Rosetta Code:Village Pump/Crafting short checklists

Crafting short checklists
This is a particular discussion thread among many which consider Rosetta Code.


Checklists improve airline safety and reduce mortality in thoracic surgery. They could facilitate excellence on Rosetta Code, but would need to be short.


Two points emerge from an absorbing book by a US heart surgeon, Atul Gawunde, who studied Boeing's checklist development process ("The Checklist Manifesto – how to get things right"):

  1. A good checklist can make a surprising amount of difference – raising quality, preventing problems and saving time.
  2. Good checklists need to be very short, highly coherent and intelligible, and carefully focused on the absolute essentials.

Rosetta Code's Add a task page is helpful – a whole kitchen-full of varied ingredients for a meal – but if you glance through the Gawunde text, you will soon come to feel that that page, while excellent as a reference, is much too long to be regularly used (or to function effectively) as a pre-flight checklist in itself.

The explanatory text of the Rosetta Code language page, however, is already brief, coherent, well-considered, and readily digested. It captures 3 core goals, and would provide a very solid and simple framework for designing short and helpful checklists – not only for the framing of tasks, but also for the preparation of solutions, and for the shaping and judgement of editorial suggestions and contributions.

The 3 core goals of Rosetta Code are of course:

  1. To present solutions to the same task in as many different languages as possible,
  2. to demonstrate how languages are similar and different, and
  3. to aid a person with a grounding in one approach to a problem in learning another.

A suggestion: I think it could be tremendously helpful, and make consistent excellence of this remarkable learning resource very much easier to achieve, if we were to prepare 3 short pre-flights checklists – one each for:

- Adding new tasks,
- Submitting solutions, and
- Making editorial suggestions and changes

I also think that a very helpful structure for these checklists would be for each to have:

  1. Just three brief sections – one for each of Rosetta Code's 3 core goals,
  2. and in each section, just 2-4 things to check, or 2-4 questions to ask oneself, as an aid to checking breadth of relevance, depth of insight, and helpfulness to learners.