Blog Company Why we launched GitLab Contributor Days
March 29, 2023
3 min read

Why we launched GitLab Contributor Days

Inside our decision to create an event where our contributors could gather in person to collaborate.


GitLab hosted our first Contributor Days event in March as a fringe event of CfgMgmtCamp, which was held at FOSDEM.

What is GitLab Contributor Days?

GitLab Contributor Days is an in-person, unconference-style event geared toward collaboration. Attendees can work on contributions and engage with the wider community and GitLab team members. Mentors are on hand to help answer questions and collaborate on contributions.

How did GitLab Contributor Days come to be?

My role as a member of the GitLab's Contributor Success team is to improve the contributor journey. In the past, as an external GitLab community member, I wrote about my own contributor journey and how being a GitLab Hero can elevate your company. I know how important it is to foster a sense of community among our contributors.

GitLab's hackathons accomplish this virtually, but I missed the in-person interaction. So I explored the idea of community building and contributing at in-person events. I started, as all things do at GitLab, with an issue outlining the GitLab Contributor Days idea and my team fully supported me.

We had a rough date and venue in mind, but after seeing how close it was to FOSDEM, Nick Veenhof, Director of Contributor Success, suggested tying it in as a fringe event to tap into a pool of potential contributors who could drop in while at the event.

The GitLab Contributor Days experience

FOSDEM provided a great opportunity for GitLab team members to connect face-to-face – many, for the first time. Seeing how much everyone loves GitLab and just enjoyed stopping by, smiling, and taking some stickers, gave me that warm fuzzy feeling – very much the reason I became part of the GitLab community in the first place.

Our fluid format worked well and included:

  • Live pairing with Marco Zille from the GitLab Core team
  • Raimund Hook working on merge requests at the booth
  • Additional code-pairing throughout the event

We had a number of contributors spend the whole day with us, and plenty of drop-ins. We also garnered ideas to iterate our next event.

Collaborating on issues

The curated issue list provided a great starting point for attendees to dig in and collaborate with one another. Next time, we might use Post-It notes so contributors can see the collaboration progress in real time.

Here are the livestreams from some of our collaboration sessions:

In addition to those already mentioned above, here are some GitLab team members and community members who participated and their contributions:

I'd like to also thank Toshaan and Kris for hosting us.

Stay tuned for an announcement of our next Contributor Days event. Until then, join us on Discord for our weekly livestreams, or for our upcoming hackathon.

We want to hear from you

Enjoyed reading this blog post or have questions or feedback? Share your thoughts by creating a new topic in the GitLab community forum. Share your feedback

Ready to get started?

See what your team could do with a unified DevSecOps Platform.

Get free trial

New to GitLab and not sure where to start?

Get started guide

Learn about what GitLab can do for your team

Talk to an expert