[development] Giving credit for committed patches

Steve Dondley sdondley at dondley.com
Fri Mar 3 18:20:47 UTC 2006

I'm about to talk about a potentially sensitive subject.  I will try
to approach this delicately by first saying this is not an attach or
criticism, just a suggestion for improvement.  It is not my intention
to start a flame war as has been suggested.

So with that out tof the way, I was noticing the other day that Dries
gives credit to patch contributors in the cvs log message.  I think
this is smart.  And I think an attempt should be made, where
practical, to do it for all patches.

First, it helps build the reputation of those who
contribute, garnering them the good will of the community, second it
strokes their ego.

As far as building the reputation of contributors, I think we all
recognize that this is an extremely important facet of open source
development.  For most of us, our reputation within the Drupal
community is dependent upon the letters in our respective handles.
When I see the letters m-e-r-l-i-n-o-f-c-h-a-o-s I think happy
thoughts.  He's helped me tremendously and I can him credit because
the things he has done for me have come from those mysterious
arrangement of letters.  And I have done what I can to reward him for
his efforts.

So I think when we give credit to contributors and build their
reputation, it spreads good will.  And it puts a human face to the
code many labor so hard on.

Second, let's just all admit right now we have egos.  I'll be the
first to say that, yup, I have one.  No, I don't work soley for
recognition and praise from others.  Just the challenge of programming
and and building web sites for worthwhile cause provides enough
self-fulfillment to sustain me.

That said, it sure does feel good when I get some recognition.  When
my first bug fix patch hit the Drupal core, I feld some
accomplishment.  And when I saw my name associated with that patch, I
was quite proud and got a little high from it.  It was the first open
source project I was able to contribute to.

On the other hand, I also feel a bit sleighted when I contriubute some
time or talent to a project (on any endeavor, not just Drupal), and no
one takes the the time to say "thanks".  That doesn't mean I stop
doing the work, but it does mean that I'm less motivated to do
something next time.  Maybe I'm an anomaly and I'm just a big
egotistical asshole.  But I suspect I'm just like any other
person and simply like getting recognition, no matter how small.

So, my suggestion is to simply make more of attempt to give credit to
those who contributed their time and talent in the cvs log messages.
I think the effort expended to do that is minimal (maybe Dries can
better respond to this point) and well worth the effort by fostering
more good will and good vibes in the development community.

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