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[eclipse.org-project-leadership] Time to trim inactive committers

Project Leaders,
We've been muddling along for three years now with a large set of inactive committers but the time has come to take bold action and trim the committer lists. The latest data I have from the commits explorer is that only 50% of listed committers have written any code at all in the last twelve months - zero lines of code in a year which is pretty darn inactive.

We have built a new portal box to help you with "decommitterizing" your inactive committers. Project leaders (such as yourselves), have an additional [decommitterize] action in their project boxes on the portal:


When you press that button, you get a list of all your project's committers along with two pieces of activity information: (1) the number of committer elections the person has participated in in the last year and (2) a red-yellow-green activity indicator for source code commits.  The activity indicator follows the activity determinations on the standard project information pages which is: active = commits within the last three months, participating = nothing in the last three months but commits within the last nine months, inactive = no commits in more than nine months.


For each person you determine to be an inactive committer, simply press on [remove] for that person and fill out the form. (Of course you can see the whole process with the "explore" button.)

Eclipse Projects are predicated on having active committers and the top-level project Charters reflect that:
  • "Active participation in the user newsgroup and the appropriate developer mailing lists is a responsibility of all Committers, and is critical to the success of the Project."
  • "Committers are required to monitor the developer mailing list associated with all Projects and components for which they have commit privileges. This is a condition of being granted commit rights to the Project or component. It is mandatory because committers must participate in votes ... and must respond to the mailing list in a timely fashion in order to facilitate the smooth operation of the Project. When a Committer is granted commit rights they will be added to the appropriate mailing lists. A Committer must not be unsubscribed from a developer mailing list unless their associated commit privileges are also removed."
  • "At times, Committers may go inactive for a variety of reasons. The decision making process of the Project relies on active committers who respond to discussions and votes in a constructive and timely manner. ... A Committer that is disruptive, does not participate actively, or has been inactive for an extended period may have his or her commit status removed by the PMC"
Thus it is clear that inactive committers must be removed from the projects' committer lists.

One thing that a couple of people have mentioned is that they have left some people on the lists to acknowledge their past contributions even though they are currently not active. For example: John Weigand. While this is admirable, it is not allowed by the project Charters - but all is not lost! - we have added a new "Committer Emeritus" feature to the project information pages (bug 222350). The [decommitterization] form has a checkbox for you to nominate significant past contributors for Emeritus status. There is no limit to the number of Committers Emeritus a project can have, but this role should be a honor reserved for significant contributors.

Obviously, if someone appears inactive in the limited stats I have collected but you know them to be an active committer (maybe they answer newsgroup posts or write tutorials or ??), then you are not required to decommitterize them. The decisions are yours to make, but I encourage you to trim more rather than less as "Active participation ... is critical to the success of the Project."

I know you're busy, but it is important for the entire Eclipse community to keep the committer list clean and active. Among other reasons, keeping the committer list clean raises the value of being an Eclipse Committer so it's in all of our best interest for you to take a few minutes, go to the portal, and use the [decommitterization] tool to clean up your project's committer list.
Thank you.
--
Bjorn Freeman-Benson
Director, Committer Community
Eclipse Foundation

voice:  971-327-7323 (Pacific Time)
email:  bjorn.freeman-benson@xxxxxxxxxxx

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