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What are some examples of great contributor onboarding for an open source project?

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Looking for some examples of simple, friendly onboarding. I'd love to see examples where the instructions are clear and the community is welcome, but also projects where the technical choices make getting started easier.

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Maybe I'm biased, but I think my company (MousePaw Media) has a pretty smooth open source contributor onboarding process. Basically, I took note of all the bumps I've experienced contributing to other projects, and tried to avoid them all with ours.

1) We offer a carefully maintained development network. Public tools either require no login or has GitHub authentication. Permissions and access is tailored: staff, trusted contributors, and regular contributors have appropriate privileges.

2) Everything is documented. You can find quick guides for filing bug reports, setting up a development environment, building code, contributing code, and how to use anything.

3) You can find a place to start using our Task Finder, which has separate lists for "Help Wanted", "Low Hanging Fruit", and "Challenging" tasks.

4) Our code follows our Commenting Showing Intent, and we maintain project issue lists, workboards, and documentation.

5) We have a strict code review workflow to ensure code is clean and maintainable.


if-me is an open-source project for sharing mental health experiences. Its built with a standard rails stack and has a good beginner friendly contributing guide.


Starting out programming in Java, one of my first contributions to an open source project was to RSyntaxTextArea. While it doesn't necessarily have the guidelines of some larger projects, the community is welcoming and pull requests are addressed promptly with helpful feedback if necessary.
I've also found ESLint to always have a very friendly and helpful community of contributors.


I think React is very friendly. Their docs have a nice How To Contribute section and regularly mark out Good First Issues on their github.

I recently presented my takeaways here at ReactNYC and would highly recommend.


update: my talk is now on THAT VERY SECION IN THE OFFICIAL REACT DOCS WTF!!!?!?!?!11!!!!

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Ben Halpern profile image
A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.