Dogfood, Dogfood, Dogfood

Since I started recomputation.org a bit over a year ago, I’ve written a number of papers with experiments in them.

Only one of them is available on recomputation.org.

Not. So. Good.

On the off chance you don’t know, “eating your own dogfood” is a phrase used by people in software and services. It means that developers should use the software or service they are developing. There’s nothing like using a system to find out what’s wrong with it, and indeed what’s right with it.

So I am embarrassed about this.

In some cases I have even built virtual machines which embody some or most of the experiments in a paper. But have not taken the last few steps to publish them.
By the way, most of these papers have involved co-authors, but I don’t want to point the finger at them: it’s mainly my fault. Even if I would have needed them to do stuff for me to get the experiment ready, I didn’t get them to. And in a couple of cases they did do what I asked and I didn’t take the last steps. And if I can’t take the blame for this solely authored paper, who can?

I want to be clear what I am embarrassed about.

I’m just slightly embarrassed that I have not been practising what I preach. While it is true that some of my papers have been less replicable than they could be, this is a common problem in computer science. And I am trying to help people do something about it.

But I am very embarrassed that I haven’t been dogfooding. I need to figure out what are the obstacles making it harder than it needs to be to make experiments recomputable. And then figure out how to lessen those obstacles.

That’s why you dogfood and I’m going to try harder in future.