The Pull Request Hack is Fucking Magic


I don't have time to keep up with all the daft Open Source projects I release. I wish my skill and my energy was as wide as my ambition.

Several years ago, I came across Felix Geisendörfer's Pull Request Hack. The premise is simple - if people are making decent Pull Requests to your project then you should give them commit access.

It sounds mad, I know. But it has worked really well in my case. I launched Super Tiny Icons six years ago. It was surprisingly popular and lots of people seemed to enjoy using them - and a few even contributed.

So I gave them Commit access. That means they are able to push directly to my codebase. They can also approve other people's Pull Requests.

Like I say, totally mad and irresponsible.

But people are, by and large, lovely.

Over the years, I've added about 20 random people as collaborators. Some have been more active than others. A few have refused to take on the responsibility. But several are still there - saving me dozens of hours, and helping even more people contribute.

What's the worst that could happen?

OK. Lots of things. The Pull Request Hack probably isn't suitable if you're running big projects. And it is almost certainly a stupid idea if you write code which is actively used by multiple downstream projects. And if your stuff has even the slightest chance of compromising security then you're better off sticking to trusted members.

But if you're just farting around with some scrappy code and you want a quick way to build an ad-hoc team? I don't want to go full "Cathedral and Bazaar", but it is pretty fucking magic.

And it gives me a modicum of hope that some of my work might continue after I'm gone. Sorry, that's a bit morbid.

So a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed.
A big list of contributors.


Share this post on…

9 thoughts on “The Pull Request Hack is Fucking Magic”

  1. root says:

    It works in other domains too, I have good experience with giving community members mod/admin rights they didn't ask for.
    The problem arises if you have to take the access back, people hate being demoted.

    Reply
  2. said on functional.cafe:

    @Edent I did the same with London Clojurians. If someone complained in a reasonable way I congratulated them on becoming organisers. I made sure the code of conduct was followed and helped to find venues and event sign up but got lots of people to help that way.

    I suppose it helps if you seem to be leading just because you want the thing done, not because you want to be in charge.

    Reply | Reply to original comment on functional.cafe
  3. SG says:

    I wonder if an LLM peer reviewer could alleviate many of the problems this could cause.

    Reply

What are your reckons?

All comments are moderated and may not be published immediately. Your email address will not be published.Allowed HTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> <p> <pre> <br> <img src="" alt="" title="" srcset="">