Pachli introduction

Introduction to the Pachli project

This is a guest post by Nik Clayton, currently stewarding the Pachli project.

Pachli is an Android client application for Mastodon and similar servers, and now an official Nivenly project.

Since the Pachli project’s inception the goal has been to provide a first-class organisation to manage the development of the application under the 7 cooperative principles.

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Member economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, Training, and Information
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

I’m very energised about achieving those goals with the support of the members of the Nivenly community.

As Nivenly members there are many ways you can support the project.

First, try using Pachli as your Mastodon client of choice. You can install from Google Play, F-Droid, or GitHub. Then share any feedback you have; what works for you, what doesn’t, UX improvements you’d like to see, and so on. The release notes for different versions (e.g., 2.5.2, 2.5.1, or 2.4.0) show that user feedback is a rich source of ideas for improvements.

As an open source project contributions of code and documentation through the traditional pull-request route is always welcome. The current list of open issues may provide ideas. Pachli contributions are licensed under the GPL 3.0, and we ask that contributors sign a Contributor License Agreement either on behalf of themselves or as a business employee as appropriate. This is handled automatically when submitting your first PR. In common with many open source projects contributors are expected to abide by a code of conduct.

I’m especially interested in hearing from people who are getting started with Android development and want to develop their skills further. I’m very happy to spend time helping people onboard the project, understand the code, and make their first contributions.

There are many other extremely valuable ways you can contribute to an open source project that are often insufficiently recognised, and I want to explicitly call those out (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Translating the UI
  • Improving the user interface / user experience
    • E.g., identifying user journeys that are needlessly difficult to complete or discover and describing how they could be improved
  • Curating the list of open issues
    • Following up on incomplete issues
    • Contacting an issue reporter to see if a fix solved their problem
    • Making sure issues are not ignored
    • Applying consistent labels to make issues easier to manage
  • Improving the onboarding experience for new contributors
  • Writing release notes
  • Curating the project’s social media account
    • Converting user problems reports on social media to properly tracked issues
    • Responding to users who have questions
    • Identifying patterns of questions that point to where the software can be improved
  • Liaising between the Pachli project and other Fediverse projects

These are often seen as non-technical, “soft” skills that are undervalued. This project will not do that.

The project’s documentation for contributors has links to more specific documentation for those activities.

Of course, if you see something you think the project should be doing, but is not, and you have the skills to do it, you should volunteer. Explain the problem, how you’d solve it, and get to it.

As the project takes in funding through membership I also want the membership to contribute and vote on proposals for how funding could be spent.

For example (these are not fully fleshed out proposals, just two examples of things we could do):

  • Fund an accessibility review of the app, recommending specific changes to improve accessibility
  • Fund an internship through a programme like Outreachy

If any of the above is interesting to you then please get in touch:

Nivenly FAQ

What is the Nivenly Foundation?

The Nivenly Foundation is a non-profit co-op organization that seeks to provide governance and support to Open Source Projects. Our belief is that more active collaboration will improve open source projects, and our goal is to provide spaces and supporting mechanisms that enable communities and maintainers to work together.

Do I need to be a Nivenly member to contribute code or docs to this project?

No, you do not need to be a member of Nivenly to contribute to this project.

Do I need to be a Nivenly member to participate in governance decisions for this project?

Yes, you do need to be a Nivenly member to participate in governance decisions.