5 Tips for Being a Good Open Source Project Moderator

moderateimgI’ve been implementing and moderating the open source projects in SOOMLA for quite some time now and I wanna tell you: it’s fun! 🙂 It’s fun and fulfilling to be doing something good for others and help them get more done in less time.

Well, Doing good is one thing but you want to do good and also to get people to actually use your open source project and tell their friends about it. This requires you to be a good project moderator. So how do you make sure your codebase is stable and the documentation and examples are informative enough?

The answer is pretty simple: You Can’t! At least not 100%. One of the values here in SOOMLA is “Worship Perfection” but as we all know nobody’s perfect and sometimes things just happen and you can’t control it. We strive to be perfect so whatever we do will be as perfect as possible.

So here are a few tips that will help you be a better moderator:

  1. Be pedantic – When someone issues a pull-request you have to make sure he or she did everything according to your code’s guidelines and standards. Variable names, documentation, function naming, spacing, code reuse and all other code quality guidelines you want to enforce on your codebase.
  2. Be careful – People will contribute code to your open source project but did they really take care of every single extreme situation? Did they make sure their new code will play nicely with the existing features? You have to make sure it happens so you need to test pull requests before you pull them. As trivial as they may seem, pull-requests can sometime contain harmful code that can give your project bad reputation and people will not use it.
  3. Be thankful – Those that contribute code to your project don’t have to. They spend their time to help others just like you BUT they decided to do it for your project and you have to be thankful for that. Don’t forget to say “Thanks” when you merge a pull request or when someone answers an open issue. Contributors are to be appreciated! They are the ones that keep open source projects alive and they are the ones you work for the most.
  4. Be fast – Nobody likes to wait for an answer when his or her app crashes because of your open code. There are always alternatives and if you’ll let people wait too long they will start looking for another project that satisfies their needs. When someone asks a question answer them. If you don’t know the answer try to find it with their help (logs, debug messages etc.)
  5. Be trustful – The more people will be involved in your open source project the more it will be used. Get people to help you moderating the code and issues. Get them into your open source family and they will help you get your project even bigger and stronger.

So, If you opened your open source project then you should be proud of yourself because you’re a moving force in advancing technology. Just learn how to moderate your open source project so it’ll really be meaningful and get more and more people to use it and benefit from your magic.


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