Welcoming new contributors

Hi, I’m @worldofpeace. A primary role I’ve assumed in nixpkgs, not publicly, is welcoming
and offering guidance to our new contributors. This is where I find I can best utilize myself at the moment.
If I notice someone has submitted their first PR to nixpkgs I go out of my way to ensure that their change is noticed. This frequently entails a lot of PR review from me, or me helping arrange an appropriate reviewer for them. (pm’s are always welcome).

So this is really a behavior that I would like to impart to established members of nixpkgs.
Having the presence of new people is something nixpkgs will really benefit from, so it’s really
worth your time to assist someone else in finding their home in nixpkgs if they’re interested.
If this kind of support wasn’t extended to me I wouldn’t be able to do these things, so it’s really worth it.


Thank you for doing this! I started using Nix and NixOS about a year ago and have always felt that my contributions were welcomed. NixOS is definitely has the lowest barrier for contributing that I have encountered so far. The most difficult problem is addressing PRs timely, which may be frustrating to new contributors, who might not know that the turnaround time is usually only a day or so for simple updates or fixes.

The long tail of contributors is something to cherish, there are a lot of packages with (probably) only a handful of users and inactive maintainers. Making the barriers for testing and contribution low for the users of those packages prevents bitrot.

I’ve also noticed you doing this and it’s great!

I’d certainly be more inclined to review newcomers PRs, but there’s no obvious way of knowing which ones are from newcomers, I think? Other than being very familiar with the list of nixpkgs committers :wink:

1 Like

I would like to call out @worldofpeace with a public thank you.

@worldofpeace gave me an extraordinary review for my first complex python package and I have learned a lot. I’m very grateful and still amazed at state of the NixOS community. A lot of linux distribution would be envious.

1 Like

Yep, current running problem around here is responsiveness and there is level of collaboration that people can miss out on. This is touched on in the op of What are your goals for 19.09?. I’ve been working around this by changing the one thing I’d have the most control over, myself.
I would like to approach this at more angles though.

Also, good to see you had a nice experience. I feel like the first contact you have has a really big influence on a person’s continued interaction.

This requires a level of observation.

GitHub helps out by giving like a badge “First-time contributor” but I’ve noticed that it can reappear if someone hasn’t contributed in long time. Or looking at their contribution graph relative to the org.
Frequently I’ll realize this if I don’t recall interacting with them before, and usually if it’s their first time you can see an influx of their PRs. So a lot of watching around.