Counting contributions

The Zulip team page displays commit counts for contributors to Zulip projects. We display these statistics prominently because they are easy to compute, and can be fun and motivating for some of our contributors.

We do not consider commit count to be a good way to measure someone’s contributions to a software project. Many invaluable contributions may not result in the contributor authoring any code at all, including design, feedback, translations, bug reports, helping new contributors, and other types of participation in our development community. These non-code contributions are essential to making the Zulip project successful.

Thus, Zulip’s policy is to always express appreciation for non-code contributions to the project whenever we discuss code contribution statistics, especially in our highest-visibility contexts like release blog posts.

How the contribution stats are calculated

The data for all contributors to the Zulip project is aggregated by querying GitHub’s API endpoint for listing a repository’s contributors. The numbers Zulip gets from this endpoint differs slightly from the data GitHub displays in a repository’s contributors page. This discrepancy is due to the following reasons:

  • A repository’s contributors page excludes commits with author email addresses that do not have an associated GitHub account. However, the GitHub API counts such emails in its contributor stats.

  • A repository’s contributors page does not count commits authored by email addresses that have been deleted from a GitHub profile by the user. However, the GitHub API treats these stale emails as contributors as well.

  • Some commits have multiple authors when that is declared via Co-Authored-By in a commit message.

Old email addresses

If you remove an email address from your GitHub profile, the commits you contributed with that email as the GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL will disappear from your GitHub profile. If you made contributions to Zulip with an author email address that is no longer associated with your GitHub profile, here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Zulip’s team page will still display your contributions. These contributions will be grouped under the email that was used for the commits, but will not link to your GitHub profile.

  • If you still have access to the email used for the contributions, you can link the contributions to your GitHub profile by adding the email to your GitHub account.

  • If you do not have access to the email in question, you can ask for help on, or submit a pull request editing the .mailmap file at the root of the repository where your contributed.

The comments at the top of our .mailmap files document how to map your old email address to one currently associated with your GitHub account.

Relevant source code

To dig deeper into how the contributor stats are calculated, please check out the following files in the Zulip server repository:

  • tools/fetch-contributor-data - The script that fetches contributor data from GitHub’s API.

  • static/js/portico/team.js - The JavaScript code that processes and renders the data received from GitHub.