Rewarding community contributors


We have got around 900 submissions to the N810 maemo device program, which is an interesting subset of the >7000 users registered in We have 500 discounts to be distributed among people that is or could be pushing this platform forward. Now we only need to connect this sensible, common-sense principle to 500 userIDs.

Because the maemo project has already some history, we want to reward the most active contributors. Because the maemo platform is mainly based on generic open source components we want to reward developers with a mobile focus upstream. Because maemo has still a lot of potential we want to help and encourage new open source developers with brilliant ideas. These are the three flexible and overlapping segments we are considering.

We select the brilliant ideas by going through the ca. 900 submissions, one by one.

We select the people active mostly upstream through the recommendations received internally from the core maemo developers aka Nokia employees. They can put names and surnames to the people they collaborate with on a regular basis, even if those never appear in the endeavours.

User karma is a key aspect being used to measure the maemo activity. The system is far from perfect and quite experimental at this point, but it does give a hint in the right direction. In order to get your karma right, make sure your email address is the same on all your instances (i.e. pick for garage and bugzilla the same email you are using in the mailing lists). Application developers will boost their karma by providing product pages in the revamped Downloads section and identifying properly the people involved. Rate your preferred software and news, and you will increase the karma of their authors.

I’m looking forward to the mid term effects of this karma, helpful at pointing out what can you do in maemo today and who are your reference fellows. This karma is also an integrator of different areas of community contribution, from Downloads section and the social News to classical channels like the mailing lists, bugzilla or garage (hosting almost 400 projects as we speak).

As a very valuable side effect newcomers have good visibility to the best & latest stuff the maemo community has produced, and also to the people making this happen. This way the oldtimers and experienced contributors provide in/direct guidance to the young explorers and apprentices. As it always has been.

26 Responses to “Rewarding community contributors”

  1. 1 ajf

    Hi, what about bloggers that doesn’t have time or can’t develop applications but are active users of internet tablets and help to make tutorials, howtos and test applications?

  2. “We have got around 900 submissions to the N810 maemo device program”

    Good luck to make a sort … 🙂

  3. 3 waite

    Can you grab a snap of the Karma count as of today? I submittied an entry for the developer program, but have not been as active as I should have been. I would like to start using my blog more at but I don’t think it is fair if this improves my Karma and thus improves my chances. Till I Know the program is decided, I suppose I could just make drfat entriees but really what fun is that.

  4. About the Karma system.

    In the list I’m missing a couple of ways to earn Karma points:

    running a software repository
    applications that are not listed in garage (I for example run my own server and just don’t need the garage)

    btw. how do I add my blog to my maemo profile? Also what about planet who decides about planet?

    Anyway I like the idea of Karma points 🙂

  5. The trouble with your email address-based karma system is that it will break down in my case, because I use a different email address everywhere I sign up. My email server supports owen-*, so I fill in whatever I want depending on what site I’m on. So for gnome, it’s owen-gnome. for Maemo, it’s owen-maemo. This helps me find out which sites are being harvested for spam.

    I’m not going to insist that you rewrite the karma system for my single edge case, but just please be aware of the exceptions when it looks like I haven’t done anything anywhere else.

  6. @ajf if your news get through Planet or Garage news you get karma points, If people fav your news you get more karma. If they bury your news you loose karma.

    @waite just relax about the karma and do whatever you feel like doing. Don’t let your karma condition yourself.

    @collin you can have your repository wherever and have your product pages in – you’ll get karma for that. People rate your apps high, you earn more karma. We are encouraging developers to user the extras repository (follow the discussion in maemo-developers) so please bare with us if we don’t promote developers opening their own repos.

    In any case per are looking at how to get user data from – if your repositories are providing info to ohloh you should get karma as well. This goes also for people having projects in i.e. But before going for ohloh we need to have our own system more consolidated.

  7. @owen more than one person has suggested to support more than one email address. Can you please file an enhancement request at to allow claiming more than one email? We are open to discuss this.

  8. I’m not complaining, but I am a bit confused… I thought that one of the stated goals of the device program was to gain new contributers. This seems to be in conflict with the goal of rewarding the most active contributors. Especially because it is a lot easier to be an active contributer if you already have a device. Again, not complaining, just confused.

  9. You mention the revamped download pages, and this is the first place to see the announcement. The downloads section is very important resource, and a main interconnectivity point between users and developers.

    However, the current downloads section improvement is not to be imporvement at all. By dividing applications into three different sections, 2006, 2007 and 2008, developers have to update the same information three times for every new release. The old concept of one application with a support for different OSes were much better.

    In addition, the search functionality seems to be related to the selection of OS version although it is visually separate of it when located at the top header. It may lead to “application not found” sitatuations if the user has not selected the right OS or the developer has not yet added a new entry into product database.

    The site seems to be under some kind of transition, and not all the functionality is working yet. Vote and download counters are not increasing. The site gives a huge amount of warnings and error occasionally. The most annoying defect is that, if the user is arriving into the site by using the old product link without OS version in the URL, the install link is not working. There are a lot of those links around the net.

    I am sure the minor issues are going to be fixed soon, but I also encourage to return the product database where a developer writes only one description per product and then selects which IT OSes are supported, while users can narrow their view on only one OS.

  10. Ok, but in my case my blog is in Spanish and it isn’t accepted for Planet. I use my blog to bring news and help people in latinamerica about Internet tablets, are we “non-english” contributors out of the device program?

  11. “This seems to be in conflict with the goal of rewarding the most active contributors.”

    Maybe because in the past it s seem to be that some people that create a project just to be able to get a device at a low cost and never bring anything to the community.

    Maybe i’m wrong but when the developper program open, i ve see many new projects created on the maemo garage. And i think some of this project will never be updated.

  12. 12 fanoush

    Quim, Owen,
    I have filed it as a bug since I’d like to have it too
    “Karma system should allow more e-mail addresses”

  13. @npmccallum the program is open to new developers. Please read above:

    > Because maemo has still a lot of potential we want to help and incentive new
    > open source developers with brilliant ideas. (…)
    > We select the brilliant ideas by going through the ca. 900 submissions,
    > one by one.

    I agree with Khertan that we need to be careful with newcomers, though. It’s not just about writing down a good idea, it’s also about providing some ground that you are going to be able to deliver actually something. Not easy (for both sides).

    @Henrik, the announcement and comments about the new Downloads will come hopefully tomorrow, when the site & server are stable and the upgrade is completed.

    @ajf please follow and have your say in the maemo-users list about blogs aggregated in languages other than English.

  14. qgil, my blog was in planet “before” the site reestructe, after that all non-english blogs were removed.

  15. The page is mostly empty for me right now.
    It does contain the text “ > Downloads” though. Maybe that’s a Zen thing to go with the Karma theme. I’ll try again later.

  16. @ajf
    Same as yours, my blog has disappeared from planet-maemo (since it is based on Midgard CMS) as it is written in French, but things are about to change: see some post about this on maemo-users ML. But I agree: this deserves our karma 😉

  17. 17 TenSpeed

    Interesting problem, this… If you focus too heavily on developers, you’ll make the device better known to – developers! Not a bad market, but certainly a niche. If you broaden things too much, you lose the developer base and the device stalls.

    From my perspective (I’m a novice developer with NO programming skills, but have plenty of other education and experience), you need to look at the old Bell Labs model of pairing creative people with technical people. Many people want to contribute ideas to Maemo, but spending days/months/years learning c++ (or whatever) to promote their ideas doesn’t make sense – the cost (in time) is too high, and it ignores their true expertise. And all the programming chops in the world won’t matter if you don’t have something interesting to say.

    Good luck with getting to 500 – better you than me! Luckily, more often than not, Nokia gets it right… 🙂

  18. @Xyzo
    Glad i’m not the only one with that problem 🙂
    I’ll register to the mailing list and see what comes next

  19. I have updated my email in my Maemo Bugzilla account to match my regular account address. I see that my bug statistics seem to not yet be reflected in my karma – is there a daily/periodic resync that occurs to transfer this, or is there something more I need to do to notify the system of this change? (I didn’t use same emails originally as a spam-prevention measure: bugzillas tend to attract spam, though I realized later that the Maemo one is very well locked down.)

  20. “help and incentive new open source developers with brilliant ideas”

    the phrase you might have been looking for was “incentivize” but admittedly it is horrible marketing speak and the better simpler phrase to use would be “help and encourage”

  21. @TenSpeed the N810 maemo device program has been targeted to “contributors” and both in the announcement and the instructions we made clear that it was not intended to developers only. The karma takes into account activities such as blogging, reporting bugs or evaluating applications. The application form included a field to explain your brilliant idea – and to write that down you didn’t need to be a software developers. So I think we have done our part properly.

    @Ryan, the karma values are refreshed once a day. No need to go up to a Dow Jones performance. 🙂

    @Anon thanks, “help and encourage” is much better. Please bare with this non-native English speaker blogging as good as he can.

  22. 22 hippi

    Does it measure commits in garage svn? For email addressess, it would be better if the garage profile would allow listing several alternative email adressess.

  23. @hippi – No garage commits taken into account as for today. Do you mind filing an enhancement request at Product Website, component Profile.

    About alternative email addresses:

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