I'm finding that others not having the time to do reviews in a code-review enforced open-source (so volunteer) project is really slowing the velocity - it's really unmotivating to have 3-4 PRs of your sitting there for days and prohibits me from doing any new work.

Real life taking priority is of course understandable, but what's a solution for this? I'm thinking of allowing PRs to go through if they're unreviewed for 3-4 days, but that kills the entire point of having code review to begin with.

Does anyone have a good solution?

This is an open-source project and as such I definitely don't have the methods available to a commercial organisation to ensure code reviews are done in a timely manner.

  • 2
    Are you one of the administrator(s) for the project, one of the core developers or simply a contributor? Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 12:17
  • I'm a project lead, yep. Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 12:35
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    You need to edit make clear why the answers to the duplicate gnat linked to don't answer your question already. Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 12:40
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    Possible duplicate of How to get developers to do code reviews in a timely manner
    – David Arno
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 15:19
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    @gnat doesn't look like a duplicate. This one is about an open source project, which changes available methods drastically... Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


Just a few ideas, as project lead you could possibly consider some or all of the following:

  • Have a reviewer leader board as a part of the release notifications &/or the project web site.
  • Announce, maybe quarterly, a week of "Backlog Clearance" when the no new code submissions are accepted during that time.
  • Encourage or organise code review parties where groups of potential reviewers get together for an evening, or a weekend day, of a combined social and lets clear the review queue event.
  • Have a clearly stated policy of patches & new features get considered for inclusion based on:
    • New contributors always need to encourage them then
    • Submissions from contributors that have submitted useful code reviews in order of the number of reviews in the last month, quarter, year.
    • Everybody else.
  • If you have any sponsors see if funding can be found for a periodic "most quality reviews" award of some sort.
  • If your project is presented at conferences you could possibly have a separate review credits section to the slides, just make sure that everybody knows about it well in advance and that they have an option to remain anonymous.
  • Thanks so much for the suggestions! These seem to be for more longer-term PR backlogs, while I'd ideally like like mine to be 3-4 days old at max. Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 7:23
  • @Vadi - Some reviews can take several days of full time paid work so I would say you are being optimistic on that. Plus of course if someone makes a commit the night before an applicable conference unless you can get a review party going at the conference... Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 17:47

I think in the end to achieve a short turnaround I'll go with an etiquette where the review window is 3-4 days and then the PR can be merged if it was reviewed by at least one other person.


I don't feel you can really solve this issue in 3-4 days. I have had the similar experience. But sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Have you just communicated directly with a team? Everybody has its own external and internal motivation. Find an approach that everybody could feel himself as a part of a valuable project. The other point is guidelines. Maybe your should create or check the detailed instructions to the newcomers.

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