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How to gain insight into your project contributors

We're excited to share with you the contributors Action! At GitHub, we maintain several open source repositories and have developed this Action to empower maintainers to measure how many new and returning contributors and contributions have occurred over any given time period.

How to gain insight into your project contributors

Today, we’re releasing the Contributors GitHub Action, a tool for gaining insight into your project’s or organization’s contributors.

Understanding and appreciating your contributors is a fundamental aspect of maintaining a healthy and thriving open source project. Our newly launched Contributors Action is here to help you gain valuable insights into your project’s engagement, recognize contributors’ efforts, and foster a strong and inclusive community.

This Action can help you:

  • Identify candidates for onboarding new maintainers
  • Say thank you to new and returning contributors
  • Get a signal when contributors are increasing or decreasing in a given project
  • Understand when projects need additional support from an Open Source Programs Office (OSPO) or Foundation

The power of metrics

In open source development, metrics play a crucial role in tracking project health and identifying areas for improvement. The Contributors GitHub Action allows you to measure an entire GitHub organization or just a single repository.

What can you measure?

With the Contributors GitHub Action, you can gather data on:

  • The total number of contributors.
  • The total contributions made by these contributors.
  • The percentage of new contributors.
  • Individual contributor activity, including the number of commits.
  • How to sponsor your contributors via GitHub Sponsors.

Whether you’re a project maintainer looking to acknowledge recent contributors or an organization seeking potential new maintainers, this Action can help you get the insights you need. The Action also protects contributor privacy by not supplying any information that is not publicly available on the user’s profile or a repository’s commit history.

How to use the Contributors Action

Interested in implementing the Contributors Action in your project or organization? Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Create a repository
    Start by creating a new repository to host the Contributors GitHub Action or select an existing one. You can also run this Action on an entire organization.
  2. Choose an example workflow
    Select the best-fit workflow file from the examples provided and customize it to your needs with the “Configuration” section of the contributors action file.
  3. Copy and edit the workflow
    Copy the chosen example workflow into your repository and save it in the .github/workflows/ directory with the .yml file extension. Edit the values in the workflow to match your specific needs, including the organization or repository you want to measure, start and end dates (if applicable), and other configurations.
  4. Set the GitHub token
    Ensure that you have a GitHub token with the necessary permissions to read the repository or organization you’re interested in scanning. If you’re running the Action on a different repository or organization, create a GitHub API token and store it as a repository secret, referencing it in your workflow.
  5. Commit and trigger the Action
    Commit the workflow file to your default branch and wait for the Action to trigger based on your specified schedule or manually initiate it via a workflow_dispatch.

Made with maintainers in mind

Check out the GitHub repository and open an issue to let us know what you think. If you have any questions or need support, don’t hesitate to do that in an issue as well.

To the open source maintainers and OSPO managers out there: We see you! We hope this helps you do your great work. Thanks for everything you do to make the open source ecosystem welcoming and collaborative! ❤️

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