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[eclipse-pmc] Help for Understaffed Projects

Dear committers on the Eclipse top-level project and its sub-projects,

Several committers and contributors have raised concerns that some sub-projects of the Eclipse top-level project are understaffed. That is, they do not have sufficient committer capacity to bring those sub-projects forward. This impacts the reputation of the whole project and may discourage people from contributing to any of the sub-projects. Advancing a project includes development of new functionality, reviewing incoming patches, encouraging code contributions, performing and accepting code clean-up, replacing deprecated API and, in general, all tasks which are important to push the project.

Understaffed sub-projects are typically projects in which one or several of the following conditions apply:

  • Gerrit contributions are ignored or don't receive timely constructive feedback
  • Bug reports are not responded to
  • Only a few commits happen for an extended period of time, e.g., 3 to 6 months
  • Only 1 or 2 committers do the majority of the work for an extended period of time, e.g., 3 to 6 months (a.k.a. the "one committer project")

In addition to being negative in their own right, such conditions make it very hard for contributors to earn their commit rights the traditional way. To help mitigate this, we are providing the following recommendations/guidelines that we believe will help to grow the active committer base for understaffed sub-projects:
  1. Sub-projects should seriously consider merging with more active sub-projects, when there is a reasonable expectation that this would lead to a committer pool that can bring the whole merged sub-project forward.
  2. Sub-projects are encouraged to apply the following streamlined committer eligibility criteria when nominating new committers: A committer on another sub-project of the Eclipse top-level project can be nominated as a committer on an understaffed sub-project if the following two conditions are met:
    1. that committer has a good track record on the sub-project(s) where he or she already has commit rights
    2. that committer expresses a sustained interest in helping the understaffed sub-project with code contributions
    Eligibility criteria for contributors that don't yet have commit rights on other sub-projects of the Eclipse top-level project remain the same as before, and are based on the volume and quality of contributions to the sub-project.

Essentially, if a committer wants to help an understaffed sub-project, she or he should send a note to the sub-project mailing list expressing their desire to help. Committers on the understaffed sub-project would be expected to actively discuss the proposal and, if there is agreement based on the above criteria, follow the normal nomination/voting procedure. In the case of a negative vote, without any visible evidence that the sub-project's public activity is improving, it would be up to the PMC to discuss and decide how to proceed further.

If an understaffed sub-project is unable or unwilling to accept any of the possible solutions, the PMC may have to step in to ensure that the Eclipse top-level project remains healthy as a whole.

Your PMC,
McQ, Alex, Dani, Lars, Martin, Sergey

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