On measuring contribution

Or, why Dries’ interesting article is missing incredibly valuable data but that’s fair because that data is really hard to collect…

I’m very happy that Dries had had the opportunity to update his blog post, “Who sponsors Drupal development?” as it does create an interesting picture about the project and community I care so much about.

I don’t think it will come to the surprise to many, though, that I am left feeling frustrated that it concentrates on code-contribution, though.

I watched Mauricio Dinarte doing a talk at the DrupalCamp Belgium last week aimed specifically at non-Drupal, non-technical people. He was really, really good. I believe he was even whisked away afterwards to Germany by 1xInternet to do some training of new people in all things Drupal. I’m sure we will get bright new members of our community from this. They will be the next Angie Byrons, the next Daniel Wehners and all the other people that I should list. They start that journey because of the huge contributions of people like Mauricio.

But Mauricios effort is not counted. It is appreciated, of course. I’m sure Dries and other “Drupal Leaders” (whatever that means) will be the first to say thank you but it is not counted in lists of contribution like the ones we see on Dries’ blog post.

There’s a very good reason why this is not counted of course: it’s much harder to count the effort of doing an excellent talk than it is to count the number of patches worked on. The latter is just a case of counting occurences of usernames in the git log — the former? Well, how do we do that?

I’d like to say I have all the answers; I don’t. I do want to progress the conversation and see what we can come up with, though.

Back in DrupalCon in Amsterdam, I did a talk about how I had implemented Mozilla OpenBadges and how it could apply to the Drupal community. I had probably taken a step too far by talking about a solution before really defining the problem properly. Whatever it is, though, we do know that to measure and record non-code contribution we need to be able to license out the ability to “award” recognition to the people or groups who saw it happen and stand as authority for that type of contribution (and probably geographically, too).

So let’s start at the start — what is considered as contribution to the sustainability of the Drupal project? Can we at least get a list of those things in Vienna, and begin to look at ways we can measure them, in a way that Dries can talk about them in the future?

I feel a BoF coming on…