Highlighting new committers

I noticed that the curl maintainers are highlighting new committers and thought it was a nice way to welcome new contributors to the project. See an example here: daniel:// stenberg://: "Welcome Peter Krefting as #curl committer 1240: h…" - Mastodon
Would we want to do something similar?


I think it's a good idea to highlight both new contributors and new committers. We don't need to wait until they get commit privileges to acknowledge their contribution. Github automatically generates a list of contributors to a release, but I think specifically calling out first time contributors is good recognition/encouragement as well. When contributors are granted commit privileges, it's a noteworthy achievement that deserves separate recognition.


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Yes, and thanks for highlighting my ambiguity. I didn't intend to only highlight assigning of commit rights, but rather the first time someone's submitted commit(s) get merged to the main branch.

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I think it's a very interesting topic! I would also welcome more communication to and about new contributors.

About people getting commit privileges, it's not really happening a lot these days. I have mostly stopped proactively inviting people to the organization after seeing them send a couple of successful PRs, because it's not following any sort of process. I have been thinking about a better system, and proposed a rough draft here:

About people getting their first pull request in, the "first-time contributor" badge that GitHub displays on pull requests is helpful to me, but it doesn't do the tooting on Mastodon by itself :smiley: I'd intuitively welcome some sort of automation or written process to ease things, so that we don't leave too much of it up to the person who merges the PR.

I think there are also tools to list the first-time contributors in the changelog of a release, we could also look into adopting that.

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If the dev team is up for it, I think a lot can be done using GitHub action to automate user onboarding. Here are some example I've seen in other communities:

  • Welcome message when the contributor open their first PR with links to the relevant documentation and and invitation for them to introduce themself on the forum
  • Thank you message after the first merge with links to second-good-issue or other ways to contribute
  • Automatically post on social media

On the occasion of our 333rd commit author, I've made a poll to see if our Mastodon followers would like to see a toot for every new author:

The poll concluded and it looks like the majority would find tooting every new author too spammy: OpenRefine: "#OpenRefine now contains changes authored by 333 …" - Fosstodon

I think it's still worth thinking about improving the onboarding of new contributors in other ways.

I saw that, but I really think that the question makes it seem like it will be a lot of toots. If it would also have included a phrase like "on average, less than one toot per month" I think it would have been very different.

(We should probably also take in mind that these toots are not really targeting our hardcore fans (who might be overrepresented in the answers), but the new contributor and other potential newcomers.)

Sorry that I biased the answers with the phrasing! I have do admit that I am personally not keen to read such toots myself (from this project or any other), especially if they are automated. It can well be that I am just off-base with today's social norms on social media platforms, but I feel bad at throwing automated messages at our community. Maybe we could have a separate account for that though.

More broadly I struggle to relate to the expectations about how such toots would motivate anyone to contribute. When I see Daniel Stenberg's toots about curl contributors, I don't feel compelled at all to become curl contributor number 1234 myself honestly. (And that's despite the fact that I am actively enjoying contributing to new FOSS projects for the sake of evaluating the contributor experience - that's a pathology that should make me an excellent target for this sort of bait! :wink: )

If the toot could mention the Mastodon account of the contributor in question (assuming they have one) perhaps it would be more useful (encouraging them to interact with the OpenRefine community on Mastodon, encouraging people to thank the person by replying). But not a lot of people have a Mastodon account mentioned on their GitHub profile.

Or if the toot gave more context about what contribution the person made, giving more insights about what's going on in the project to the broader community, that could also be nice, but then it would require more manual work to turn the commit message into a better-rounded toot.