Communicating with Other Maintainers
Last updated on 2024-02-22 | Edit this page
- How do I get in touch with other Maintainers?
- What resources exist for supporting me in this role?
- Join the appropriate communication channels to stay connected with fellow Maintainers.
- Know how to get in touch with others in The Carpentries who support Maintainers.
- Add Maintainer meetings to your calendar.
We meet virtually on the third Wednesday of each month at two different time slots. We will take time together to add these meetings to your calendar in a moment.
Our monthly Maintainer meetings are an excellent place to connect with the broader Maintainer community, engage in discussions around topics of interest to Maintainers (including open Requests for Comment (RFCs)), and stay informed about upcoming work by other parts of The Carpentries community that may impact lesson maintenance.
We recognize that not everyone can attend these monthly meetings, and so also communicate important information through our main TopicBox and Slack channels. So don’t worry if you can’t attend! We do strongly encourage joining from time to time, though, as it’s a good way to get to know other Maintainers.
Add the monthly Maintainer meetings to your calendar by either
- subscribing to The Carpentries community calendar and copying events to your Google Calendar, or
- clicking the TimeandDate links on the Maintainers CodiMD pad to convert the events to your local time, and adding to your calendar manually.
If you are planning to attend the upcoming meeting, add your name to the CodiMD pad to let us know you will be there!
In addition to these monthly opportunities to connect across the broad Maintainer community, you are encouraged to set up regular check-ins with the co-Maintainers for your lesson. The next section will provide more information about how to stay in touch with both the overall Maintainer community and your co-Maintainers.
Because we are a globally distributed group, the vast majority of our work is done asynchronously. There are three primary asynchronous communication channels shared across the Maintainer team.
The Maintainers TopicBox list is used primarily for announcements relevant to the full Maintainer team, including reminders about upcoming meetings. Posts from individual Maintainers asking questions or introducing topics for discussion are extremely welcome, but our Slack channel is a more active place for back-and-forth discussion.
A few lists exist around specific curricula (search for lists
curriculum, but most have not been very
active. If you would like to have a public TopicBox list created for
discussions of your lesson, or a private list for your Maintainer team,
please let us know.
To be added to our private Maintainers channel on Slack, you will
need to join The
Carpentries organisation. Our general Maintainers channel is a good
place to ask questions of the full Maintainer team, or request input on
specific issues and PRs. Most curricula also have a public Slack channel
for discussing issues with the community (browse for channels starting
curriculum channels have not historically been very active, but we
encourage any efforts to increase interaction with the community on
these channels. You can also use curriculum-specific channels for
communicating with your co-Maintainers, or you can create a private
channel for yourself and your co-Maintainers. If you would like a
private channel to be created for you, please let us know.
The majority of day-to-day interactions with your co-Maintainers will
be on GitHub. You will need to be subscribed to (“watching”) your lesson
repository to get email alerts about new issues, PRs, and other activity
on your lesson. You can
@ mention an individual Maintainer,
your lesson team, and / or your Curriculum Advisory Committee to ensure
that the appropriate person sees your message. Feel free also to
@ The Carpentries Curriculum Team (Toby Hodges or Erin
@staff-curriculum and the Maintainer
Community Lead (
Each group of Maintainers is associated with a GitHub team. After you have completed this onboarding, you will be added to the appropriate Maintainer team. You will then be able to find the name of your team below:
- Library Carpentry Maintainer teams
- Software Carpentry Maintainer teams
- Data Carpentry lessons have an additional level of structure, as each lesson belongs to a curriculum within this Lesson Program. You can tag the full set of Maintainers for an entire curriculum (e.g. Ecology) using the team names listed here or click on your curriculum and then “Teams” on the top menu to find the name of your lesson team.
To tag in the curriculum team on any repository hosted in one of the
official lesson program GitHub organisations (Data Carpentry, Library
Carpentry, Software Carpentry), use
The Carpentries GitHub org, the team name is
@core-team-curriculum. We are working on reconciling team
names across GitHub organisations.
We also highly recommend subscribing to the Maintainer RFC (request for comments) repository. This repository is the primary platform for discussion and feedback from the Maintainer community on issues affecting Maintainers as a whole. We try to remember to announce new RFCs on TopicBox and Slack, but staying subscribed here will allow you to see others’ comments as they come in. To leave your feedback on an existing RFC, go to Issues and leave a comment. We also discuss RFCs at monthly Maintainer meetings to allow for a more nuanced back-and-forth conversation.
Subscribing to these channels will ensure you are up to date on issues affecting your lesson and lesson maintenance in general. To have a broader overview of all the exciting activity going on in The Carpentries community, we recommend subscribing to one or more of the following channels:
- The Carpentries Clippings - our twice monthly newsletter
- @firstname.lastname@example.org on Mastodon
- The Carpentries blog
If you would really like to keep up to date on everything that is happening, The Carpentries maintains a variety of mailing lists on TopicBox and over 100 Slack channels, including spaces dedicated to discussion of particular curricula, connecting local and regional groups, and job opportunities.
That’s a lot of communication channels! You don’t need to subscribe to everything. The list below summarizes which channels are required and which are highly recommended.
- Maintainers TopicBox list (public)
- Maintainers Slack channel (private)
- Your lesson’s GitHub repository
- Maintainers RFC GitHub repository
- Any TopicBox lists or Slack channels related to your lesson
Take a few minutes to subscribe to the above channels. Write “done” in the Etherpad.
Signing on as a Maintainer is not a lifelong commitment! The Carpentries recognises that this is a volunteer role and is committed to supporting your mental and emotional health. You are always free to step down from the Maintainer role, either permanently or to take a break. If you plan to take a short break (a couple of weeks), please let your co-Maintainers know. For longer breaks (a few months or longer), or if you would like to step down permanently, please notify the Curriculum Team by emailing email@example.com so we can find someone else to support the lesson.
This also applies in reverse! If you are not able to get in touch with at least one other Maintainer for your lesson, please get in touch with the Curriculum Team. We may need to find more Maintainers to support the lesson.