What Makes a Good Open Source Project?

Anthony Casson on May 14, 2019

I thought it fitting to ask a massively broad, hearty open source question on a platform that also happens to be open source: DEV. Additionally, it... [Read Full]
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What I like to see most in an open-source project is that it is focused. By having a clear vision for what the project is and is not, it shows me that thought has been put into it and I can trust that the project will continue to serve my needs into the future instead of morphing into something way more than I need.

I don't need a project to be maintained daily if it is small and focused in scope. In many cases, these projects are simply finished and the only updates necessary are bugfixes. There's something really nice about projects that are feature-complete.


I've been dabbling with the OSS project for a short while now and I've come to some personal conclusions.

Some things seem to be a requirement for an OSS project to be "good":

  • Clear and concise contribution documentation (how to file a bug report, how to set up your environment and tests etc.)
  • Good management of issues (automatisation of everything that is repetitive can help a long way, such as imposing a format and closing inactive issues)
  • A well defined code of conduct

Other things were pretty noticeable for someone who's just been starting:

  • Marking issues as "good first issues" will help a LOT of new contributors to get started
  • Transparency and communication; meaning an availability to answer questions that newcomers may have (as much as I know it can be hard to manage multiple projects & issues at the same time)
  • A slack channel (or any other type of platform). Many people are afraid of flooding an issue feed with small questions, that's where the slack channel comes in.
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