Creating a Superstar Radar

About 100 potential new contributors a day are contacting us through the Get Involved page. We know what they’re interested in, but we don’t have a lot of visibility about who goes on to contribute.

If we can identify different steps people take to contribute to a project, we can look at each of those and see how many people take that step and move on to the next one. As an example, at the Coding Contribute Group we came up with this path for coding contributors.

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I think this could be really powerful in a number of ways.

You can fix roadblocks. The Coding Stewards recently had Bugzilla send out email to anyone who had their first patch approved to help them figure out what to do next. We felt this might be a hurdle and with a conversion report we can see if this made moving to the next step easier.

You can identify superstar volunteers. I’ve color-coded this path to match with casual, active and core contributor levels. If you could identify every core volunteer in your project, you could invite them to work weeks, send them swag or ask them to help with new opportunities they may be interested in.

I imagine there would be many other ways to make use of this information to help us grow Mozilla. What would a contribution path look like for your project? What would you do to make contributing to your project easier with this information?

Hat tip to Jessilyn Davis for the idea for the Superstar Radar name.

7 Responses to Creating a Superstar Radar

  1. dmose2 says:

    Great stuff. It would also be fascinating to treat do the thing that is often done with marketing funnels, and track where people either top out or fall off the radar entirely, and then reach out to them to find out why…

    • davidwboswell says:

      Great point. Using this to send out surveys to find out what is frustrating or blocking people who stop at certain points could be really interesting.

  2. glandium says:

    #8 often comes before #7

    • davidwboswell says:

      Great, thanks for the feedback. I think there will be many cases where these conversion points aren’t going to be in the same order for everyone. Will be good to keep that in mind when putting any analysis together.

  3. bwmk says:

    Have you spec’ed out tools to track this yet? I envision a web app that the contributor logs into and records each step. Like a wizard. It would not scale for stewards to do the recording. And someone on the call yesterday mentioned game-ifying it, which is a possibility though there are pros and cons there.

    • davidwboswell says:

      Brian, in many cases I think this can happen without needing a separate tool. For instance, the Bugzilla API lets us see much of this coding activity already without anyone needing to explicitly log what step they’re out in this path.

  4. [...] into what’s going on inside the community, it is difficult to identify and recognize superstar contributors and there is no way to create a feedback loop that will let us find and fix [...]

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