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How Communities Can Impact Developers Positively

in Software Development

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Building a sustainable and welcoming community is a step closer to improving the developer experience, and it sure does strengthen the culture of communities.

Summarized in the article is the report by GitHub on building sustainable communities.


    Community is a big deal for developers because it is where they will feel like they are seeing like minds and people they can gain from. GitHub keeps being a community that developers find as a home, and it keeps growing. According to GitHub data, the number of first-time contributors to open source projects grew from 697,222 in 2015 to 3,050,785 in 2021, while the community still keeps building software that powers the world. The developer community at GitHub runs across about a dozen languages, frameworks, and areas of interest while continually giving back to each other. The telemetry data shows that there are about 190million+ repositories as of 1st of October, 2020, and 254million+ repositories as of 1st of October 2021.

    GitHub supported the discord community to build discord. The dependencies that built discord include discordjs/discord.js, node-fetch/node-fetch, form-data/form-data, websockets/ws, felixge/node-combined-stream, felixge/node-delayed-stream, among others.

    Discord has a total of 19,462 packages, 381,118 contributors across 206 countries.

    Mentorship in communities is a great way to drive up productivity.

    Companies and open source teams get up to 16% and 46% improvements in productivity, respectively, if there are positive and timely reviews and commitment to mentorship towards new contributors. Mentorship is also a driver for a healthy and sustainable community. Mentorship can surely give a better opportunity for open source teams to breed a healthy culture and make new contributors feel comfortable and confident about their work. Work teams can also double the likelihood of solid culture through mentorship.

    According to the State of Octoverse report, GitHub came up with a model based on the survey data for this year to understand what makes developers and teams perform better, be more productive, and have excellent development experience.

    The models are constructed to represent development work practices, documentations, healthy communities, or the outcome of successfully completing these processes.

    The models show you the result (end of the arrow) of doing some practices.

    Each line of the arrow shows the prediction or effect of the practices stated. The colored lines indicate a positive relationship between practices and effects, while the grey ones show negative relationships.

    The model is in two-phase, the "work model" and the "open source model."

    Open source model. Source: https://octoverse.github.com/sustainable-communities/#mentorship-at-work-and-open-source Open source model. Source: https://octoverse.github.com/sustainable-communities/#mentorship-at-work-and-open-source
    Work model. Source: https://octoverse.github.com/sustainable-communities/#mentorship-at-work-and-open-source Work model. Source: https://octoverse.github.com/sustainable-communities/#mentorship-at-work-and-open-source

    Breeding culture through trust and respect

    GitHub noticed that trust and respect in companies or open source could improve healthy collaborative culture. The data showed that high trust in the company and open source teams increases the likelihood of having healthy collaborative culture by 2x and 3x, respectively. GitHub then noted that, although mentorship is great, a strong culture in teams can reduce mentorship needs.

    Attract newcomers and encourage contributions by building a safe and welcoming community

    In the documentation report by GitHub, there were mentions of using contribution guidelines, rules of engagement, etc. The data shows that documentations like that are primarily found in large repositories. These documentation practices, alongside Good First Issue, codes of conduct, and respectful language in discussions, were carried out because they signal a safe and trusted community. And this, in turn, attracts contributors, creates a sense of belonging, and improves developers' work productivity.

    The telemetry data shows that only 16,090 open source repositories with 5 or more contributors have codes of conduct out of 237,917 open source repositories, leaving 221,827 repositories that do not have codes of conduct.

    Also, open source at work has 9,336 repositories with codes of conduct out of 48,954, leaving 39,618 repositories without codes of conduct.

    Work repository with 5 or more contributors has just 7,284 repositories with codes of conduct out of 944,210, leaving 936,926 without codes of conduct.

    Now for repositories with 1000 or more contributors, 170 open source repositories have codes of conduct out of 488 repositories. Open source at work has 172 repositories with codes of conduct out of 256, and work repository has 188 with codes of conduct out of 371 repositories.

    Newcomers mostly join open source communities because of the fun and learning.

    Hobbies and special interests make most people join open source communities, not the technicality of the project. GitHub telemetry data shows that new contributors' communities like gaming, science, and manga are the top 20 repositories.

    MicrosoftDocs/mslearn-tailspin-spacegame-web, TheAlgorithms/Python, learn-co-students/javascript-logging-lab-js-intro-000, are examples of repos in the top 20 repositories by new contributors.


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