After nearly 10 years of building an amazing platform powered by volunteers, we want to take a little time out to consider how to make volunteering in the next 10 years the best experience possible. As part of this work, while we’re taking time to think, we are making a few changes to free up maintainers to recover their energy, work on the fun parts of developing Exercism tracks, and/or join in our thinking about how to improve things.
This post is about getting the practical details sorted out for the tracks.
Our blog post provides more context. Please read it, if you haven’t already.
Pausing community contributions
For most repositories across Exercism we will be adding a workflow that automatically closes issues and PRs submitted by people who do not belong to the Exercism organization.
If you wish to accept community contributions, please reach out to @jonathanmiddleton as explained in the blog post. We will be merging this workflow on Dec 1st if we’ve not heard from you. This is not set in stone, of course, and should you change your mind about community contributions later, please reach out to us.
Note that adding content for the Dig Deeper feature such as Approaches and Articles falls outside the scope of this. All tracks regardless of their status will be open for contributions to Approaches and Articles.
Actual usage of the track will also continue as normal - a student’s experience will remain unaffected. So there will be no changes to mentoring, and mentors with “supermentor” status can continue to give feedback to exercises through the Representer UI.
What do we do about open PRs?
If there are open PRs that add new exercises, either make the changes yourself to get them to a mergeable state and merge them, or close them with the
paused label. Remember that we are not aiming for perfection here. You can always iterate on exercises to improve them.
For PRs that add new Approaches or Articles, these should follow the guidelines for optimistic merging provided in the blog post.
Any other PRs that you don’t want to deal with in the next 6 months should be tagged with the
paused label and closed. Closed PRs can be reopened later.
What do we do about open issues?
If you are not accepting community contributions, all open issues that you as a maintainer do not plan to work on in the next 6 months should be tagged with the
paused label and closed.
What will we as maintainers do if we’re not dealing with community contributions?
The short answer is: whatever makes you happy!
If getting deeply nerdy and technical makes you happy, maybe you want to write some Representers or Analyzers for the track. Or you could add more exercises.
You might want to write Approaches and Articles for the new Dig Deeper tab for exercises in the track.
If you are a mentor on the site and have earned “supermentor” status, then providing feedback on exercises through the Representer UI is another valuable way to spend your time.
Both adding Dig Deeper content and providing feedback through the Representer UI provide a huge amount of value for a moderate amount of effort.
Alternatively, if you wish to take a sabbatical for the next few months, that’s totally fine (and, indeed, encouraged). Let us know so we can remove you from the maintainer team while you are away. After you’ve had a nice break and are ready to get back into things, let us know, and we’ll add you back. You are always welcome!
What happens next?
On December 1, 2022, if we have not heard anything from any maintainers we will tag the repository with
community-contributions-paused and merge the workflow PR.
If you wish to accept community contributions, please reach out to Jonathan.
Please also reach out if:
- you wish to take a sabbatical.
- you are the sole maintainer of a track and wish to make it easier to work autonomously in the track. We can adjust some of the settings to remove friction.
- you have some regular contributors that you’d like to continue receiving contributions from. We can add them to the organization, that way their issues and PRs will not be automatically closed even if contributions are paused overall.
If you wish to discuss things in this issue, please do so below or reach out to @jonathanmiddleton.
Finally, thank you for everything you’ve put into Exercism so far. We’re really excited about how we can make volunteering on Exercism an amazing experience for the next 10 years!