|As a Hacktoberfest Community Partner, we engaged directly with the external community.
|To build on our strong base of internal contributors, we focused on flexibility.
Our focus is on open source sustainability. To help us understand what this means, we use the oceanic ecosystem as a model.
The ocean requires clean water, all sizes of fish, reefs for congregating, critters to clean up, and plankton to let bigger animals thrive. Similarly, our open source ecosystem is varied and interrelated. We support all sizes of projects, events for contributors to congregate, and an emphasis on cleaning up to help projects thrive. Our objective with this mindful approach: release open source projects that benefit interested adopters and contributors.
September was Prep-tember
September was a busy month of preparation. Indeed’s Open Source Program Office (OSPO) identified six projects to work with and promote during Hacktoberfest. Our qualifying criteria for the projects: Indeed actively uses the project and at least one of the project’s maintainers is an Indeed employee.
Our program office shared the Hacktoberfest guidelines with project maintainers. We asked them to tag repos and issues within their projects that they wanted help with. We requested a three-day turnaround time for responding to comments or opening pull requests (PRs). We then worked with maintainers to schedule and publicize open office hours. Manager buy-in was crucial, so we worked with maintainers and their managers to dedicate time towards Hacktoberfest during the work week.
Engaging with the external community
Office hours and timely PR merges helped us make sure that the experience of Hacktoberfest participants was positive.
The maintainers scheduled multiple office hours. These were times during which anyone, Indeed employee or not, could join a video call and ask project-specific questions. Our program office coordinated the publicity through the Hacktoberfest Event Board, Indeed’s Hacktoberfest landing page, and on each project’s readme.md page.
Expanding our internal reach
Virtual study halls—internal office hours that were not project specific—allowed us to help as many Indeed employees as possible. Instead of standing meeting times, the program office and our open source ambassadors hosted these events on an as-needed basis, resulting in more than one study hall every workday in October.
We invited mentors and mentees to our new mentorship program. We paired people by timezone and their experience with open source: from brand new to needing help finding issues to needing guidance closing a “reach” issue to expand technical capabilities.
The study hall events and mentorship programs were great. It felt like there was an involved community and lots of support and encouragement throughout the month. —Technical Business Analyst
Leveraging Indeed’s open source projects
For Hacktoberfest, we leveraged our existing tools to share open issues in projects that Indeed is dependent on. First, we used Mariner (open sourced by our OSPO in 2019) to identify beginner-friendly issues recently opened in open source projects. For 2020, we open sourced Mariner Issue Collector—a version of Mariner that runs as a GitHub Action. Since August 2019, we’ve been using Mariner output to produce a weekly internal blog post highlighting contribution opportunities for everyone at Indeed.
We generated the list of Indeed employees who participated in Hacktoberfest using Starfish (open sourced by our program office in 2019). We used Starfish because it gives us accurate contributions over a period of time, no matter the date in which we receive a GitHub ID. We also use Starfish to compile the list of employees who are eligible to vote in our FOSS Contributor Fund.
Encouraging open source sustainability
We’re happy with the great results from Hacktoberfest 2020. We can only reach our open source sustainability goals if we create and maintain a habit of using and contributing to open source projects. Events like Hacktoberfest help us motivate and inspire Indeedians to get involved in supporting the open source software they use every day. One way we measure program success is by counting the number of people who contribute to open source on two or more days throughout the quarter. We refer to this metric as active recurring participants (ARPs). Compared to previous months, we saw an increase of over 200% of ARPs in October.
I’ve had it as a goal for, let’s be honest, years to commit to OSS [open source]. And I went from 0 to 5 PRs this week. So thanks for the motivation and support to finally get me committing to open source. —Senior Quality Assurance Automation Engineer
To build on our Hacktoberfest 2020 momentum, we’re continuing to post open issues that Indeed has dependencies on. We’ve surveyed our 100 participants so that we can meet Indeed employees where they are.
We believe the best time to start to contribute to open source is now. And the best open source ecosystem is sustainable.