A popular open source library has lots of open PRs. A maintainer claims that they have no time to look at them, but has time to answer the same library related question on Stack Overflow.

Most of the questions about this library are very repetitive, and some just come from not reading the docs.

Is it reasonable to suggest for the library's docs/wiki to be updated to capture these common questions from SO? In this case, would it be reasonable to expect the maintainer to not spend so much time on SO? For example:

Hey seeing how lots of these SO questions are now answered in our wiki, can you use some of this new free time to go through PRs?

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is reasonable, but it will be most reasonable if you create yourself the patches for the docs / wiki. So, don't just go around suggesting things to be improved. Improve them on your own, and sent ready mergeable patches!

Of course, if you can propose or provide code changes to avoid those issues / difficulties in the library, that's even better!

Don't start to propose the maintainer how to spend their time. That's just way too rude. Some people love answering questions on StackOverflow. Since you haven't paid for the open source support, you have to consider the level of support you may get won't necessarily fulfill your needs.

  • 1
    Basically the maintainers can't look at my (ant others) PR but have time to answer the same SO and forum questions over and over. The PRs i make get stuck because of what i'm asking here. Did i ask the question right because i don't understand your answer. If i do the things from the two paragraphs, they wont be seen if I don't start getting rude like in the 3rd paragraph.
    – pailhead
    May 11, 2018 at 16:22
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    At what point can i make an argument "hey, i have more time and i have the passion, could you make me a maintainer too?" or "hey, that guy has more time the passion, can you make him a mantainer"
    – pailhead
    May 11, 2018 at 16:24
  • 3
    @pailhead collaborative work is only possible when there's good communication and trust. You can't simply request to be made a maintainer without first establishing a trusting relationship with the current maintainer(s). The fact that you're asking these questions here (and the frustration revealed by their wording) suggests that you haven't yet established an open, honest and cordial dialogue with the project lead regarding these issues. You can't force collaboration by decree. And crucially, you must respect how other people choose to spend their time, even if you don't agree with it.
    – waldyrious
    May 12, 2018 at 11:30
  • A PR for docs is much easier to evaluate than for code, so it's more likely I think it would be accepted. I can't see if you've written here that your original PR is for code or docs. May 12, 2018 at 13:26
  • Everyone has their own ideas of how to spend their time. We can't make someone work on something they don't want to, we can only ask them to do what we think is important. Having a lack of interest in a project they own is an indication that they are not interested in continuing development of that project, probably time someone else took over the project.
    – sambler
    May 12, 2018 at 16:28

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