How to not engage with an open source project – in 3 emails

We’ve worked on a lot of Open Source projects over the years, Saiku being the most prominent. Over the last few weeks I got a few emails from a chap who works at Fossa.io and they got my goat, here goes:

Email #1

Hey Analytical, I came across saiku on Github and I wanted to reach out to see if we could sponsor a license of FOSSA for your project. We provide a popular license scanning service that helps open source projects prevent license violations with their dependencies. You may have already seen our badge on OSS projects like Webpack and Terraform — this is an important factor for big companies that want to use, modify or contribute back to projects like saiku. If you’re interested, you can login with Github here and import saiku? Then, reach back out to me and I’ll shoot over a PR & upgrade your account! Best, Caleb

Okay, first email. Lets start at the top, my name, clearly, isn’t Analytical. Secondly, my project name, is a name, so why not stick a capital S on there? Lastly in that opening shot, forgive me but whats FOSSA? Oh, its answered in the second sentence of the email I never asked for. I’ve not seen your OSS badge but thanks for pointing it out, companies haven’t said that OSS compliance is required for contributing back, but I’ll take your word for it!

Email #2

Hey Analytical, Just checking in to see if you’ve gotten a chance to take a look at this yet. I’d love to help you get something running on saiku — I think it could really help companies that care about licensing participate in this project. Let me know! Caleb

Second email arrived 3 days later, no my name isn’t Analytical. Saiku is still spelt with a capital S. Please find me these companies!

Email #3

Checking in to see if you’ve gotten a chance to take a look at this yet! I know its easy for stuff to fall through the cracks. Something else I wanted to bring up — we also have plugins that you can use to integrate license checks across PRs, your CI or other areas of your workflow (like this CLI https://github.com/fossas/license-cli). Would love to hear your feedback on these — let me know if I can help you set something up, Caleb

Okay last email 4 days after the previous. Doesn’t have a name, but then doesn’t even have a hello.  Plugins are cool, why not mention that days ago….

So, 3 unsolicited emails by a company looking for ways to get open source companies to use their software in the hope they’ll be able to spread the word and up sell. I get it. But if you’re going to spam people, at least get the details correct, and when you do, at least put enough content in the email to make a compelling case for me to make and educated decision. Finally, allow me to unsubscribe! Don’t just blanket spam people from your email client, give me the choice to opt out of your emails.

If you want to interact with open source developers, do something nice and doesn’t feel like spamming, offer up integration for ASF projects, get involved with communities and make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture not just another point in the metrics chart.

Thanks FOSSA and Caleb I hope I don’t make the same mistakes.



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