Just sent out emails to various ESLint contributors letting them know that the team has awarded them cash for their contributions. ESLint values all contributions and the team picks the top outside contributors each month to pay for their help. 💵🙏😀— Nicholas C. Zakas (@slicknet) March 25, 2021
We were all intrigued by the concept and it started me wondering what it might look like in a Drupal context.
My own imagination got carried away, as usual, and I began to think a regular recognition system via cash reward could have a few key principles:
- A single “pot” with a maximum capacity so it doesn’t have detrimental effect upon other schemes
- A regular cadence to making awards
- Awards are given promptly after the contribution is made
- Size of each award is consistent, regardless of the contribution or contributor
- Awards are decided by a team of people seen as key opinion leaders in the community
- Awards are made subjectively - by considering what effect they could have on the future of the project.
This would not solve the “How do I make a living from maintaining a module?” problem, and it is not designed to do that. Instead, it might help with the “Oh wow - the leaders of this OSS project really care that I contributed” feeling that leads to further contribution.
So, here’s an idea for how to meet those principles, in a Drupal context. I’d be interested in your thoughts…
The Drupal Contribution Recognition Fund
OpenCollective would be used to hold a maximum of 5200USD. Individuals and organizations would be encouraged to contribute to the fund and all due recognition would be given to those sponsors.
If someone tries to make a donation to the fund that takes it over the 5200USD limit, they will be thanked but pointed to other ways to contribute to the sustainability of the Drupal project. Obviously, I think the Drupal Association would be a good alternative.
Every week! Can you imagine making someone in the global Drupal community happy every week of the year? That would be awesome.
It also means that we get to recognise a whole bunch of people fairly quickly - 52 a year.
100USD. The intention of the award isn’t to “make OSS pay” but to “make OSS rewarding” - it is nice to receive a cash award. It leaves a good feeling.
Small awards are also easier to give. We have to spend less time worrying about if we are giving them to the right person each time.
I did wonder about the fact that 100USD has a different relative value in different parts of the world - and whether we should use a purchasing power parity system to adjust the award. No, if someone receives a 100USD award in a lower income country, even better.
We need a panel of, say, four people each week. Now, having a group have to meet each week would be an unreasonable burden upon the panel so we need to mix it up a bit. They need to come from a list of people who are held in regard by the community they serve and I suggest, at least for the first year, the panel is chosen each week from the people mentioned in the Drupal core maintainers.txt. That’s 97 different people, so a team of four would mean each person only having to think about this two or three times a year.
By using a wide list, we also increase the diversity of people they may choose from.
Who is eligible?
Everyone, except those on the panel for that week’s award. We would probably want to make sure an individual can only receive the award once a year or something.
What makes a good candidate contribution?
For a contribution to be regarded as a good candidate for an award, it should:
- Exist in the drupal.org issue queues, on any project
- Has been made within the previous four weeks
- Be of any type of contribution - code, documentation, project management, event organising, running trainings, etc
- Be especially relevant if it is a first, second, or third contribution
- Be especially relevant if it is supporting/mentoring a first, second, or third contribution by someone else
- Have moved the issue forward in a measurable way
How do we make the award?
As the week’s award team make their decision, it is logged on Drupal.org against their user account, so we can ensure we don’t give awards to to the same people repeatedly, and they are notified via their primary Drupal.org email address with a code to include in their claim on OpenCollective.
Once they make a claim on OpenCollective, they can choose to either receive the 100USD directly or donate it elsewhere (some people get the good feeling from being awarded but don’t actually need the hard cash).
OpenCollective pay out and the Drupal Association highlight the award, with a short description of why it was made, on the front page of Drupal.org.