Commit 6dfded73 authored by Eddie Stubbington's avatar Eddie Stubbington Committed by Dmitriy Zaporozhets
Browse files

Phase 2: #47282 Improving Contributor On-Boarding Documentation

parent 8b33248d
This diff is collapsed.
title: First Improvements made to the contributor on-boarding experience.
merge_request: 20682
author: Eddie Stubbington
type: added
<!-- START doctoc generated TOC please keep comment here to allow auto update -->
**Table of Contents** *generated with [DocToc](*
- [Implement design & UI elements](#implement-design--ui-elements)
- [Style guides](#style-guides)
<!-- END doctoc generated TOC please keep comment here to allow auto update -->
## Implement design & UI elements
For guidance on UX implementation at GitLab, please refer to our [Design System](
The UX team uses labels to manage their workflow.
The ~"UX" label on an issue is a signal to the UX team that it will need UX attention.
To better understand the priority by which UX tackles issues, see the [UX section]( of the handbook.
Once an issue has been worked on and is ready for development, a UXer removes the ~"UX" label and applies the ~"UX ready" label to that issue.
The UX team has a special type label called ~"design artifact". This label indicates that the final output
for an issue is a UX solution/design. The solution will be developed by frontend and/or backend in a subsequent milestone.
Any issue labeled ~"design artifact" should not also be labeled ~"frontend" or ~"backend" since no development is
needed until the solution has been decided.
~"design artifact" issues are like any other issue and should contain a milestone label, ~"Deliverable" or ~"Stretch", when scheduled in the current milestone.
To prevent the misunderstanding that a feature will be be delivered in the
assigned milestone, when only UX design is planned for that milestone, the
Product Manager should create a separate issue for the ~"design artifact",
assign the ~UX, ~"design artifact" and ~"Deliverable" labels, add a milestone
and use a title that makes it clear that the scheduled issue is design only
(e.g. `Design exploration for XYZ`).
When the ~"design artifact" issue has been completed, the UXer removes the ~UX
label, adds the ~"UX ready" label and closes the issue. This indicates the
design artifact is complete. The UXer will also copy the designs to related
issues for implementation in an upcoming milestone.
## Style guides
1. [Ruby](
Important sections include [Source Code Layout][rss-source] and
[Naming][rss-naming]. Use:
- multi-line method chaining style **Option A**: dot `.` on the second line
- string literal quoting style **Option A**: single quoted by default
1. [Rails](
1. [Newlines styleguide][newlines-styleguide]
1. [Testing][testing]
1. [JavaScript styleguide][js-styleguide]
1. [SCSS styleguide][scss-styleguide]
1. [Shell commands](../ created by GitLab
contributors to enhance security
1. [Database Migrations](../
1. [Markdown](
1. [Documentation styleguide](
1. Interface text should be written subjectively instead of objectively. It
should be the GitLab core team addressing a person. It should be written in
present time and never use past tense (has been/was). For example instead
of _prohibited this user from being saved due to the following errors:_ the
text should be _sorry, we could not create your account because:_
1. Code should be written in [US English][us-english]
This is also the style used by linting tools such as
[PullReview]( and [Hound CI](
[Return to Contributing documentation](
<!-- START doctoc generated TOC please keep comment here to allow auto update -->
**Table of Contents** *generated with [DocToc](*
- [Contribute to GitLab](#contribute-to-gitlab)
- [Security vulnerability disclosure](#security-vulnerability-disclosure)
- [Code of conduct](#code-of-conduct)
- [Closing policy for issues and merge requests](#closing-policy-for-issues-and-merge-requests)
- [Helping others](#helping-others)
- [I want to contribute!](#i-want-to-contribute)
- [Contribution Flow](#contribution-flow)
- [Workflow labels](#workflow-labels)
- [Type labels](#type-labels)
- [Subject labels](#subject-labels)
- [Team labels](#team-labels)
- [Milestone labels](#milestone-labels)
- [Bug Priority labels](#bug-priority-labels)
- [Bug Severity labels](#bug-severity-labels)
- [Severity impact guidance](#severity-impact-guidance)
- [Label for community contributors](#label-for-community-contributors)
- [Implement design & UI elements](#implement-design--ui-elements)
- [Issue tracker](#issue-tracker)
- [Issue triaging](#issue-triaging)
- [Feature proposals](#feature-proposals)
- [Issue tracker guidelines](#issue-tracker-guidelines)
- [Issue weight](#issue-weight)
- [Regression issues](#regression-issues)
- [Technical and UX debt](#technical-and-ux-debt)
- [Stewardship](#stewardship)
- [Merge requests](#merge-requests)
- [Merge request guidelines](#merge-request-guidelines)
- [Contribution acceptance criteria](#contribution-acceptance-criteria)
- [Definition of done](#definition-of-done)
- [Style guides](#style-guides)
<!-- END doctoc generated TOC please keep comment here to allow auto update -->
## Contribute to GitLab
For a first-time step-by-step guide to the contribution process, see
["Contributing to GitLab"](
Thank you for your interest in contributing to GitLab. This guide details how
to contribute to GitLab in a way that is efficient for everyone.
Looking for something to work on? Look for issues with the label [Accepting Merge Requests](#i-want-to-contribute).
GitLab comes into two flavors, GitLab Community Edition (CE) our free and open
source edition, and GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE) which is our commercial
edition. Throughout this guide you will see references to CE and EE for
If you have read this guide and want to know how the GitLab [core team]
operates please see [the GitLab contributing process](
- [GitLab Inc engineers should refer to the engineering workflow document](
## Security vulnerability disclosure
Please report suspected security vulnerabilities in private to
``, also see the
[disclosure section on the website](
Please do **NOT** create publicly viewable issues for suspected security
## Code of conduct
As contributors and maintainers of this project, we pledge to respect all
people who contribute through reporting issues, posting feature requests,
updating documentation, submitting pull requests or patches, and other
We are committed to making participation in this project a harassment-free
experience for everyone, regardless of level of experience, gender, gender
identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance,
body size, race, ethnicity, age, or religion.
Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include the use of sexual
language or imagery, derogatory comments or personal attacks, trolling, public
or private harassment, insults, or other unprofessional conduct.
Project maintainers have the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or
reject comments, commits, code, wiki edits, issues, and other contributions
that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct. Project maintainers who do not
follow the Code of Conduct may be removed from the project team.
This code of conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces
when an individual is representing the project or its community.
Instances of abusive, harassing, or otherwise unacceptable behavior can be
reported by emailing ``.
This Code of Conduct is adapted from the [Contributor Covenant][contributor-covenant], version 1.1.0,
available at [](
## Closing policy for issues and merge requests
GitLab is a popular open source project and the capacity to deal with issues
and merge requests is limited. Out of respect for our volunteers, issues and
merge requests not in line with the guidelines listed in this document may be
closed without notice.
Please treat our volunteers with courtesy and respect, it will go a long way
towards getting your issue resolved.
Issues and merge requests should be in English and contain appropriate language
for audiences of all ages.
If a contributor is no longer actively working on a submitted merge request
we can decide that the merge request will be finished by one of our
[Merge request coaches][team] or close the merge request. We make this decision
based on how important the change is for our product vision. If a Merge request
coach is going to finish the merge request we assign the
~"coach will finish" label.
## Helping others
Please help other GitLab users when you can.
The methods people will use to seek help can be found on the [getting help page][getting-help].
Sign up for the mailing list, answer GitLab questions on StackOverflow or
respond in the IRC channel. You can also sign up on [CodeTriage][codetriage] to help with
the remaining issues on the GitHub issue tracker.
## I want to contribute!
If you want to contribute to GitLab [issues with the label `Accepting Merge Requests` and small weight][accepting-mrs-weight]
is a great place to start. Issues with a lower weight (1 or 2) are deemed
suitable for beginners. These issues will be of reasonable size and challenge,
for anyone to start contributing to GitLab. If you have any questions or need help visit [Getting Help]( to
learn how to communicate with GitLab. If you're looking for a Gitter or Slack channel
please consider we favor
[asynchronous communication]( over real time communication. Thanks for your contribution!
## Contribution Flow
When contributing to GitLab, your merge request is subject to review by merge request maintainers of a particular specialty.
When you submit code to GitLab, we really want it to get merged, but there will be times when it will not be merged.
When maintainers are reading through a merge request they may request guidance from other maintainers. If merge request maintainers conclude that the code should not be merged, our reasons will be fully disclosed. If it has been decided that the code quality is not up to GitLab’s standards, the merge request maintainer will refer the author to our docs and code style guides, and provide some guidance.
Sometimes style guides will be followed but the code will lack structural integrity, or the maintainer will have reservations about the code’s overall quality. When there is a reservation the maintainer will inform the author and provide some guidance. The author may then choose to update the merge request. Once the merge request has been updated and reassigned to the maintainer, they will review the code again. Once the code has been resubmitted any number of times, the maintainer may choose to close the merge request with a summary of why it will not be merged, as well as some guidance. If the merge request is closed the maintainer will be open to discussion as to how to improve the code so it can be approved in the future.
GitLab will do its best to review community contributions as quickly as possible. Specially appointed developers review community contributions daily. You may take a look at the [team page]( for the merge request coach who specializes in the type of code you have written and mention them in the merge request. For example, if you have written some JavaScript in your code then you should mention the frontend merge request coach. If your code has multiple disciplines you may mention multiple merge request coaches.
GitLab receives a lot of community contributions, so if your code has not been reviewed within 4 days of its initial submission feel free to re-mention the appropriate merge request coach.
When submitting code to GitLab, you may feel that your contribution requires the aid of an external library. If your code includes an external library please provide a link to the library, as well as reasons for including it.
When your code contains more than 500 changes, any major breaking changes, or an external library, `@mention` a maintainer in the merge request. If you are not sure who to mention, the reviewer will add one early in the merge request process.
## Workflow labels
This [documentation](./ outlines the current workflow labels.
### Type labels
This [documentation](./ outlines the current type labels.
### Subject labels
This [documentation](./ outlines the current subject labels.
### Team labels
This [documentation](./ outlines the current team labels.
### Milestone labels
This [documentation](./ outlines the current milestone labels.
### Bug Priority labels
This [documentation](./ outlines the current bug priority labels.
### Bug Severity labels
This [documentation](./ outlines the current severity labels.
#### Severity impact guidance
This [documentation](./ outlines the current severity impact guidance.
### Label for community contributors
This [documentation](./ outlines the current policy regarding community contributor issues.
## Implement design & UI elements
This [documentation](./ outlines the current design and UI guidelines.
## Issue tracker
This [documentation](./ outlines the issue tracker process.
### Issue triaging
This [documentation](./ outlines the current issue triaging process.
### Feature proposals
This [documentation](./ outlines the feature proposal process.
### Issue tracker guidelines
This [documentation]( outlines the issue tracker guidelines.
### Issue weight
This [documentation](./ outlines the issue weight guidelines.
### Regression issues
This [documentation](./ outlines the regression issue process.
### Technical and UX debt
This [documentation](./ about technical and UX debt has been moved.
### Stewardship
This [documentation](./ outlines the stewardship process.
## Merge requests
This [documentation](./ outlines the current merge request process.
### Merge request guidelines
This [documentation](./ outlines the current merge request guidelines.
### Contribution acceptance criteria
This [documentation](./ outlines the current acceptance criteria for contributions.
## Definition of done
This [documentation](./ outlines the definition of done.
## Style guides
This [documentation](./ outlines the current style guidelines.
[Return to Development documentation](../
<!-- START doctoc generated TOC please keep comment here to allow auto update -->
**Table of Contents** *generated with [DocToc](*
- [Workflow labels](#workflow-labels)
- [Type labels](#type-labels)
- [Subject labels](#subject-labels)
- [Team labels](#team-labels)
- [Release Scoping labels](#release-scoping-labels)
- [Priority labels](#priority-labels)
- [Severity labels](#severity-labels)
- [Severity impact guidance](#severity-impact-guidance)
- [Label for community contributors](#label-for-community-contributors)
- [Issue triaging](#issue-triaging)
- [Feature proposals](#feature-proposals)
- [Issue tracker guidelines](#issue-tracker-guidelines)
- [Issue weight](#issue-weight)
- [Regression issues](#regression-issues)
- [Technical and UX debt](#technical-and-ux-debt)
- [Stewardship](#stewardship)
<!-- END doctoc generated TOC please keep comment here to allow auto update -->
## Workflow labels
To allow for asynchronous issue handling, we use [milestones][milestones-page]
and [labels][labels-page]. Leads and product managers handle most of the
scheduling into milestones. Labelling is a task for everyone.
Most issues will have labels for at least one of the following:
- Type: ~"feature proposal", ~bug, ~customer, etc.
- Subject: ~wiki, ~"container registry", ~ldap, ~api, ~frontend, etc.
- Team: ~"CI/CD", ~Plan, ~Manage, ~Quality, etc.
- Release Scoping: ~Deliverable, ~Stretch, ~"Next Patch Release"
- Priority: ~P1, ~P2, ~P3, ~P4
- Severity: ~S1, ~S2, ~S3, ~S4
All labels, their meaning and priority are defined on the
[labels page][labels-page].
If you come across an issue that has none of these, and you're allowed to set
labels, you can _always_ add the team and type, and often also the subject.
### Type labels
Type labels are very important. They define what kind of issue this is. Every
issue should have one or more.
Examples of type labels are ~"feature proposal", ~bug, ~customer, ~security,
and ~"direction".
A number of type labels have a priority assigned to them, which automatically
makes them float to the top, depending on their importance.
Type labels are always lowercase, and can have any color, besides blue (which is
already reserved for subject labels).
The descriptions on the [labels page][labels-page] explain what falls under each type label.
### Subject labels
Subject labels are labels that define what area or feature of GitLab this issue
hits. They are not always necessary, but very convenient.
Examples of subject labels are ~wiki, ~ldap, ~api,
~issues, ~"merge requests", ~labels, and ~"container registry".
If you are an expert in a particular area, it makes it easier to find issues to
work on. You can also subscribe to those labels to receive an email each time an
issue is labeled with a subject label corresponding to your expertise.
Subject labels are always all-lowercase.
### Team labels
Team labels specify what team is responsible for this issue.
Assigning a team label makes sure issues get the attention of the appropriate
The current team labels are:
- ~Configuration
- ~"CI/CD"
- ~Create
- ~Distribution
- ~Documentation
- ~Geo
- ~Gitaly
- ~Manage
- ~Monitoring
- ~Plan
- ~Quality
- ~Release
- ~Secure
- ~UX
The descriptions on the [labels page][labels-page] explain what falls under the
responsibility of each team.
Within those team labels, we also have the ~backend and ~frontend labels to
indicate if an issue needs backend work, frontend work, or both.
Team labels are always capitalized so that they show up as the first label for
any issue.
### Release Scoping labels
Release Scoping labels help us clearly communicate expectations of the work for the
release. There are three levels of Release Scoping labels:
- ~Deliverable: Issues that are expected to be delivered in the current
- ~Stretch: Issues that are a stretch goal for delivering in the current
milestone. If these issues are not done in the current release, they will
strongly be considered for the next release.
- ~"Next Patch Release": Issues to put in the next patch release. Work on these
first, and add the "Pick Into X" label to the merge request, along with the
appropriate milestone.
Each issue scheduled for the current milestone should be labeled ~Deliverable
or ~"Stretch". Any open issue for a previous milestone should be labeled
~"Next Patch Release", or otherwise rescheduled to a different milestone.
### Priority labels
Priority labels help us define the time a ~bug fix should be completed. Priority determines how quickly the defect turnaround time must be.
If there are multiple defects, the priority decides which defect has to be fixed immediately versus later.
This label documents the planned timeline & urgency which is used to measure against our actual SLA on delivering ~bug fixes.
| Label | Meaning | Estimate time to fix |
| ~P1 | Urgent Priority | The current release + potentially immediate hotfix to |
| ~P2 | High Priority | The next release |
| ~P3 | Medium Priority | Within the next 3 releases (approx one quarter) |
| ~P4 | Low Priority | Anything outside the next 3 releases (approx beyond one quarter) |
### Severity labels
Severity labels help us clearly communicate the impact of a ~bug on users.
| Label | Meaning | Impact on Functionality | Example |
| ~S1 | Blocker | Outage, broken feature with no workaround | Unable to create an issue. Data corruption/loss. Security breach. |
| ~S2 | Critical Severity | Broken Feature, workaround too complex & unacceptable | Can push commits, but only via the command line. |
| ~S3 | Major Severity | Broken Feature, workaround acceptable | Can create merge requests only from the Merge Requests page, not through the Issue. |
| ~S4 | Low Severity | Functionality inconvenience or cosmetic issue | Label colors are incorrect / not being displayed. |
#### Severity impact guidance
Severity levels can be applied further depending on the facet of the impact; e.g. Affected customers, availability, performance and etc. The below is a guideline.
| Severity | Affected Customers/Users | Availability | Performance Degradation |
| ~S1 | >50% users affected (possible company extinction level event) | Significant impact on all of | |
| ~S2 | Many users or multiple paid customers affected (but not apocalyptic)| Significant impact on large portions of | Degradation is guaranteed to occur in the near future |
| ~S3 | A few users or a single paid customer affected | Limited impact on important portions of | Degradation is likely to occur in the near future |
| ~S4 | No paid users/customer affected, or expected to in the near future | Minor impact on on | Degradation _may_ occur but it's not likely |
### Label for community contributors
Issues that are beneficial to our users, 'nice to haves', that we currently do
not have the capacity for or want to give the priority to, are labeled as
~"Accepting Merge Requests", so the community can make a contribution.
Community contributors can submit merge requests for any issue they want, but
the ~"Accepting Merge Requests" label has a special meaning. It points to
changes that:
1. We already agreed on,
1. Are well-defined,
1. Are likely to get accepted by a maintainer.
We want to avoid a situation when a contributor picks an
~"Accepting Merge Requests" issue and then their merge request gets closed,
because we realize that it does not fit our vision, or we want to solve it in a
different way.
We add the ~"Accepting Merge Requests" label to:
- Low priority ~bug issues (i.e. we do not add it to the bugs that we want to
solve in the ~"Next Patch Release")
- Small ~"feature proposal"
- Small ~"technical debt" issues
After adding the ~"Accepting Merge Requests" label, we try to estimate the
[weight](#issue-weight) of the issue. We use issue weight to let contributors
know how difficult the issue is. Additionally:
- We advertise ["Accepting Merge Requests" issues with weight < 5][up-for-grabs]
as suitable for people that have never contributed to GitLab before on the
[Up For Grabs campaign](
- We encourage people that have never contributed to any open source project to
look for ["Accepting Merge Requests" issues with a weight of 1][firt-timers]
If you've decided that you would like to work on an issue, please @-mention
the [appropriate product manager](
as soon as possible. The product manager will then pull in appropriate GitLab team
members to further discuss scope, design, and technical considerations. This will
ensure that that your contribution is aligned with the GitLab product and minimize
any rework and delay in getting it merged into master.
GitLab team members who apply the ~"Accepting Merge Requests" label to an issue
should update the issue description with a responsible product manager, inviting
any potential community contributor to @-mention per above.
### Issue triaging
Our issue triage policies are [described in our handbook]. You are very welcome
to help the GitLab team triage issues. We also organize [issue bash events] once
every quarter.
The most important thing is making sure valid issues receive feedback from the
development team. Therefore the priority is mentioning developers that can help
on those issues. Please select someone with relevant experience from the
[GitLab team][team]. If there is nobody mentioned with that expertise look in
the commit history for the affected files to find someone.
We also use [GitLab Triage] to automate some triaging policies. This is
currently setup as a [scheduled pipeline] running on [quality/triage-ops]
[described in our handbook]:
[issue bash events]:
[GitLab Triage]:
[scheduled pipeline]:
### Feature proposals
To create a feature proposal for CE, open an issue on the
[issue tracker of CE][ce-tracker].
For feature proposals for EE, open an issue on the
[issue tracker of EE][ee-tracker].
In order to help track the feature proposals, we have created a
[`feature proposal`][fpl] label. For the time being, users that are not members
of the project cannot add labels. You can instead ask one of the [core team]
members to add the label ~"feature proposal" to the issue or add the following
code snippet right after your description in a new line: `~"feature proposal"`.
Please keep feature proposals as small and simple as possible, complex ones
might be edited to make them small and simple.
Please submit Feature Proposals using the ['Feature Proposal' issue template]( provided on the issue tracker.
For changes in the interface, it is helpful to include a mockup. Issues that add to, or change, the interface should
be given the ~"UX" label. This will allow the UX team to provide input and guidance. You may
need to ask one of the [core team] members to add the label, if you do not have permissions to do it by yourself.
If you want to create something yourself, consider opening an issue first to
discuss whether it is interesting to include this in GitLab.
### Issue tracker guidelines
**[Search the issue tracker][ce-tracker]** for similar entries before
submitting your own, there's a good chance somebody else had the same issue or
feature proposal. Show your support with an award emoji and/or join the
Please submit bugs using the ['Bug' issue template]( provided on the issue tracker.
The text in the parenthesis is there to help you with what to include. Omit it
when submitting the actual issue. You can copy-paste it and then edit as you
see fit.
### Issue weight
Issue weight allows us to get an idea of the amount of work required to solve
one or multiple issues. This makes it possible to schedule work more accurately.
You are encouraged to set the weight of any issue. Following the guidelines
below will make it easy to manage this, without unnecessary overhead.
1. Set weight for any issue at the earliest possible convenience
1. If you don't agree with a set weight, discuss with other developers until
consensus is reached about the weight
1. Issue weights are an abstract measurement of complexity of the issue. Do not
relate issue weight directly to time. This is called [anchoring](
and something you want to avoid.
1. Something that has a weight of 1 (or no weight) is really small and simple.
Something that is 9 is rewriting a large fundamental part of GitLab,
which might lead to many hard problems to solve. Changing some text in GitLab
is probably 1, adding a new Git Hook maybe 4 or 5, big features 7-9.
1. If something is very large, it should probably be split up in multiple
issues or chunks. You can simply not set the weight of a parent issue and set
weights to children issues.
### Regression issues
Every monthly release has a corresponding issue on the CE issue tracker to keep
track of functionality broken by that release and any fixes that need to be
included in a patch release (see [8.3 Regressions] as an example).