This lesson is in the early stages of development (Alpha version)

Organising Feedback in The Carpentries


Teaching: 30 min
Exercises: 60 min
  • Why is organising feedback such a critical step in an feedback cycle?

  • Once feedback is collected, how can it be organised effectively for next steps?

  • Learn firsthand about The Carpentries first public, community-wishlist board that collates community feedback with the opportunity to improve on it before community-wide launch

  • Gain maintainer access on the public, community-wishlist board to manage the flow of feedback from The Carpentries community

Collecting and organising feedback is a continuous exercise that is likely to last the lifetime of your project. For this reason, it is important to document the processes that enable your entire feedback process so that

In this resource, we will refer to these processes as workflows. This section focuses on workflows around organising feedback once it is collected.

Internal Workflows

Internal workflows refer to those very first steps you will take to record the information you collect ‘in its raw form’ - meaning, using a system that you and others in the feedback facilitation cohort agree to, but one that may not necessarily be ready to share publicly with the rest of the community.


In one of your cohort check-ins, working in pairs and using one of the questions below to guide your conversation , discuss what steps would constitute your initial, team-specific, internal workflows to organise feedback as you collect it, and before you analyse and prepare it for community-wide access and use.

  • Find out how The Carpentries Tagathon was perceived by participants, taking note of any challenges they faced, and suggestions they made to improve this process
  • What ideas around teaching online did community members discuss before 2020?
  • Have community members shared questions and suggestions on Carpentries-specific social activities they would like to undertake or lead?

Bonus: discuss steps you can take to maintain integrity of the feedback collected while respecting the privacy of community members.

External Workflows

External workflows constitute work whose output can be seen, published and shared publicly, and may entail collaboration with the broader Carpentries community. At The Carpentries, we are also keen to share workflows that guide community-facing work, so community members are informed, inspired and able to make comprehensive suggestions for things that can change. Some examples of external workflows in The Carpentries include:


Working in pairs, pick any two case studies from the list above and discuss:

  • What internal workflows you think supported these external workflows
  • Check the information shared (i) for clarity (ii) depth of detail making it possible to adapt it for other projects. Share short notes about anything that could have been improved.

Time: 10 minutes per case study, 20 minutes total

Primer on Using GitHub

We will employ use of GitHub for Feedback facilitation in The Carpentries. GitHub is an open repository for archiving, publishing and hosting public and private, technical and non-technical resources that are shared between a group of people. We will use GitHub for continuity, as it is one of the key platforms already in use in our community.

Here are some of the ways we use GitHub in The Carpentries community:

Because of its many use cases, GitHub has a lot of functionality that can be overwhelming to think about when you are new to the platform and need to adapt it for use in a time-bound set of tasks like the ones your cohort of feedback facilitators is charged with. To streamline this process so you can focus on feedback facilitation work, The Carpentries has made the decision for you about which features we will use for the purposes of this cohort, and your onboarding will include an introduction to these GitHub features with extensive support throughout your cohort term as you continue to use them.

The main feature we will employ is GitHub Projects Boards. Project boards on GitHub help you organise and prioritise your work. You can create project boards for specific feature work, comprehensive roadmaps, or even release checklists. With project boards, you have the flexibility to create custom workflows that suit your needs. The Carpentries Strategic Plan is a great example of how we use GitHub Project Boards in The Carpentries.

Here are useful guides, written by The GitHub Team, that you can reference as you use GitHub in your work as feedback facilitators. Our hands on session will allow you to create and use these features extensively.

Key Points

  • First key point. Brief Answer to questions. (FIXME)