Public Lab Research note

Public Lab Code Community Report: Jan 2019

by warren , bansal_sidharth2996 , gauravano | January 02, 2019 04:19 02 Jan 04:19 | #18039 | #18039

This quarter has been dominated by a range of UI improvement projects, as well as enormous Google Code-In activity, in which dozens of high school students are contributing software fixes. Finally, we have successfully joined the Outreachy program, which supports diversity in open source projects, and have begun working with Cess Wairimu (@cess) as our Outreachy fellow for the winter term.

Community growth - Community-led newcomer welcoming (and Google Code-In) has gained huge momentum, and while last quarter we reported 218 contributors, a 12% increase over the past quarter, we now have 401 contributors, a growth of 83% over the last quarter. This pace of growth has transformed our community, in that there are now enough regular contributors that it hard to keep track of who is doing what; we see dozens of new issues and contributions per week. We're happy to announce that several new code community leaders are now merging code, including Gaurav, Sidharth, Sagarpreet, Varun, and Rishabh570.

During Google Code-In, over 35 mentors helped 47 high-school students from around the world. Among our new and most active mentors were Aashan, Divyesh, Vishal, Roshni, Rishabh, Rohan, Daksh, Vipul, Puneet, Paarmita, Kirtika, Vaibhav, Shubham, Camila, Shivani, Mridul, Avkaran, Ashutosh, Rahul, Mayank, Sukhbir, Atibhi, Vidit, Naman and Sourav. During GCI, an amazing 363 tasks were published, and students were able to complete 190 task, including supportive tasks, as well as in the fields of design, outreachy/research, testing, bug fixes/maintenance and more.

Google Pulse insights for the month of December are really amazing!

Some commendable work done by Google Code-In students includes:

  • Email Notification system for comment moderation system by Valentina
  • Massively collaborative work on OAuth project by Kevin, Dina, Jonathan, Oorjit, Okonek, Valentina
  • Extending Reply by Email feature to Outlook by Kevin

This has been an exciting time, but also a big test of our community collaboration workflow; at the end of November, we had over 107 open contributions on our project alone. We've learned to scale contribution, and are learning to scale community management; we've also found that increasingly, it's not hard to find people to voluntarily take up a project or task that needs doing.

Outreach programs

We are beginning the Outreachy initiative winter term, which has 3 community volunteer mentors, and will be working on a major Community Statistics and Graphing project this winter. Google Code-In has been a steep but exciting learning curve, and the number of people involved has been impressive (over 150 tasks have been prepared for newcomers to solve) and we are seeing expanded contribution across our software systems.

UI projects

We've taken on a wide range of UI projects to improve usability across This work is funded by the Digital Impact Alliance, the DIAL Open Source Center at the UN Foundation, and the 11th Hour Project. We are working with new designers from across our outreach networks, and alumni from our Summer of Code projects -- and the diversity of our outreach programs has meant that we've been able to recruit a diverse team to take on these projects.

The team is growing, and the projects we are tackling include:

  • Improvements to navigation, flow, information design, and general accessibility and ease of use for /welcome, /events, /methods, /people, /tags, /questions, /profile, /dashboard, and other pages
  • Improvements to login sequence for first-time posters
  • Improvements to mapping input, display, and usability for geographic systems on our site
  • Upgrades to our UI libraries
  • UI improvements to search systems (upcoming)

Thanks to everyone who's helped make this a great quarter for Public Lab software!


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A big shout-out to all the GCI participants and mentors for the tremendous work and energy during and after the GCI period. Each of your contributions is valuable for the project development and growth of the Public Lab.

Whatever be the result of GCI, just by taking part in GCI, you have taken a step in Open Source World 🌐 and GCI is just one of many events. Open Source world is huge and full of exciting opportunities, so keep learning and exploring.

Thank you ❤️

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Great post, thanks for compiling this!

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