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Recognizing more types of contribution in the Drupal.org Marketplace

January 12th, 2017

Within weeks of introducing the contribution credit system on Drupal.org we realized we had created something powerful. Like all open source projects, Drupal has a behind-the-scenes economy of contribution in which individuals, organizations, and end users work together to maintain the software as a public good. That behind-the-scenes economy was brought to the fore when we chose to rank the Drupal Marketplace by issue credits. For the first time, Drupal.org gave businesses a direct financial incentive to contribute code. Being good stewards of these incentives is a sobering responsibility, but also a great opportunity. We can use this system to recognize the selfless effort of our community volunteers, to reward the organizations that sponsor their employees' time to give back to the project, and to connect end-users with the organizations that are the biggest contributors. But as we often say in this community—contribution is more than code. It is the time provided by dedicated volunteers; the talent of community organizers, documentation maintainers, and developers; and the treasure provided by organizations that sponsor Drupal events and fund the operations and infrastructure that maintain the project.

What are we changing?

We’re updating the ranking algorithm for Drupal.org’s Marketplace of service providers and list of all organizations in the Drupal ecosystem. We've expanded on the issue credit system to create a more generic contribution credit system which lets us recognize more types of contribution. Each type of contribution is now weighted to give the organization an overall amount of contribution credit. We've built this system so that we can continuously evolve the incentives it creates by adjusting the weight given to each type of contribution as the project's needs change. To prevent gaming, we will not be publishing the exact weights or total contribution score, but those weights have been reviewed by the Association Board and Community Working Group. We've carefully chosen a few new types of contribution to factor into the ranking. These were selected because they create incentives to reach specific goals: encouraging organizations to sponsor development of Drupal, gathering more Drupal 8 success stories that can be used to promote Drupal adoption, and recognizing the financial contributions that promote the fiscal health of the Drupal association. We now calculate the following 4 types of contribution into overall contribution credit:

What about other types of contribution?

Of course, these new factors still don't include all types of contribution. This iteration aims to add measurable factors that reward the behavior of organizations that are good Drupal citizens, and incentivize some of the most important contributions that have a big impact in moving the project forward. But there are other factors we'd like to include in the future! We're keeping track of these additional kinds of contribution, such as sponsoring local user groups, organizing training days, writing documentation, and more, in this issue: #2649100: Improve contribution statistics on user and organization profiles. There are two factors in particular that we are not yet including that we'd like to address. The first is project application reviews. These reviews are a critical part of the lifecycle of a new project on Drupal.org, but because we are making the Project Application Revamp a key priority for the first part of 2017, this was not our focus in this initial update. We may revisit this factor as the Project Application Revamp initiative gets underway. The second is camp organization. We know that there are many individuals and organizations who invest heavily in Drupal Camps, and this has been a critical part of the project's success. However, at this time our data about the individuals and organizations who participate in camp organization is purely self-reported, and therefore too vulnerable to manipulation to include in the algorithm at this time. In the future we hope we can find a responsible way to measure and credit this kind of contribution. We’ll continue to look for other good factors to add, and do our best to weigh them fairly.

How often will the algorithm change? Who governs these changes?

As this is our first major change to the marketplace ranking system since the launch of issue credits, we may need to make some small adjustments in the first weeks following the launch. However, we know that too frequent changes to the incentive structure will be frustrating for the individuals and organizations who are contributing to the project. Therefore, after the initial tuning we intend to update the marketplace ranking system on a roughly 6 month cycle. While the primary responsibility to manage the contribution credit system is ours, we have committed to vetting these and future changes with members of the Drupal Association Board and Community Working Group.