SciPy 2023

Community-first open source: An action plan!
07-14, 14:35–15:05 (America/Chicago), Amphitheater 204

Communities are at the heart of open source software and are fundamental to our projects’ long-term success. The Python ecosystem has several mature projects, that have spent years working on community initiatives. Newer projects can learn from their experiences and build stronger foundations to foster healthy communities.

In this talk, we share a set of practices for community-first projects, including repository management, contributor pathways, and governance principles. We’ll also share real examples from our own journey transitioning a company-backed OSS project, Nebari (, to be more community-oriented.

Open source communities come in a lot of different flavors and have many different ways of operating. However, there is a common thread of promoting kindness in communication, improving the contributor and user experience, and working to make the project more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable.

We, the presenters, recently worked to transition a company-backed open source project, Nebari (, to be more community-oriented in its development, maintenance, and governance. We focused on creating a community-first foundation that builds on years of learnings from other leading communities, including Jupyter, NumPy, Gatsby JS, and more. In this talk, we want to share our journey and the things we learned along the way.

We aim to provide a step-by-step guide for open source projects looking to adopt more community-driven practices. We will discuss everything from repository management, and contributor and maintainer pathways, to documentation and governance principles. This talk will be most helpful for projects in their formative stages and projects transitioning from company-backed models, however we feel everyone can learn something new to implement in their communities.

Pavithra is a Developer Advocate at Quansight, where she works to support the PyData community. She also contributes to the Bokeh and Dask projects; and has helped administrate Wikimedia’s outreach programs in the past. In her spare time, she enjoys a good book and hot coffee. :)

This speaker also appears in: