What's an 'OpenHatch affiliated project'?
An affiliated project is a free/open source project which is working with OpenHatch to welcome new contributors to their community. Affiliated projects are characterized by a friendly culture and a willingness to do some extra work to make their projects more accessible.
What does an affiliated project do?
To become an affiliated project, you'll need to do two things:
1. Develop a good project guide
Over time, we've learned that the best projects to recommend to newcomers are those that have clear, thorough guides for newcomers.
We've created a detailed how-to for creating these. The basics that we look for are:
- Contact information for the project as a whole, as well as one or more maintainers who will be OpenHatch's main points of contact.
- An overview of the purpose of the project, as well as its basic structure, tools and technologies.
- A step-by-step guide to installing the project/setting up the development environment.
- A step-by-step guide to making and contributing changes to the project.
If the following seems daunting to produce by yourself, we're happy to facilitate a "set-up sprint" - an IRC meeting (or meetings, as needed) where OpenHatch volunteers attempt to get started with your project. This will allow you to quickly and efficiently handle problems with dependencies, documentation, etc.
Practically speaking, we'll test your setup and documentation ourselves before listing you on our OH-affiliated projects page, so you might as well work with us to get there. We've found that newcomers such as our OSCTC alumni are particularly well-suited to making this kind of contribution, and especially excited to do so!
2. Identify appropriately-sized tasks
Once your project has good documentation, we'll work with you to help identify tasks that new contributors can handle. We call these "Curated First Tasks". A good first task should not require extensive knowledge of the code base to fix, and should be doable relatively quickly. First tasks can be code-based, but don't need to be. Documentation, bug verification, testing, design, translation, and other types of tasks are all very welcome. You can see examples of past curated tasks here.
First tasks are primarily for attendees at Open Source Comes to Campus events, however they will also be advertised to OSCTC alumni and general community members via:
- monthly emails highlighting the available tasks
- monthly open source meetups
- the First Tasks page, which we will be sending newcomers to on a regular basis
Tasks for events should generally be fixable in two hours or less, although obviously it's hard to know ahead of time. OpenHatch will go through the tasks before listing them for volunteers to work on. We may ask you to provide more detail about the task, such as where in the project to make the change, or how to verify the problem. This is typically a very quick process.
Other things you can do as an OH-affiliated project
These are in no way necessary to become an OH-affiliated project, but sure would be neat:
- We've found that it's super helpful to students to have a maintainer for the project their contributing to directly available during the event. While sometimes this means actually physically attending the event, more typically it means being available remotely, via IRC, for 2-3 hours. You certainly don't need to commit to doing this for every OSCTC event (last year, we had 13 of them!) but it would be great if you could virtually attend a couple. Projects which have maintainers at hand will be emphasized during our events.
- Often times easy "bite-size" bugs get fixed quickly by maintainers. We find it useful to assign bitesize bugs to OpenHatch, or to leave comments explaining that we're hoping to reserve these tasks for newcomers, although with small projects a simple email to the developer list saying, "Hey, can you leave X, Y and Z tasks alone until after the weekend?" will suffice. We can work with you to figure out the best way to balance reserving these tasks for newcomers with your need to keep your project up to snuff.
- If you'd like to run an event specifically dedicated to contributing to your project, we can help you adapt our Open Source Comes to Campus materials and help you recruit attendees and mentors.
- If you're enthusiastic about mentoring students through bigger contributions, we're happy to set you up with an enthusiastic volunteer. We also ask that you do a little extra thinking about the task. In addition to making sure the project as a whole is well documented (see step #1 above), bigger tasks should:
- Be well scoped and clearly defined, with a definite end.
- Have step-by-step documentation for how to complete the task.
- List the skills the new contributor will acquire, knowledge and experience they will gain, and impact their contribution will make.
Once completed, we will feature the contribution in our OpenHatch newsletter. We encourage you to make a similar post to your project's blog or mailing list.
What are the current Open-Hatch affiliated projects?
(Coming soon.) (For now, maybe check out our Recommended Projects instead.)