Answering issues, preventing burnout


#1

Hey,

I’d like to post something personal today, to give you a bit of background.

restic becomes more popular every day, so more and more people contribute code and open issues. This is great, I love that something which started as my little side project (which I nervously announced in a lightning talk at FOSDEM) helps many people!

I’m trying to answer all issues and review all code, but that may take me some time. I’m doing restic for fun in my spare time, and I have a family which deserves my attention.

So, on a good day I have an hour or two in the evening to look at pull requests and issues. On another week I don’t have any time for restic at all.

Most evenings, my GitHub notification page looks roughly like this:

And when I’m done reading through the issues, oftentimes the hour that I had is over. In the evening on the next day, the notifications are there again, waiting for me. It never stops. :wink:

I’m aware that trying to keep up with all the issues is not possible, so sometimes I consciously decide not to look at the issue notification list at all, but spend an hour just with coding. In the long run this keeps me happy, which is very important for the project as a whole.

I’m very grateful for all people helping out with issue triage and requesting more information from issue submitters, that helps a lot! Thank you!

Please have patience when contributing code, it may take a bit longer until I find the time to try it out! :slight_smile:


#2

There’s a lot to be said about burnout, support burnout and open source project management burnout. The worst that could happen is that @fd0 ends up there.

Thanks for writing this article, it’s a vital reminder to anyone reading it that we all have to do what we can to keep the project and community around restic working from a maintenance and sustainability perspective, and that everyone has to keep in mind that as a project grows, one person cannot power it on his own, so we all have to be patient and contribute with whatever we can.

@fd0 If you ever get near burnout or losing interest due to work overload, please let us know as soon as you can. There’s never any shame in speaking up when it’s approaching such bad circumstances, so the sooner the better in that case!


#3

Thanks for sharing fd0, we appreciate all the hard work and I’m sure people will be patient enough when it comes to getting help, submitting PRs etc.


#4

@fd0

Thanks for sharing this post with us. Like @rawtaz said, never hesitate to speak to us about those feelings. They are a clear signal that something is getting bad for you. I praise the way you are choosing to keep the project fun.

There are ways to grow (project-wise) but it’s something to be learned (i’m into that, in my ventures) and bottom line, it still needs to be fun and satisfiyng…


#5

@fd0 I appreciate your work on Restic. None of my FOSS projects are nearly as popular, but I can relate and sympathize. It is wise of you to focus more on coding than responding to issues. And always take care of your family and yourself first. As a user, please continue to do so, as that is what ensures the long-term success of Restic. You’re doing a great job!


#6

Serious respect for you and the other maintainers of this project. Thanks for writing this, and please feel free to take all the time you need for what matters most. :slight_smile:


#7

Thanks for all the nice comments! I’ve been mostly travelling the past two weeks and almost didn’t have any time for restic. I’m back now :slight_smile:


#8

FYI, this article describes my experiences very well! I’m sure at least @matt can relate to that :wink:


#9

Folks, first off, I’d like to say this is a very impressive project. I have a bunch of technical hurdles to go through (such as getting a good feel of Go) but hope to contribute to it.

Alexander (@fd0), you have done a very good job thus far. I believe you can do (and feel) better if you publish a plan, a roadmap for the project (as discussed elsewhere here) and then limit your involvement in issue triage. That way you can concentrate on features requiring extended periods of concentration and don’t have to feel guilty about not solving everyone’s problems in the couple hours you have in a day. Obviously all this comes with a feeling of giving up control, but there are ways to prevent it from going too much out of control. With some luck you might not even need them.


#10

Thanks for the kind words, I’ll work with @rawtaz on a roadmap next :slight_smile:


#11

Thank you so much for your work on this @fd0 - and thank you for your honest post. Please know that this is more than appreciated - I get truly excited about what you’ve done here, and would love to be able to help out. I have even considered going down the path of learning Golang in order to help our with code, but, I feel I wouldn’t be able to get my code to the same kind of standard! Nonetheless, I will help out however I can :slight_smile:


#12

So, small status update here: Got a second child ten weeks ago, and I’m experiencing a bit of a rough time in terms of “free time for restic”. And I’ve discovered https://octobox.io which finally allows me to make use of GitHub notifications (it separates the “read” flag from the “hide this issue” flag for each notification, so I can read them but leave them in my inbox until I’ve got time to process them).

I’m slowly working through all the issues/notifications that have piled up the last couple of weeks :wink:


#13

Congratulations on your second child! Thanks for all that you do with Restic, but family does come first. :slight_smile:


#14

Congratulations! :baby_bottle:


#15

Congratulations on the birth of your second - and I’m impressed you’re able to find as much time as you do :slight_smile:


#16

I’m sympathetic of your struggle. I have the same problem even with internal work/university projects due to disability and pain eating up my time :frowning:

Be well


#17

It’s open source. You don’t owe anyone anything. Hope things are going well with your newborn and thank you for your contributions to a wonderful tool.

AfC