A collaborative project involves a number of people with different areas of expertise working on different aspects of the project. When thinking about attracting new contributors, are there any tasks or areas which are important to cover but often get overlooked?

Is there evidence of open source projects where with hindsight the contributors would have benefited from a particular specialised contributor/team member that they never thought to seek?


The same as on commercial closed source development.

High quality tutorial style documentation which is kept up to date

In my experience, even when engineers are being paid to write documentation, they are extremely reluctant to do so. Which means you tend to get the simplest form of docs to write

Name:    myfunction
param:   int len the length
returns: true on success

Instead of an explanation of

  • Why you would use this function
  • How it works with other functions from the same API
  • Detailed examples

The package documentation for most R packages (including the base packages) is a prime example. So are the docs for glib

Python on the other hand does a very good job.

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