Contributing to Forem

We expect contributors to abide by our underlying Code of Conduct. All discussions about this project must be respectful and harassment-free.

Remember that communication is the lifeblood of any Open Source project. We are all working on this together, and we are all benefiting from this software.

It's very easy to misunderstand one another in asynchronous, text-based conversations. When in doubt, assume everyone has the best intentions.

If you feel anyone has violated our Code of Conduct, you should anonymously contact the team with our abuse report form.

Where to contribute

All issues labeled ready for dev and type: bug are up for grabs.

  • good first issue issues are meant for newer developers.
  • difficulty: easy issues are usually confined to isolated areas of existing code.
  • difficulty: medium issues sometimes entail new features and might affect a significant area of the codebase, but aren't overly complex.
  • difficulty: hard issues are typically far-reaching, and might need architecture decisions during implementation. This label might also denote highly complex issues.

PRs without an associated issue may still be merged, but the core team will focus on changes that solve existing issues. We strongly encourage creating an issue before working on a PR!

When in doubt, ask a core team member by mentioning us on the issue.

Documentation is almost always a great place to start contributing to a new project. Forem is an Open Source, community-driven project. Therefore, providing and maintaining quality documentation is one of our most important jobs. You can find more information in our docs guide!

Refactoring, which involves improving the code without modifying behavior, is a great place to help out! Generally speaking, you can rely on existing tests to ensure that your refactor doesn't introduce any unexpected behavior. If an area isn't well tested, you might be asked to include a regression test with your refactoring PR. Refactors can touch many files, so we encourage breaking big changes into small PRs.

Fixing bugs is a super fast way to improve the experience for our users! When you're fixing bugs, we appreciate communication in a GitHub issue. If an issue exists, please claim that issue and link it in your PR, otherwise creating an issue is the best first step! Be sure to surround bug fixes with ample tests; bugs are magnets for other bugs. Write tests around bugs!

Building features requires a lot of communication, but we'd love to have your help with this too! Features tend to be subjective and might spur some debate. Be sure to create an issue for new features before getting started! If your feature involves design changes, including design mockups can be very helpful. As always, when in doubt, ask!

How to contribute

  1. Fork the project and clone it to your local machine. Follow the installation guide!
  2. Create a branch with your GitHub username and the ID of the issue, for example: git checkout -b USERNAME/some-new-feature-1234
  3. Code and commit your changes. Bonus points if you write a good commit message: git commit -m 'Add some feature'
  4. Push to the branch: git push -u origin USERNAME/some-new-feature-1234
  5. Create a pull request for your branch. 🎉

Contribution guidelines

Create an issue

Nobody's perfect. Something doesn't work? Something could be better? Check to see if the issue already exists, and if it does, leave a comment to get our attention! If the issue doesn't already exist, feel free to create a new one. A core team member will triage incoming issues.

Please note: core team members may update the title of an issue to reflect the discussion.

Please include tests

Some areas of the project could use updated tests, and new features should always include test coverage. Please give our testing guide a read!

Code quality

We use Code Climate to find code smells. If a pull request contains code smells, we might recommend a refactor before merging. We like readable code, and encourage DRY when it's reasonable!

More importantly, we avoid wrong abstractions. Code quality tools are not perfect, so don't obsess over your Code Climate score.

Consider accessibility in UI changes

If the change you're proposing touches a user interface, include accessibility in your approach. This includes things like color contrast, keyboard accessibility, screen reader labels, and other common requirements. For more information, check out the Forem Accessibility docs page.

Please use inclusive language

Inclusion and respect are core tenets of our Code of Conduct. We expect thoughtful language all the way down to the code. Some technical metaphors are alienating or triggering. We ask that contributors go the extra mile to submit code which is inclusive in nature.

If you unintentionally use language deemed harmful, there is no shame. We will work together to find a better alternative. Being thoughtful about language also encourages more thoughtful code!

Create a pull request

  • Try to keep the pull requests small. A pull request should try its very best to address only a single concern.
  • For work in progress pull requests, please use the Draft PR feature.
  • Make sure all tests pass and add additional tests for the code you submit. More info here.
  • Document your reasoning behind the changes. Explain why you wrote the code in the way you did. The code should explain what it does.
  • If there's an existing issue, reference to it by adding something like References/Closes/Fixes/Resolves #123, where 123 is the issue number. More info here.
  • Please fill out the PR Template when making a PR.
  • All commits in a pull request will be squashed when merged.

Please note: a core team member may close your PR if it has gone stale or if we don't plan to merge the code.

Pull request reviews

All community pull requests are reviewed by our core team.

  • All contributors must sign the CLA.
  • All required checks are expected to pass on each PR.
    • In the case of flaky or unrelated test failures, a core team member will restart CI.
  • We require 2 approvals from core team members for each PR.
  • Requested Changes must be resolved (with code or discussion) before merging.
  • If you make changes to a PR, be sure to re-request a review.
  • Style discussions are generally discouraged in PR reviews; make a PR to the linter configurations instead.
  • Your code will be deployed shortly after it is merged.

A note on "force pushing"

After you submit your pull request, one of the members of the core team will review your code.

Please avoid force pushing unless you need to rebase with the master branch.

If feedback is provided, any changes should be contained in new commits. Please don't force push or worry about squashing your commits.

Force pushing (despite being useful) has some drawbacks. GitHub doesn't always keep the review history, which results in lost context for the reviewers.

We squash every PR before merging, so there is no need to force push!

The bottom line

We are all humans trying to work together to improve the community. Always be kind and appreciate the need for tradeoffs. ❤️