check this box, whenever a mentor or an organization administrator posts a public comment on your proposal you will get a notification email.

          1. Comments on Your Proposal

        You can add comments to your proposal once it has been submitted both during the application submission and review phases. To add a comment to your application, click on the "Proposals" link on your Dashboard. Click on the proposal in the list to visit the proposal review page. Add your comments in the Comment field and click submit. Your comments will be listed in the public review comments section at the bottom of the page, along with any public comments submitted by mentors and organization administrators reviewing your application. All mentors and organization administrators who have subscribed to updates to proposals will receive an email letting them know that you have updated your proposal.

          1. Notification of Proposal Outcome

        All students will receive an email letting them know whether or not a given proposal was accepted. You may submit up to 20 proposals, but only one will be accepted. This means that you may receive multiple emails regarding your submitted proposals. Emails will not be sent until 23 April, 2012.

    • What is a Link ID?

      1. You should never see this term anywhere in Melange or in this document other than this section. If you do so please notify the program administrator or one of the Melange developers on #gsoc or #melange IRC channels.

         

      2. To those who are curious about Link ID, Link ID was an archaic term that was used in earlier versions of Melange which was used for naming URLs. Once created a Link ID cannot be changed. Both Users and Organizations had Link IDs. If you were a user on the previous GSoC site, all the links corresponding to you would have your Link ID in them. Since we began our work on Melange v2 last year we have made every possible effort to get rid of this strange name. But, just in case if you spot it, please let us know about it.