Drupal’s contribution credit system plays an important role in fostering contribution. It is crucial that we protect the integrity of that system.
Because contribution credit can impact an organization’s marketplace position, there is a financial incentive for contribution. This is by design, and helps promote sustainable contribution in Drupal. Unfortunately, whenever a financial incentive is created, there is a risk that some organizations will try to game the system by making superficial contributions in bulk, or using automation or AI to try and boost contribution numbers.
This gaming behavior undermines the true goal of the credit system, which is to grow meaningful and authentic contributions to the Drupal project and community.
What steps are we taking?
To help discourage the temptation of superficial contribution, we’ve implemented additional updates to our systems and policies:
- The credit checkbox on issues is no longer ‘pre-checked’ for certain kinds of issue activity.
- This means maintainers no longer have to uncheck the box for unhelpful contributions, but does mean they need to take care to acknowledge genuine contributions.
We have published a draft policy on the use of artificial intelligence on Drupal.org. AI is not banned, but must be used carefully:
- Contributors must acknowledge that AI was used to assist the creation of the work in the same post or issue comment.
- Any work that was created with the assistance of AI must be relevant to resolving the issue.
- Work created with the assistance of AI must be edited and corrected as needed before being posted to any issue.
- This policy is subject to significant revisions as the legal status of AI generated work and copyright evolves.
- We have also updated our standards of conduct for the Drupal.org marketplace, including a warning and escalation policy for abuse of the credit system.
- Consistent abuse despite repeated warnings can result in loss of marketplace position, partner status, or delisting.
- Individual users engaging in this activity may receive temporary account suspensions, so that we can reach out with educational materials. Repeated infractions may result in a permanent account ban.
Why is this important?
Drupal remains unique in the open source world for the power of our contribution credit system. All kinds of contribution activity on Drupal.org can be attributed to individuals and organizations, giving us unprecedented insight into the ecosystem that drives contribution.
This system also plays an important role in promoting individuals, companies and organizations who give back to the project and community. We use an organization’s contribution history to rank them in the Drupal.org marketplace, and an individual’s contribution history is a powerful tool for organizations to find talent, and for Drupal contributors to find work.
Our credit system is designed so that only project maintainers can ultimately grant credit. This means that there is always an element of human review, but relying exclusively on human intervention to monitor large numbers of superficial contributions can lead to burn out.
Our first goal when we see contribution activity that isn’t meaningful or authentic is always education. With the help of Drupal mentors, site moderators, and other community members, we focus on gentle intervention, education, and support wherever we can.
We’ve collected a series of resources to support this educational effort:
- A video introduction to contribution(Primarily aimed at organizations, but also useful for individual contributors)
- A more detailed slide deck discussing all aspects of contribution, including “Do”s and “Don’t”s
- The First-Time Contributor Workshop – Pittsburgh 2023
With these systems and policies in place, we can reduce the burden on maintainers and help ensure that the credit system serves its higher purpose: Growing meaningful contributions to Drupal, and providing recognition for those who give back to our project and community.