If you follow my blog you might have gone through the post about encouraging contribution. I have always been discussing on GitHub an online platform for developers. Are you ready to know about how GitHub encourage commitment? Read through this post and you might understand.

Contribution vs Commitment

So you might have questioning about the difference between contribution and commitment? I will explain this using a formal and official definition from Cambridge Dictionary. Cambridge Dictionary define Contribution as ‘something that you contribute or do to help produce or achieve something together with other people, or to help make something successful’, while define Commitment as ‘something that you must do or deal with that takes your time’ or ‘a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or a promise or firm decision to do something’. Fair enough, from my perspective in this scenario I will define Contribution as resources (projects / answer / codes) that shared by fellow developers all around the world, and I will define commitment as developers or users doing research on GitHub and trust GitHub’s resources.

GitHub’s Trustworthy

You might be thinking, since contribution is done by developers all around the world, can resources there be trusted? Like any other online platform you will need to choose who you trust and the resources you trust, however GitHub allows user to check the contribution is done by who and from which ‘branch’ (version). GitHub is well known for its Source Code Resources, the number of developers actively contributing to it and also famous of its Version Control features. GitHub keep tracks of every contribution made and also profile them into the contributor’s profile. So if you are using GitHub make sure you ‘clone’ from a verified version or from a trusted contributor.

Affective commitment

As mentioned above, GitHub is an online community that created for developers meaning that majority of members in GitHub and user in GitHub have the same focus or are similar at some point. Either they are expert in developing or newbie, GitHub welcomes all of them and provide different space for them. This refer back to Affective Identity Based Commitment, Design Challenge 3 – ‘Recruiting or clustering those who are similar to each other into homogeneous groups fosters identity-based commitment to a community.’ The other Affective Commitment is Bonds based, for example, GitHub place a big slogan in its homepage saying that ‘Welcome home developers’. Affective Bonds based Commitment is created by feelings of closeness and attachment to group or members of the group. GitHub creates an online community for developers, named it as a home, and make it like a home!

Referring back to design challenge again, Design Challenge 15. GitHub Displaying photos and information about individual members and their recent activities promotes bonds-based commitment.

GitHub also applies Affective (Repelling forces) in their platform design. Regarding to Design Challenge 26 under category Affective (Repelling forces) – ‘Personalized filters, which differentially expose members to communications that match their personal interests, reduce the negative effects that off-topic communication has on identity-based commitment.’ GitHub categorize projects that are under development in different category, for example: open source, public and private. Members can filter out to match their personal interests. This reduce the time and effort wasting on wondering around with projects that doesn’t match the interest. GitHub forums provide spaces for different members with different interest. Feel free to join, there’s always space for you, neither nor you are a professional expert or a newcomer ya all welcome!

Figure 1. GitHub Forums – Learning Hub. (Private)


Think about it again, why people maintain their membership on GitHub? Share with me why you maintain your membership on GitHub. To me GitHub is a well-known online platform. Contribution I made to this community really reflects to me well. For example, I can show my experience on GitHub while I am seeking for job. Other than that, I am able to learn and grow by using the resources in GitHub and also help other developer, so why not. From my personal experience, GitHub has a very healthy culture that if you help people, people will help you back. I can refer this type of design challenge as Normative. As mentioned by Dr Jason Watson, one of the design challenge under Normative is to ‘Highlighting opportunities to return favours to specific others increases normative commitment to the community.’  GitHub is doing very well in this part as they provide members to return favours to specific others, a very good example of this will be the ‘code review’. GitHub allows its member to request code review from other members while notify member too if other member need help. Check out this video to understand more about what is ‘code review’.

Figure 2. Code Review. Source

Other than that, GitHub mentioned that there are more than 1.8 million of business and organization that uses GitHub. This dedicates to Normative Design Challenge 27 – ‘Highlighting a community’s purpose and successes at achieving that purpose can translate members’ commitment to the purpose into normative commitment to the community.’

Figure 3. Source