Maintainers: Avoiding Burnout

This guide is for maintainers. These special people have write access to Homebrew’s repository and help merge the contributions of others. You may find what is written here interesting, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

1. Use Homebrew

Maintainers of Homebrew should be using it regularly. This is partly because you won’t be a good maintainer unless you can put yourself in the shoes of our users but also because you may decide to stop using Homebrew and at that point you should also decide not to be a maintainer and find other things to work on.

2. No Guilt About Leaving

All maintainers can stop working on Homebrew at any time without any guilt or explanation (like a job). We may still ask for your help with questions after you leave but you are under no obligation to answer them. Like a job, if you create a big mess and then leave you still have no obligations but we may think less of you (or, realistically, probably just revert the problematic work). Like a job, you should probably take a break from Homebrew at least a few times a year.

This also means contributors should be consumers. If an owner finds they are not using a project in the real-world, they should reconsider their involvement with the project.

3. Prioritise Maintainers Over Users

It’s important to be user-focused but ultimately, as long as you follow #1 above, Homebrew’s minimum number of users will be the number of maintainers. However, if Homebrew has no maintainers it will quickly become useless to all users and the project will die. As a result, no user complaint, behaviour or need takes priority over the burnout of maintainers. If users do not like the direction of the project, the easiest way to influence it is to make significant, high-quality code contributions and become a maintainer.

4. Learn To Say No

Homebrew gets a lot of feature requests, non-reproducible bug reports, usage questions and PRs we won’t accept. These should be closed out as soon as we realise that they aren’t going to be resolved or merged. This is kinder than deciding this after a long period of review. Our issue tracker should reflect work to be done.


Thanks to https://gist.github.com/ryanflorence/124070e7c4b3839d4573 which influenced this document