Qt Contributors Summit 2019 - Contributor Experience

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Framing the discussion

  • See JIRA task: QTBUG-74429
  • Getting started as a new contributor requires a list of steps
  • Experience is that this is rather hard, esp for people that come from a github-experience
  • Even consulting companies working with Qt for customers are often not contributing their changes upstream
  • People using Qt at work will address issues that impact them - turning such local hacks into a proper upstream fix (with test etc) is a huge effort

Additional Comments

  • the problem might be more social than technical; if you don’t know anyone, it is hard to get someone to look at your change
  • our requirements makes us geared towards professional contributors; hard for inexperienced developers to meet expectations
  • we expect people to come to us, we are not present where people spend their time (own code review; own blogging page), people have to learn stuff for which they already have a routine
  • documentation (on the wiki) is not geared towards new-comers; lots of guidelines, but nothing that supports the journey
  • the Qt Project seems to have little visibility; things are dominated by the Qt Company (e.g. web site), which focuses on companies and customers
  • we are not present as a project and don’t seem to actively try to find new developers - meetups, conferences
  • other projects are discussing how to improve - Python, KDE; should learn from that

Ideas on how to improve the process

  • recognizing first contribution, thanking, welcoming, pointing at helpful stuff
  • keeping contributors motivated, “gamifying” things
  • some of this can be automated, but we do need humans to recognize contributions, help on-boarding
  • regular (monthly) blogging to recognize first-time and regular contributors
  • developing the experience is a job - community manager is gone, so there is no point of reference for people outside TQtC
  • can we use the Qt account to design the experience? -> Qt Company internal discussion to follow up
  • label issues in JIRA as “good for new contributors”
  • move contribution guidelines into “documentation proper”, where it has a greater chance to be groomed
  • pick the brains of people that recently joined the Qt Company, identifying things that you can only learn when you are part of the company
  • establish a channel for newcomers (dedicated IRC channel; Qt Forum)
  • make sure that maintainers (and others) pick up incoming code reviews
  • make a Qt Project “landing page” as an independent site