Closember 2022 Is Over
Thanks to everyone who helped support open source maintainers by closing issues and pull requests throughout November.
Closember is a month-long initiative for maintainers, contributors, and open source enthusiasts run by Quansight, OpenTeams, and FairOSS. The goal of Closember is to encourage better and healthier open source community practices while raising awareness about maintainer burnout.
An ongoing source of stress for maintainers of many open source projects is the steady stream of issues and PRs flowing into their bug tracker feeds. It’s a double-edged sword: community participation is a key element of a healthy project, but if the rate of incoming tickets becomes too great, a backlog starts to build up. An issue/PR backlog is both stressful for the maintainers, and can decrease the morale of potential contributors... “Will my PR even be noticed amid all these others?” This problem is worse if many of those issues don’t provide enough details on the problem or requested feature, or if those PRs need a lot of work before they can be merged.
Closember emphasizes that participating in open source is a two-way street between maintainers and contributors. Maintaining projects requires significant time and effort, and that work needs to be noticed, valued, and validated. As well, contributing to a project carries a number of responsibilities, in order to make it as easy as possible for a project to receive that contribution. However, best practices for project maintenance, maintainer self-care, and project contributions aren’t always obvious. Closember raises awareness of this in order to support the community as a whole.
For Maintainers: How to Get Ready
All right, maintainers—so you have a project that could use some maintainability help, and you'd like to get in on the Closember action next year. What should you do to get ready?
Well, first of all, keep in mind that the most fundamental point of Closember is maintainer health and well-being. So, take care of yourself first, whatever that means ... diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation ... only you know what you need. One thing that we often find helpful is to declutter our physical and digital environment: tidying our desks a bit, decluttering our computers’ desktops, unsubscribing from some email lists ... that sort of thing.
Another thing to consider is that working with Closember contributions will involve extra time and effort on your part. So, even if your project could use some help, the best thing for you might be not to participate!
If you decide to jump in, though,
the biggest thing you'll need to do
before tagging your repo with
closember is to decide what kind of help you want. If you only want assistance with closing some issues and PRs,
then it'll be enough to tag your repo with
closember and leave it at that.
However, there are other ways that you might want to invite help: triaging, infrastructure, refactoring, technical writing, design, translation, accessibility.... There are lots of possibilities! If you're feeling up to it,
as next year's Closember approaches
take stock of your project and identify one or two (or more!) areas where it would most benefit from some maintenance help. Then,
edit your README or create a Closember issue to let visitors know what sort of help you’re looking for, tag your repo with
closember, and engage with the community as they come by!
For the Community: How to Participate
Closember is something of a choose-your-own-adventure—there’s no one way to participate.
If you’ve never used GitHub before, your first step is going to be signing up for a free account. While there are other collaborative git-based development services out there—GitLab and Atlassian Bitbucket are two of the most popular—Closember is centered on GitHub.
If you’ve opened issues or PRs on projects in the past,
you don't need to wait until next Closember to get started! Take
a look at your own GitHub issues and your own PRs to see if any of them are outdated or have already been fixed—if so, close them!
Beyond that, as Closember approaches next year,
start browsing projects: take a look at your favorite projects and see if they’ve been tagged with
closember, or browse the list of
Once you've picked a project and Closember is underway, you can engage! Check out the project's repository to see if they’ve posted instructions for the help they're looking for during Closember—if they have, follow those instructions.
If not, then you can browse their issues and PRs to see if any are stale or need action from the original poster. If they're stale, comment on them explaining why they seem stale and can be closed. (For example, "This issue relates to Python 3.5, which is no longer supported. So, it can probably be closed.") If issues/PRs need action from the original poster, comment on them to restart the conversation with that original poster. Sometimes, discussion will happen and move the issue/PR forward. Other times, no one will respond, and then you can recommend to the project maintainers that they be closed.
To stay in the loop, follow @ClosemberDev & use the #Closember hashtag on Twitter, and watch the Closember repo on GitHub:
As we’ve described above, Closember is mainly about the health of open source maintainers and projects. So, while we’ve defined some Closember success metrics for ourselves, these metrics aren’t the be-all and end-all. Each open source community and project can have its own goals and metrics, which fit its size, philosophy, etc.—part of the fun and purpose of Closember is the discussion around what it means for a community to be ‘healthy.’ For example, you have to be aware of the possibility for ‘normalization of deviance’, where even though a practice is accepted, it’s still unhealthy.
The metrics we calculate here are focused on closing old issues and PRs, since that’s something that’s pretty easy to quantify. Again, there are no objectively good or bad metrics—these are merely the ones we’ve chosen to present. Our metrics are calculated for each participating repository, and are:
- Total issues closed during Closember, which were opened before Closember
- Total issues opened before Closember, which are not yet closed
- Overall oldest issues closed during Closember
Remember, remember, to close a PR in November.
— A Maintainer
To the numbers!
Overall, of the 16252 issues and PRs open as of the start of Closember 2022, 2155 were closed and 14097 were open at the end of the month.
Top 100 participating repos with the most pre-Closember issues & PRs that were closed during Closember.
Top 100 participating repos with the least remaining pre-Closember issues & PRs still open as of the end of November.
Oldest Closed Issues
Participating repos with the oldest issues closed during Closember.
Note: Data for the oldest closed PR isn't reported here because it doesn't appear to be available in the GitHub API. If you figure out a way to get at this data, please let us know!
Show Your Support
In addition to engaging with your favorite open source projects, support Closember by starring our repo! Right now we have 64 Github stargazers:
If you're interested in partnering with us in support of Closember, please email us. Closember is currently sponsored by Quansight, OpenTeams, and FairOSS.
As noted above, you can participate in the Closember discussion on Twitter by following @ClosemberDev and using the #closember hashtag. You can also engage in the thread below by commenting on this GitHub issue.