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Nevo David

Activity vs. Usage

May 4, 2024

Nevo David

An excellent open-source repository has activity except for usage.


  • Clones

  • Stars

  • Clients


  • Forks

  • Pull requests

  • Opened issues

  • GitHub Discussion

Most of my marketing activities revolve around usage and not activity.
But guess what? Open source is not a marketing channel; open source is a community.

Without activity, you will grow faster and not trend over GitHub.
So, I ran a small experiment that was highly successful, and here it goes.

Stars vs. Contribution

As you know, I aim for stars in most of my articles —they also match the article's content type.

But if you want contributors, you might want to change it a bit.

Here is an example of an article I wrote a few days ago.
It’s aimed at contributors and why they should contribute to open-source.

Half of my open issues got a discussion and an assignment. Already got a few pull requests.

You can push it with more things, such as incentives - It doesn’t have to be money.

It can be things like Novu’s community heroes page, swag, or general recognition (think how), maybe promote them on X and Linkedin.


I have been talking with many open-source founders/maintainers, and there is one thing I always say. Open-source repository contributors are a part of the community and not necessarily part of your customers.

That means that they might not know what to work on if you don’t give it to them. They won’t always know your future roadmap.

So what should you do?

  1. Open issues beforehand - in Gitroom, I opened around 20 issues so open-source contributors can just come and ask me to assign it to them. You should do the same. Don’t forget to open it also good first issues so people just starting out will have a better filtration.
    PRO TIP: Integrations are the easiest way to open many issues, and they are also pretty easy to implement as they don’t require people to modify existing files.

  2. GitHub discussions - Do you have ideas for new features? Open a discussion on GitHub for each feature. Include the contributors in your product decisions.

  3. Build good documentation - That sounds like a repeated sentence, but it really makes it suitable for people to understand how to work with your product. Ensure you add a very clear CTA to the documentation at the top of your file.

  4. Add things to make deployment easy - Use Docker and Gitpod to ensure people can start working on your issues quickly. This is especially important if you have a monorepo with millions of environment variables.

  5. Add Discord - it’s the easiest way to help people if they get stuck.


I challenge you for next week to make an article on DEV on why people should contribute to your open-source repository - think about things like:

  • Things they can learn

  • Things they get after contributing

  • Incentives for people to start with the contribution include swag, special pages for them, hiring options, mentorship, and Amazon gift cards. Be creative :)

This week's videos you should watch

open-source pricing

how to lead-gen