GSoC 2011 Ideas – Karma plugin for openSUSE Connect

Google Summer of Code 2011This post is about one idea for GSoC 2011 regarding openSUSE Connect. I already wrote about it some time ago, but now is time to elaborate a little bit more.

First of all, let me state, that I already found a qualified student, that wants to work on this idea and that has also some good suggestions. So I’m not searching for a student with this post, but I want to share with you the goals of this project and why I think it is important.

Let’s start again with what it is all about. We as a openSUSE Project have many contributors. People provide not only code, but they write documentation on our wiki, report bugs, organize release parties, organize booths at conferences and much more. Obviously we should make their effort recognized by public. Usual way how to do it is to assign so called karma points. Basically concept works like that for every contribution you receive some points. And then, anytime you appear somewhere, everybody can see how skilled you are. This works well on forums, but we have many different people and many different kinds of activities. And we want project wide karma somehow.

So basic idea of this project is to create different kinds of karma and collect as many information as possible automatically. So we will have wiki karma that will grow with every wiki page edit. We will have marketing karma growing bigger with every tweet and blog post. Packager karma getting bigger with every change submitted to the openSUSE. So this project will be not only about displaying and managing karma points but also about collecting statistics from various different services.

One thing that I wanted implemented was ability for group moderators to reward group members for extraordinary work a little bit extra. So for example if some KDE developer will fix really tough bug, KDE people can give him some extra points. But allocating these extra points will not be easy and will definitely need some more thoughts. Main trouble will be how to allocate points that group can redistribute.

Other feature I wanted to have was having means how individuals can reward others whose work they appreciate. My original idea was to let people send around their own Karma points. But I was pointed out, that this might not be a good idea. There are few reasons why. First trouble is that people will get karma points of different type than they should have. Ambassador will send some karma points to the great developer and shy developer could earn many marketing points this way even though he prefers to be locked down in the basement. Other problem is that people that didn’t contributed yet or thanked a lot might not have anything left to show how did they liked the work. So other idea proposed by Kartik was using some general thanks you button. While thinking about it, it makes some sense to create separate karma type for that as well.

And what to do with karma point once you have some? It should be certainly displayed in the river on the connect so others will know that you did something. But there should be possibility to also use them somehow. Obviously there need to be a banner displaying amount of them that you can put on your web. So your visitors can see how great contributor you are. Other thing that I was thinking about was to create some badges for your avatars that you can buy. Or even allow third party applications to use them somehow using API, so you could buy things, but that sounds like a distant future…

So there is a lot of work to do and student who applied has even some more ideas, so I think if this project will get selected, openSUSE Connect will be much more fun 😉


  1. Chirag says:

    I am sorry, but I don’t think it is a good idea to create competition among contributors. The whole idea about open source being anyone can do (develop/discuss/present) about anything (say a bug, feature, wiki etc.).

    Rating people according to the contributions they have done would perhaps shy away (say new developers/contributors) from speaking their mind up and has a cross-effect on the listening behaviour of the current team.

    Any contributor is anyways recognised by the work he does, not by the name in the list, and I think contributions are not done to fetch fame but to learn, and to add to the whole ecosystem.

    Though yes I don’t think the effects would be that harsh, ot I am against this project, but just that I always found the spirit of “everyone is equal” quite good with open source projects/communities.

    Just my few bits…


    1. Michal Hrušecký says:

      Well, I don’t want to treat people differently and I think that every contribution counts. I admit that inspiration for this was something like ohloh. One advantage I see would be river flooded with contributions (I hope) that will inspire people. People will also have some nice banner to show on their webpage so they can show the world that they are proud openSUSE Contributors. And if there will be badges I can buy with my karma points I know that if I’ll be getting closer to the badge price, I’ll be searching for a way how to contributes to reach it… And people who don’t care don’t have to care.

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