Learn about Exercism's Maintainers
Exercism's Maintainers are volunteers that manage the different parts of our ecosystem. They are senior members of our community who have demonstrated their alignment to Exercism's values, the quality of their work, and a level of commitment to spending time working on Exercism.
This document outlines a formal process to become and remain a Maintainer, which has been designed to make it achievable and fair for everyone. If you want to one day become a Maintainer (yay!!), then please read on! But remember, most people who help build Exercism are not Maintainers - they are Contributors. There is no barrier to contributing to Exercism and every bit of help is gratefully received.
We aim to have at least two active Maintainers for each Track, and at least one active maintainer for all the parts of the platform.
Note: the sections below generally discuss Track Maintainers. The process for becoming a Maintainer of different parts of the ecosystem varies.
Maintainers are responsible for ensuring that a Track works well within Exercism, and continues to grow and develop. That specifically means that Maintainers:
Maintainers are also responsible for interacting with our contributor community. They review PRs from the community, acting as gatekeepers, shepherds, and cheerleaders for Exercism. They are responsible for keeping documentation and contribution guidelines up to date, and ensure that there are relevant open issues for potential contributors to action.
Maintainers should both embody Exercism's values of empathy and kindness, and maintain the high standards we want to build into our educational platform.
The primary way that Maintainers are able to enact their responsibilities is by having write access to repositories. Through this Maintainers control what code goes into their repositories.
The main incentives for being an Exercism Maintainer tend to be intrinsic: e.g. the fun of building something meaningful and useful with other like-minded people. There are also career benefits such as improving your personal network, developing both technical and soft skills, and having a meaningful out-of-work entry on your resume.
We also provide some extra benefits:
Maintainers commit themselves to spending an average of ~4 hours per week on maintaining their Track(s).
On Tracks that are actively maintained, you will be invited to become a Maintainer when you achieve 150 building and/or authoring reputation on that Track within a 6 month period.
On Tracks without Maintainers, we have less rigorous restrictions. After some small merged contributions, you can open an issue on the Track asking to become a Maintainer. We may also invite you to become a Maintainer if we notice you contributing to these lesser-maintained Tracks regularly.
Every six months we check to see if our Maintainers are still active. In those checks, anyone who has built 100 Reputation from building/authoring/maintaining Track in the previous 6 months is invited to continue being a maintainer. In general those who have done little or nothing during that window, will be removed as Maintainers. This is a guiding principle rather than an absolute rule, and we take into consideration a person's personal circumstances and the state of Track before confirming these decisions.
Once a Maintainer has shown themselves to take active leadership within a Track, and been a Maintainer on that Track for at least 6 months, we may designate them a Senior Maintainer. The general metrics we use to determine this are that a Maintainer having earned at least 1k Reputation from building/maintenance on a Track, and at least 200 Reputation from building/maintaining Track in the last 6 months, but we take each situation on a case-by-case basis.
Senior Maintainers take on added responsibility within a Track, mentoring new Maintainers, and taking a stronger leadership position within a Track. In decisions where there are different opinions that require arbitration by the Admin Team, the opinions of Senior Maintainers will by default hold more sway.
Senior Maintainers are designated on the Track with a "Senior Maintainer" badge.
The final category of Maintainers are our Reviewer Maintainers — Maintainers who work across multiple Tracks, reviewing and merging PRs, but do not take proactive or leadership positions on a Track. Reviewer Maintainers are highly trusted members of the Exercism team who have been part of Exercism for at least a year and have been Maintainers of at least one Track. They are invited to become Reviewer Maintainers by Exercism Admins. Membership is reviewed on a six-monthly basis without any formal requirements.
For Tracks that have fewer than two Maintainers, the Reviewers team is automatically added to the Track repository, where they are given write access. This ensures that review requirements can always be met.