Github has cemented itself as the global repository for open-source projects, and its latest user survey reveals some significant trends in the industry.
Firstly, it seems that poor documentation is the scourge of the open source world, described as "highly valued" but "frequently overlooked".
It reveals that negative reactions (most notably ‘rudeness') are highly visible and although infrequent, that combination can actually make matters even worse, affecting the projects activity and contributions.
Diversity is also an issue, with the results used by the whole world but the contributors not reflecting different facets of society.
Amongst respondents, open source is the default choice for software (as you'd expect) and that using, and even contributing to open source happens ‘on the job' as Github puts it.
So the key take aways? People need to write better documentation to go with their projects, which involves collaborating with every contributor to keep it up to date, and most importantly, be excellent to each other.
Meanwhile, negative interactions can seemingly kill a project.
"18 per cent of respondents have personally experienced a negative interaction with another user in open source, but 50 per cent have witnessed one between other people. It's not possible to know from this data whether the gap is due to people who experienced such interactions leaving open source, or broad visibility of incidents."
The top three were rudeness (45 per cent), name calling (20 per cent), stereotyping (11 per cent). 21 per cent said that negative interaction had led them to stop working on a project.
Unsurprisingly, the glass ceiling is firmly in place with 95 per cent of respondents being men, just three per cent women and one per cent non-binary. Which leaves one per cent unaccounted for. Wasps?
Talking about the findings, Github said, "We hope you'll use the data to inform decisions about community, tooling, and prioritisation of work; understand the needs and experiences of different parts of the community; and do new and interesting research on a remarkable system of peer production that powers so much of modern life,"
The entire dataset is available as a Github repository for anyone that wants to fiddle with it.
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