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Introducing seeking-maintainers.net! πŸŽ‰

A few days ago, @kev asked the community for help maintaining his side-project, 512kb.club. This got me thinking.

There are loads of maintainers out there feeling burnt out, but they can't abandon their project since people are depending on the project to be maintained.

In an effort to combat this, I built a website that lists projects looking for new maintainers. It's still quite empty and has some rough edges, so any feedback is very welcome.

If you're maintaining an open source project or you know someone who does, I'd highly appreciate if you help spread the word by telling your friends about this.

I usually don't beg for awareness, but a project like this can only thrive by word of mouth.

Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

@totoroot not yet actually! There doesn't seem to be much traffic on it anymore though. Maybe I could do some missionary work on the projects on that list. Thank you!

@garritfra@fosstodon.org I don't really know how it should work initially so idk about creating an issue for it

@freeplay I'd guess that they use a faulty regex for matching URLs, but that's just a guess out in the blue.

Maybe open an issue just to have it documented?

@garritfra @kev I'm wondering how OSS will pan out in the long term - e.g. 20 years hence. There's not *much* incentive to pick up someone else's project unless you need to depend on it yourself. I wonder if the tendency to add dependencies willy-nilly will fade over time. Or will the continual introduction of new programming languages mean there is always a supply of maintained projects to depend on?

@garritfra your links for example projects seem to be messed up; they each go to the other's issue

@garritfra @kev I was going to hold off on saying this a little bit longer, but I've picked up a bit more on my plate than I can manage! I think I might open a couple issues...

One of my situations is that I've become co-maintainer of an existing project (which I was going to build a new one around) that I saw needed some fixing up, but I don't really want that additional work & I don't feel qualified.

@garritfra I wonder if seeking-maintainers.net might one day end up on seeking-maintainers.net :D

@garritfra @rzr this seems up your alley with abandonware and all that.

@garritfra
Good initiative. If I just may:
> and feel stressed out

Maybe this should be rephrased; ideally maintainers already indicate they need help if they want to step down, or feel they could use some help (co-maintainership). If a maintainer is stressed they're too late, and it would probably be hard to do a good handover.

@garritfra

Second thought: it'd probably be helpful to have some resources. Because announcing you need help is an important first step, but nog enough. E.g. on how to find & select a good successor, what makes a successful handover, the benefits of co-maintaining. I remember for gpodder.net the previous maintainer made a call which also reached geek-media. Two people 'stepped up' but the project is pretty much dead nonetheless, sadly.

@keunes @garritfra I hope its fine to jump into the discussion :) Its Georg, currently maintainer at Funkwhale. We did a handover last year and currently this can be considered a success story from my point of view. So I could share some insights how it worked (but I am not that good at writing a good blogpost, I'd imagine something like an interview maybe?).

Another thought might be to handover the responsibilities to a group of people. Jazz club works like this.

@keunes @garritfra you basically grant access to a project to the group and they might not be able to actively develop the project, but there is a fair chance someone is able to react on a merge request. So the project isn't totally lost and there is even a chance to get it started again.

@keunes @garritfra ideally we would work towards a situation when maintainers don't have as much responsibilities like right now. Some tasks needs to be done by a specific set of people to provide trust, but a lot of tasks can actually be done by regular users, who step by to do one or two things. I am thinking for quite a while now about ideas to "democratise" (not sure if its a good phrase) open source projects in order to make it easier to be a maintainer

@gcrkrause
This is the situation we had with 512kb.club, that lead to seeking-maintainers.net being built. Kev didn't need someone to take over the project entirely, just someone who crawls through submissions/PRs as they come in. It's really a task anyone can do. Of course projects vary in scope, and this might not work for every project.

I'm curious: do you have any ideas how we could "democratice" OSS projects? I really like this thought.

@keunes

@garritfra I guess this requires some more than 500 chars, but we have the two poles that we want to have persons who maintain a project which we can trust, in order to have some supply chain security and on the other site we want to lower the bus factor whereever possible. So the question is how to achieve that on different levels, organisational, technical, financial, community-wise and there might be more aspects.

@garritfra I think it really starts with writing down the tasks maintainers are actually doing. It feels like a waste of time, but for example Funkwhale has a guide how to do an release and this way it doesn't really matter anymore, who does it. It will be the same process because we have a playbook for it. The same can be true for non-technical things. This lower barriers for onboarding and allows higher fluctuation.

@gcrkrause @keunes hi Georg, I'd actually be really interested in hearing your story. I'm not a great interviewer, but maybe there's someone who could arrange this? @gnulinux just published a story about seeking-maintainers.net (thanks guys!!). Could this be a follow-up?

As an alternative, I'd be really grateful if you captured your thoughts in a few sentences. Insights like this are often invaluable!

@garritfra

I will see if I can collect some notes and compile a blogpost, I guess its interesting for some people anyway and might be a good way for me to reflect some things which happened.

@keunes you're making a good point. My initial goal with this project was not to find a successor for a project, but rather someone who's willing to do the "dirty work" of merging PRs, answering issues and alike. I since realized that this topic is far greater than I anticipated, so maybe I should reevaluate the scope of this project. Giving maintainers not just the ability to speak up, but also resources for successful handovers could be a valuable addition to the site.

@garritfra this is a great initiative! Don't know any project in specific but I have seen this problem crop up every so often. I think gPodder.net has been looking for someone the past year or so?

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