Healthy Activity on the Maven Users List

With the entire DevZuz team together last week, we’ve been spending some time sharing our thoughts on the things that are important to us. For my part, I decided to put together a presentation on how community-style development works in the ASF and how DevZuz should be participating in it. (For those that are interested, I highly recommend taking a look at the Stefano’s ApacheCon slides on community building).

I was looking for an example to start with, and for me, a great example of a healthy community at Maven is the users list. Most questions are getting answers, and there’s great participation from both the project developers and other users. To get a better look at what exactly happens on there, I picked up the MBoxer Lab I started last year to see how list participation looked.

I looked at a few different properties, but the raw number of threads and number of posts by individuals was the most helpful. This was all done reasonably briefly, so the numbers are rough (very minimal de-duplication done, for example). For that reason, and to avoid individual comparisons between numbers of little difference, I’ve anonymised the list (with a couple of exceptions). I’m happy to share the actual data with anyone that asks.

Below are the top 20 posters for 2007 so far (out of the ~1485 people who have posted this year).

Contributors # Threads # Posts
Wayne Fay 490 636
Wendy Smoak 180 226
Franz See 148 192
4. 92 129
5. 88 118
6. 85 110
7. 85 109
8. 72 72
9. 70 96
10. 69 104
11. 64 90
12. 63 123
13. 63 64
14. 62 79
15. 60 73
16. 59 66
17. 54 64
18. 52 69
19. 52 69
20. 52 62

The main thing I noticed was that while there was a small number of people doing a large amount of work, there was still a large amount of people giving decent coverage. This is an important reason why the Maven user community is presently so healthy. My expectation would be that if someone needed to take a break, it’d be likely the others would step up (which we have seen happen in the past).

So, thanks to everyone that contributes – every small bit of help makes the list all the more effective. But particularly thanks to those near the top of this list for all the time they’ve spent helping out this year. I have to admit I was surprised by some of the names included, which goes to show it’s often a pretty thankless task.

I do want to specifically mention Wayne, Wendy and Franz, though, as they have remained the top 3 participants for the last 12 months or more. I didn’t see much point in anonymising their names, as I think it would be blatantly obvious anyway!

Finally, given that part of the reason for doing this was to look at our own involvement, I was proud to note a good number of the DevZuz team in that list. Participation such as this remains completely voluntary and is frequently done on their own time. So, special kudos goes out to Wendy, Franz, Deng, Carlos, and Emmanuel who are all keeping up a lot of good work there. And of course, they are not alone – plenty of other members of the team contribute from time to time as they can.

I’ve yet to take a look at the other lists at Maven, but it will be interesting to compare their development, and the differences in the developers list.

If anyone is interested in more information on how the numbers were derived or wants to take a closer look at MBoxer, feel free to drop me a line or a comment.

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