Today I read You can't crowdsource software.
The title sums up what it's about.
I've had this experience with Miro.
We occassionally get patches from non-PCF people but most of the work
is done by PCF developers. We've
spent a lot of time and effort over the last few years on getting more
code contributors and reducing the barriers to entry. We haven't had much
However, there's a lot of other "stuff" that goes into developing an application
and the article only focuses on code. Some of this "stuff" can be
successfully crowdsourced without a lot of effort. For example, Miro
crowdsources all of our strings translation work through
I work on another project called
have a core group of developers (right now this is me) who do the
bulk of the core code work. I do some plugin work, but the bulk
of the plugin work is done by users of PyBlosxom many of whom have
never touched the core code. For PyBlosxom, plugin development is
The article suggests that it's a waste of time to help bring new
contributors come up to speed and contribute because they often don't
contribute much. That conclusion really concerns me. How can we get
more people helping out if we're not working on getting people to help
Jono Bacon wrote an article
titled Project Awesome Opportunity
which talks about a few projects that are reducing the barriers to
contributing and making it a lot easier. It's very Launchpad-centric,
OpenHatch is a startup working on
building the next generation of contributors and connecting contributors
to projects that need help. They're wrestling with how to effectively
fix these problems, but without tying the fix to a project development
silo (e.g. Launchpad, GitHub, ...). I think that's really important.
I think systems like these will reduce the effort in getting contributors
and make it easier to crowdsource code contribution.
And if you, dear reader, are looking for a project to help out on that's
written in Python and need someone to mentor you, let me know.
February 5th, 2010: I should clarify I think the article is fine. I
don't think the conclusion that code contribution doesn't crowdsource well
is poorly formed or anything like that. Just that the implications suck.