Question: How do we understand the number of occasional contributors and the contributions that they make?
Synonyms: drive-through contributors; fly-by contributors, episodic contributors
Occasional contributors are those 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” .
Motivations for being an occasional contributor:
- Self-service: A person has a bug they need fixed, so they submit an issue or a fix.
- Work-related: A person works for a company and the company requires a fix or feature.
- Special project or use case: A person needs to get their project to run on Commodore 64 or Atari 800XL.
- Documentation addition/fix: A person is fixing a typo.
- Hackathon, workshop, or other event: A person is participating in a time-boxed event for a specific purpose or goal.
- Suboptimal Onboarding: A person may have intended to stick around, but decided that the community or project was not a good fit for them.
- Life Event: A person may have intended to stick around, but may have experienced a life event that limited their participation in open source.
Monitoring occasional contributors can help you understand if:
- More people are looking at the project
- More people are using the project
- The contribution process is working well
- More people are able to contribute to the project
- More contributors exist to convert to dependable community members
All of which can help you improve your understanding of the health of your project.
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- 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
Tools Providing the Metric
- Have It Your Way: Maximizing Drive-Thru Contributions by VM Brasseur
- Matt Germonprez
- Regina Nkemchor Adejo
- Dawn Foster
- Kevin Lumbard
- Vinod Ahuja
This metric was last reviewed on March 1, 2022 as part of the 202204 release