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sometimes the commit is misattributed

A response of sorts to commit robbery.

I’ve been on both sides of commit misattribution. Sometimes my commit gets sniped. Sometimes I’m the one doing the sniping. It’s very rarely intentional.

In a project like OpenBSD, we’d have three Todds and four Jasons, which led to frequent confusion. Forgetting exactly who contributed what would happen occasionally. Emails get forwarded around. And I think every new OpenBSD developer goes through the experience of having half their commits sniped for the first month because other developers think you’re submitting a patch, not requesting review.

I’d guess 1% of commits are misattributed in some way. There’s an acknowledgement, but it’s incomplete. Or it’s omitted. Or it credits somebody else entirely. I think that’s not bad overall, though it does mean 1% of first time contributors have a suboptimal experience. It sucks to be the statistic.

Could the 1% be improved? Sure, just require a few more TPS reports before commits are permitted. If the solution is that we simply need to ask the maintainers to care more, are we sure they don’t care? There’s already enough people burning out and dropping out of open source work.

I think Ariel’s story could have been framed better, with a rather less villainous counterparty. I almost didn’t read it, because I don’t care about commit drama, but the story of the debugging was really interesting. I’m glad I read that! But hey, your blog, your story. That said, I don’t think it’s possible to generalize from one event to sweeping conclusions like this is why people don’t contribute to open source. This is, maybe, why 1% of people don’t contribute to open source.

Posted 14 May 2024 16:50 by tedu Updated: 14 May 2024 16:50
Tagged: thoughts