Growing from a one person project to a Collective

What to do if you want to be eligible for OSC hosting

Sometimes, we get applications from developers who are keen to have their personal projects hosted by Open Source Collective, but who don't have a huge amount of contributors yet. The main things we look for at OSC when we judge whether or not an open source project has a large enough community to justify hosting are:

  • Active contributors to your code base (more than just the admin or maintainers, too!)

  • That your GitHub (or other platform) project isn't hosted under your personal account

  • A Code of Conduct

  • Contributing guides

  • Onboarding guides

  • A filled out README file

  • Governance documentation

  • A website for your project

So, how do you take your project from one person to more?

Good question! First, I would work on the items mentioned above. Ask your friends, colleagues, or coding partners to help contribute to your project. If they don't seem interested, it means that you may need to work a bit harder, by incentivizing contribution:

  • Make it clear in your README what your project is, what it is meant to do, and how you would like it to grow.

  • Write a section in your Contributing guide about what a meaningful contribution means to you - is it opening bug reports? Issues? Attempting to install it locally? Submitting PRs?

  • Make easy issues which new users can tackle in their first Pull Request. Don't close them yourself, but leave them for others to learn how to work on the project with you.

  • Create a Code of Conduct to talk about what your project allows for interactions, and how poor interactions are dealt with. The Contributor Covenant is a good starting place.

  • Write a section in your contributing guide about how people can ask to become maintainers. What do they need to show in terms of skill or involvement, first? What are the commitments and expectations for maintainers? What are the benefits? These are great questions to answer in your contributing guide.

  • Praise contributions. Being nice and grateful goes a super long way towards making others feel valued.

  • Ask your other maintainers if they want to help set up an organization on GitHub for the project, to cover not only the main repository but extra repositories, and to make it clearer to everyone that this project has long term plans for existing.

  • Think about your goals for the project: where do you want it to be in ten days? A month? A year? Ten years? Write these down.

  • Use a tool like all contributors to incentivize non-code contributions. You don't have to code for the project to be useful - PMs, designers, documentation writers, and others are all important for a project's health.

These are just some ways to get started. There are more guides in this GitBook that can help you out.

When you're ready, re-apply for OSC hosting!

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