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Recruiting more maintainers for Apache Arrow


hi folks,

Arrow has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 2.5 years. We are
approaching our 2000th patch and on track to surpass 200 unique
contributors by year end.

All this contribution growth is great, but it has a hidden cost: the
maintenance. The burden of maintaining the project: particularly
reviewing and merging patches, has fallen on a very small number of
people. From the commit logs, we can see how many patches each
committer has merged:

$ git shortlog -csn d5aa7c46692474376a3c31704cfc4783c86338f2..master
  1289  Wes McKinney
   268  Uwe L. Korn
    74  Korn, Uwe
    54  Antoine Pitrou
    52  Julien Le Dem
    39  Philipp Moritz
    18  Kouhei Sutou
    18  Steven Phillips
    13  Bryan Cutler
    11  Jacques Nadeau
    10  Phillip Cloud
     8  Brian Hulette
     5  Robert Nishihara
     5  adeneche
     4  GitHub
     3  Sidd
     3  siddharth
     1  AbdelHakim Deneche
     1  Your Name Here

So Uwe and I have merged ~84% of the patches in the project so far.
This isn't a completely accurate reflection of the maintainer burden,
since many others contribute to code reviews and other aspects of
patch maintenance, and you have to be a committer to earn a place on
this list.

I'm not sure what's the best way to address this problem. The quality
of our code review has declined at times as we struggle to keep up
with the flow of patches -- I don't think this is good. Having the
patch queue pile up isn't great either. Personally, I'm having a
difficult time balancing project maintenance and patch authoring,
particularly in the last 6 months.

Unfortunately, many people believe that writing patches is the primary
mode of contribution to an open source project. Apache projects
explicitly state that non-patch contributions are valued in earning
karma (committership and PMC membership). We're starting to have more
corporate contributors come out of the woodwork, and while it's great
for contributors to be paid to write patches for the project, they are
rarely given the time and space to contribute meaningfully to
maintenance.

Any thoughts about how we can grow the maintainership? Somehow we need
to reach ~5-6 core maintainers over the next year.

Thanks,
Wes



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