I’m BuddyPress-ed for Time
By Jeff Sayre
Volunteerism is the heart and soul of any successful, healthy Open Source project. So, when Paul Gibbs posted the following Tweet a week ago,
Apparently I’ve made 1317 posts on the #buddypress forums. This puts me ahead of @apeatling on 1053, @johnjamesjacoby on 1257. @jeffsayre wins with 1454!
1:08 PM Dec 13th by Tweetie
it made me remember a post on Andy Peatling’s blog from several months ago about giving back to the Open Source projects from which we personally benefit.
Andy’s take was that commercial users of Open Source projects should strive to contribute back at least 1% of their time to the project. You can read Andy’s take on this issue here.
I agree with Andy. Further, I think it should apply to all users—not just those of us (like myself) who are building or plan to build commercial SaaS solutions based on Open Source projects.
Also, we all depend on some sort of server operating system and Web server software, more than likely both Open Source in nature. Finally, you might even throw in the Open Source licensing schemes that the aforementioned Open Source projects are licensed under.
But, this post is about BuddyPress. Paul’s tweet made me wonder how much time I’ve given back to the BuddyPress project, the Open Source project with which I am most associated. So, I did a few calculations:
Time spent answering forum questions:
1454 posts x avg. of 7 minutes per post = 170 hours
(N.B. Some posts require twenty or so seconds, but many others I’ve spent 20+ minutes carefully answering. So, I’ve settled on an acceptable average of 7 minutes per post.)
Time spent on forum (reading, moderating, but not answering):
Time spent answering private BuddyPress PMs and emails:
(a fair guesstimate, but I’ve probably spent a little more)
Time spent on IRC:
(These are active, participating hours, not passive hours. That equals about 2 hours a week)
Time spent developing (my Privacy Component, Trac patches, and a few not yet released plugins):
(based on my calendar entries)
Total volunteer hours contributed to the BuddyPress project to date:
Now, the average number of hours a person works each week in the United States in 40 hours. That adds up to 2,080 total work hours per year. I’ll use this figure for one measure of my contribution. Of course, 80 of those hours are often granted to employees as vacation time (if you’re lucky).
But, is there really a normal work week? I’ve never had a job where I’ve worked fewer than 50 hours per week on average. Currently, and for the past decade or more, I’ve worked at least 10 to 12 hours per day, 6 days a week. Often, it is more like 14 to 16 hours each day. Now, if I’m fortunate, and wise, I might actually take 2 weeks off in a year.
So, to be conservative, let’s assume I work an average of 12 hours per day, 6 days per week, and 50 weeks a year. That adds up to 3,600 total work hours per year. Yikes!
Now granted, since I am one of a handful of active BuddyPress forum moderators, the amount of time I volunteer might be a little higher than most. But, these calculations cover just 8 months of my involvement in the BuddyPress project to date. They also do not count the many non-paid hours I’ve spent via iChat, Skype, or on the phone discussing BP with others. So, I’m guessing my actual, yearly total is higher.
What percentage of my working year do I volunteer to the BuddyPress project? The results are in:
Using an average American work year:
733 hours / 2080 hours per year = 35.2%
Using my work year:
733 hours / 3,600 hours per year = 20.4%
Boy, I need to go make some money or at least go on a vacation. But, at least I’ve banked a few volunteer hours using the 1% gauge!
There surely are a number of other BuddyPress developers who kindly give of their time to this extent as well. What percentage of your working year have you volunteered to the BuddyPress project this year?