[Development] QtCS2019 notes from "Improving the Contributor Experience" session

Volker Hilsheimer volker.hilsheimer at qt.io
Thu Nov 21 09:44:49 CET 2019


Here and below are the notes from this session:



=== Framing the discussion ===

* See JIRA task: https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/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

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