Attributing contribution to recognize individual vs. organizational contribution, as well as recognize non-code contributions
Problem to solve
As a contributor to a project, especially an open-source project, I want to be able to indicate whether I'm contributing as a volunteer, on behalf of my employer, on behalf of a client, or some combination of all three. This helps me justify getting contribution time from my employer and encourage my clients to contribute back.
As a non-code contributor, I want some way to be recognized for my contribution to an issue and/or merge request. This helps me build my resumé as an open-source contributor.
As a project maintainer, I want to be able to understand the contribution ecosystem around my project - whether contributions come primarily from individuals or organizations - and potentially use that data to incentivize project contribution.
As an organization (whether an end-user of an open source project, or a development agency implementing it), I would like to be recognized for enabling contribution to Open Source, to make a corporate case for open source participation.
The personas using this feature all fall under the umbrella of 'contributors to GitLab issues or Merge Requests' These might include:
- Sasha (Software Developer)
- Presley (Product Designer)
- Parker (Product Manager)
- Delaney (Development Team Lead)
- Rachel (Release Manager)
- Eddie (Content Editor)
- among others
User experience goal
- The user should be able to configure their 'contribution attribution' on their user profile and/or directly on the issues and merge requests.
- The maintainer should be able to select which participating contributors are credited.
An attribution needs to contain something like the following options: Attribute this contribution:
- As a volunteer
- On behalf of [an employer organization]
- On behalf of [one or more clients]
- A user will be able to 'set-and-forget' a default attribution on their user profile.
- A user will be able to override their default attribution for a specific issue/merge request.
- Issue/MR viewers will be able to see an unobtrusive display of any participating user's attribution.
- Maintainers will be able to easily mark which participants should be 'credited' for the issue.
Here are some examples from the Drupal project, which has been running a Contribution Recognition System based on these ideas since 2016:
The attribution form on an issue comment:
The maintainer table for marking 'credited contributors':
- This feature would need to associate the attribution information to users, of course
- This feature would also need some concept of 'organizations' that the attribution is being made to, whether that means there is some kind of 'organization' entity in GitLab, or just field data on the attribution that can then be parsed out somehow.
- This feature should function either like some of the other existing comment-ui functions, or perhaps like the sidebar functions on issues - for example: The 'Time tracking' feature can be logged with a /spend command - and a webhook can be triggered when this value is changed - allowing that time tracking data to be synced with external systems.
- Similarly - this attribution feature (which preferably would have a UI rather than a / command) would need to have that same ability to trigger webhooks so the data could be synced with external systems for analysis/recognition/etc.
Permissions and Security
Reporter (20) members - need the ability to update their attribution, either on their profile or on a per issue/merge request basis.
Developer (30) members - need the ability to update their attribution, either on their profile or on a per issue/merge request basis.
Maintainer (40) members - need the ability to designate which participants in an issue/merge request were valuable contributors.
Availability & Testing
This should likely be available in the Free tier, as it is most valuable for public open source projects.
What does success look like, and how can we measure that?
Success would mean:
- Significant adoption by contributors, especially to open source projects using GitLab
- The ability to query and report on this contribution data, to understand the contribution ecosystem around a particular project (is it primarily driven by organizational or individual contributions, etc)
Links / references
- Recent blog post describing the system and the thinking behind it: https://www.drupal.org/association/blog/contribution-recognition-and-the-drupal-project
- Drupal's credit attribution model: https://www.drupal.org/drupalorg/contribution-credit
- Real Drupal issue example: https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal/issues/2953111
- The data we gather: https://dri.es/who-sponsors-drupal-development-2020
- LinuxFoundation Group studying contribution: https://chaoss.community/
- UVM group studying contribution: https://vermontcomplexsystems.org/
- The CHAOSScast Episode 39: Leaderboards and Metrics at Drupal.org with Matthew Tift and Tim Lehnen describes this feature and what can be done with the data it provides.
GitLab Commit References
- Public link to slides from our presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1eRM7JiSiC6XObzEq9QO6Z96HG5flXrvgKdO33Pw-E5c/edit?usp=sharing
- GitLab Commit Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/embed/nC3BgmZXPK8