I recently learned of this website, https://www.firsttimersonly.com/ , which has the mantra, “Friendly Open Source projects should reserve specific issues for newbies.” This is an aggregation of resources for motivated individuals that want to contribute to open source but don’t know how to get started. It includes a few resources, such as an example project that teaches newbies the basic workflow of using git and github to submit their first pull request.
From that site, I found https://goodfirstissues.com/ and https://goodfirstissue.dev/ , which aggregate issues on GH repositories that are tagged with ‘Good First Issue’. I want to start a discussion about this idea and whether we could find some opportunities here for new contributors.
First, does anyone have prior experience with an open source project which invited new contributors in this way, and was it a success? What did you learn from it, would you like to see it done here, and what would you do differently about it?
Secondly, what kind of commitment would it take for us to find some issues that are a good fit within the Foreman community? From the top of my head:
Good candidate issues need to be easy enough for a newcomer to tackle without a large amount of prior experience. That could be challenging with Foreman given the inherent complexity in what this software does, but also the large scope and number of projects/repositories within this community means that there could be a high volume of issues to choose from.
Good candidate issues also need to be somewhat low priority, in order to allow time for newcomer to come along and pick it up. So even a simple one-liner fix may not be appropriate if the fix is important enough that it needs to happen right away.
There needs to be a willingness of the maintainers of that repository to gently guide the contributor through the process, which might include coaching them a bit on the git workflow, when and how to amend and force push, conforming to the style guide of the project, proper formatting of the commit message and attaching a Redmine where appropriate.
Speaking of Redmine, it’s usually the single source of truth for issues, while the issue tracker on GH is less commonly used here. In order to make it easy for newbies to find issues using one of the above trackers, that could require a commitment from one or more community members to search Redmine for issues which are difficulty = trivial or easy and priority = low, then create a GH issue in the appropriate project and add the ‘Good First Issue’ tag.
Basically what I want to gauge is whether this is feasible for us to do, is anybody interested in doing it, and do we reasonably expect that some newcomer will get value from the experience?
Looking forward to your thoughts and experience.