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Occasional Contributors

Question: How do we understand the number of occasional contributors and the contributions that they make?

Description

Occasional contributors are people who make contributions to a project on an irregular basis. Occasional contributors are important to recognize in a community as their contributions can serve to advance the project in meaningful ways. One precise definition of an occasional contributor is “someone who hasn’t submitted a pull request in at least 3 months and hasn’t had more than 12 pull requests overall in the project” [1].

There are several reasons for being an occasional contributor including:

  • A person has a bug they need fixed
  • A person works for a company and the company requires a fix or feature.
  • A person needs to get their project to run on specific hardware
  • A person is fixing a typo.
  • A person is participating in a time-boxed event for a specific purpose or goal.
  • A person may have intended to stick around, but decided that the community or project was not a good fit for them.
  • A person may have intended to stick around, but may have experienced a life event that limited their participation in open source.

Objectives

Monitoring occasional contributors can help to understand if:

  • More people are looking at the project
  • More people are using the project
  • More people are contributing to the project
  • Increases in community contributions in connection with specific events
  • The contribution and onboarding process is working well
  • There is an imbalance in diversity between sustained and occasional contributors
  • A community is welcoming to diverse contributors

Implementation

The usage and dissemination of health metrics may lead to privacy violations. Organizations may be exposed to risks. These risks may flow from compliance with the GDPR in the EU, with state law in the US, or with other law. There may also be contractual risks flowing from terms of service for data providers such as GitHub and GitLab. The usage of metrics must be examined for risk and potential data ethics problems. Please see CHAOSS Data Ethics document for additional guidance.

Filters

  • Minimum number of contributions before someone is no longer an occasional contributor
  • Maximum length of time between contributions before someone is no longer considered an occasional contributor
  • Percentage of overall contributors who are classified as occasional contributors
  • Repeat occasional contributors

Visualizations

Occasional Contributors Augur

From Augur, Endpoint https://tinyurl.com/augur-flyby Augur API Documentation: https://tinyurl.com/augur-flyby-docs

Occasional Contributors Cauldron

From: https://cauldron.io/

Tools Providing the Metric

References

Contributors

  • Matt Germonprez
  • Regina Nkemchor Adejo
  • Dawn Foster
  • Kevin Lumbard
  • Vinod Ahuja

This metric was last reviewed on August, 2022

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