How does contributor identities affect the overall contributor strength computation?

In this thread Understanding the contributor metrics on the trends dashboard we saw how Insights computes the contributor strength for a project, however, a critical piece in this computation is understanding how contributor identities play a significant role in getting the most up-to-date count of unique contributors.

Let’s take a look at this commit snapshot

As seen, there are two different identities, one that of the committer and the other of the one creating the PR to get the commit merged.

This is a common practice and one of the perks of contributing to open source projects that a contributor can choose the identity from which they would want to contribute to a project. While the Github account can be the same, the underlying commit identity can be different. Hence it becomes imperative to associate different identities to the same user in order to uniquely identify the contributor.

In the above example, both the identities Github username ‘1010sachin’ and the commit identity ‘sgupta@linuxfoundation.org’ belong to that same person (that’s me) hence when computing the contributor strength these two identities will be counted as one belonging to the same contributor profile.

Many projects have implemented various ways to deal with this complexity of multiple identities by means of gitdm files, DCOs and CLAs but this is still a small chunk of the vast open source communities.

In Insights, our team constantly work on finding identities that belong to the same user and merge them in the background. Hence, as identities are merged, the count of the contributors vary on the dashboards. Once all the contributors are correctly identified all their future contributions coming from the same identities will automatically be synced and there no need to take any actions. However, this exercise needs to be performed regularly as new contributors join the project. Hence handling the identities manually is not a scalable solution.

With LFX, we are trying to solve this by introducing a self-serve portal called the ‘Individual Dashboard’ that allows the contributors of open source projects to not only claim their own identities but also get an aggregated view of their code contributions in addition to other key details like events attended, badges etc. You can view your own personalized Individual Dashboard by signing in at https://openprofile.dev and connecting your identities under the Identities section.

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