It takes a village to build open source software, or really a community of people with many different skills. Leaderboards can help us show the top-performing contributors and celebrate them, but they are double-edge swords in a community’s toolbox. Tracking contributions can introduce an element of gamification, especially when contributors gain privileges in a community based on their level of contributions. As a positive outcome, leaderboards can be increased participation and contributions which hopefully advances the community. As a negative outcome, leaderboards can discourage less performing contributors or lead to behaviors that result in higher rankings but work against the good of the community.
In this session, we will discuss the use of leaderboards and alternative metrics we can use. The session includes a brief introduction to leaderboards, how to implement them, and examples of successful and catastrophic uses. The insights shared in this talk come from conversations in the CHAOSS Community, which specializes in metrics for open source community health. Final note: context matters and what works in one community may not work in your community, but we can still learn from each other and maybe come up with new ideas for how to celebrate contributors and incentivize good community citizenship.
Georg Link is an open source strategist. It's his mission to help organizations and open source projects become more professional in using metrics and analytics for understanding open source projects and communities. He cofounded and is co-leading the Linux Foundation CHAOSS project and he's helping organizations obtain professional metric services from Bitergia.