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From J Aaron Farr <>
Subject Re: Community readiness-when does it show?
Date Wed, 24 Jun 2009 03:42:51 GMT

On Wed 24 Jun 2009 06:08, Martijn Dashorst <> wrote:

> My current issue is with the definition of "open". Not necessarily as
> documented (haven't looked at the text lately), but as a gut feeling:
> when is a community open?
>  - all (technical) discussions happen on publicly archived lists
>  - conflicts are resolved in a civil and respectful manner
> But also:
>  - the podling is able to identify new, valuable contributors and add
> them to the project


    Apache projects are self-sustaining and self-governing
    communities. Long term success and health requires that these
    communities understand how to:

      - recruit users, developers, committers and PMCers
      - take responsible collective action
      - disagree in public on technical matters without destroying 
        personal relationships
      - create an open, positive and inclusive atmosphere on the 
        mailing lists

Often podlings have to add at least one new committer just to meet the
diversity requirement of at least 3 'independent' committers.  Adding at
least one committer has always been a litmus test for any podling I've
worked with.

As of a year or two ago when I last looked at the statistics, most
podlings only ever add one committer during incubation.

> If a community meets all the criteria, but hasn't discovered a new
> committer (or two) by itself, is the community ready for graduation?
> If not, how can we—mentors— nudge the community to focus on this
> thing, without it becoming an exercise in "checking the check marks"?

There are at least two scenarios:

  - The podling has attracted new contributors, but not made them
  - The podling has not attracted any new contributors since starting

In the first case, it's simply a matter of helping the podling
committers be comfortable giving out commit bits.  Sometimes the barrier
to becoming a committer has been made too high.

The second case is much more difficult.  It might involve working with
PRC to get a bit of press or marketing.  It might involve making sure
one or more of the committers go to ApacheCon to meet other ASF
committers and potential users.  If there's a user community, but no
contributors, then the committers have to learn how to better engadge
the community: asking for bug fixes, encouraging users to work out a
patch themselves rather than just fixing it, putting together better
documentation, etc.

In either case, it *is* important for the project to learn how to add
committers.  If the podling leaves the incubator with the commit bit
barrier too high, they'll have problems down the road.  If they leave
the incubator with users but no contributors, they're also going to have

   J. Aaron Farr

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