The secret to thousands of contributions to the Mattermost open source project

Three years after launching, there are over 1,000 open source projects on GitHub that integrate with Mattermost. Our contributors have also added hundreds of amazing features to Mattermost.

We’re reflecting on how we got here—and what we’re doing next to build an even stronger community for our contributors.

We’ve gotten closer to our community in 2018; we recently hosted a MatterCon community meetup in Lisbon, a community event in Amsterdam and a workshop in Madrid.

We also sent our contributors a survey asking for feedback. Here’s what we found out:

Mattermost contributors overwhelmingly enjoy their experience.

More than 80% of survey respondents gave a rating of 8/10 or higher when considering how likely they would be to recommend contributing to Mattermost to someone in their network.

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Some of the top things they liked include:

  • Responsiveness. The Mattermost community and staff are responsive with a quick turnaround on issues and pull request reviews.
  • Organization.The contributor’s experience is well-structured and organized, including open help wanted tickets, which makes it easy to learn a new programming language or a codebase.
  • Swag! Contributors get all sorts of Mattermost gear, including mugs, T-shirts and more.

The feedback was awesome and encouraging.

These best practices were also aligned with many of the discussions at the community leadership summit Mattermost sponsored for the second year in a row.

But we also identified some challenges that we need to address to further improve the contributor’s experience and help coordinate and optimize our collaborative processes.

We’ve recently worked on fourkey projects to support those efforts:

1. New contributor landing page at https://mattermost.com/contribute/

The new page offers a quick way for new contributors to find a project they want to work on.

Moreover, clicking on an option directs to a page with a brief three- or four-step process you can follow to get started.

2. New developer-focused site at https://developers.mattermost.com.

A new resource for code contributors, integration builders and plugin creators—now with shorter contribution guidelines!

3. Improved contributor guidelines

Many of our contributors indicated that the contributor guidelines were too long, making it overwhelming to join the community.

We’ve listened to you and simplified the instructions. Many thanks for all the feedback!

Our work to improve the contributor experience isn’t over yet.

Head over to our forum to learn about additional ideas we are exploring based on the feedback our community has shared. If you have feedback about how Mattermost can improve its contributor experience, let us know there!

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Jason Blais

Jason Blais is a Lead Product Manager at Mattermost, Inc. Prior to joining Mattermost, Jason served as a product manager and analytics manager for SpinPunch, a Y Combinator-backed online gaming startup. Jason has also provided statistical consultation at Stanford University. He is a University of Waterloo alumnus.

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