Acknowledge contributions

January 8, 2009 opensource 2 min read

If you have ever released useful code into the open source wilderness, then you know that at some point, you get patches or contributions that are well-intentioned but don’t quite meet your standards. Either the quality is not what it should be or they use a different style than the one you prefer. Often people make contributions that you just don’t want to incorporate, but If the contribution is valuable, there are two ways of going about resolving this.

On large projects, or when you’re just too busy, you give the original contributor some feedback as to what you’d like to see changed and ask them to re-submit it. But other times, you just fix it yourself. When going this route, it’s tempting to discard the original contribution, simply taking the intent and redoing it.

I’m guilty of this. But by failing to acknowledge their hard work, you remove their motivation to contribute to your projects. So, honor the original author’s effort by accepting the original contribution, and make your desired changes on top of that.

Update: from Brian Ryckbost:

This content is open source. Suggest Improvements.


avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.