Today, we're incredibly excited to announce contributor rewards with Polar.
You can think of it as bounties, but don't worry – it's designed for maintainers and your communities for a change.
Empowering maintainers vs. steamrolling them
Your scarcest resources as an open source maintainer is time & capital. Bounties have historically been a tax on both.
Well-intended backers post bounties to public marketplaces. Triggering contributors to chase the prize before you're even aware, onboard and aligned with the effort. Sometimes stars align, but often not – wasting time, energy and capital for everyone involved.
In order to gain control (ish) you might create an official profile - only to then be expected to cover the bounties yourself out of pocket...
It's a broken game. So understandably most maintainers choose not to play. Yet, many backers want to help fund specific efforts – it's a shame to squander it.
With Polar, maintainers are in full control. You can easily add & promote seamless funding towards specific issues with the Polar badge. On all of them automatically or manually labelled ones.
Backers now see this option promoted directly on issues they care about and want to support. Just in a few clicks, they can fund it upfront or pledge to pay an invoice on completion.
They can also make a pledge to non-badged issues, but it's then in private first so you retain control.
You can see & manage it all beautifully in our dashboard.
That's all fantastic, but what if contributors help close this issue? You can now reward them a percentage of the funding. Do you want to promote it in advance? You can setup a public & upfront split.
Once an issue is closed and you mark it as completed within Polar, you can quickly distribute the rewards between yourself and contributors 🎉 You can do this even if the reward is not public upfront.
By default, we suggest a 50/50 split between you as a maintainer and contributors. After all, don't forget to reward yourself too for feedback, review and ongoing maintenance 🤓 Or give it all to contributors – you're in control (a core principle of ours).
We do also offer maintainers the ability to "Boost" the reward by making a pledge themselves towards the funding pool (to be paid on completion). Enabling maintainers with funding already from elsewhere to seed the initial reward if they want to. However, it's not required nor expected, but a great utility in the toolbox.
Rewarding community vs. attracting drive-by contributions
Finally, we've designed Polar and rewards too to be beautifully integrated with GitHub. Combined with your dedicated Polar page for sharing with your audience wherever they are (Discord, Mastodon, Twitter etc).
Favouring sharing & giving rewards to genuine members of your community vs. creating a public directory for bounty hunters.
We believe maintainers receiving or having funding for rewards, already have a community of contributors. Or an audience to promote it too directly. Naturally creating a better filter for the proper incentives.
We could definitely be wrong. In case attracting new contributors is a common feature request from maintainers, we'll certainly explore it for the future and design it with these principles in mind.
Until then, we'll continue focusing on building a platform for better funding for maintainers to help reward you and your communities. You can read more about our long-term vision here.
We hope you share our excitement for rewards with Polar. We can't wait to see how you use it within your communities & hear what you think!
The Polar maintainers