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Community starter kit

There are millions of projects on GitHub, all competing for attention from the millions of open source contributors available to help. Learn how to help your project stand out.

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The open source community is full of the most passionate and talented people in the world. We know, because we work with them every day. Learn how to help the community find and contribute to your project.

In this course, you will learn about the informal standards the community has adopted to make it easier to find and contribute to projects.

What you'll learn

  • How to add metadata and help potential contributors find your project
  • The standard files contributors will look for and what they should contain
  • Tips for building a healthy, welcoming community
  • Other ways you can make your project easy to use

What you'll build

  • You'll build a kit with your own, specialized documents and processes for launching your own community.


In this course you will work with issues and pull requests, as well as edit files. If these things are not familiar to you, we recommend you take the Introduction to GitHub course, first!

Projects used

This course uses many inspirations in the community for resources that you will customize and add as you learn.


Developers, GitHub users, users new to Git, students, managers, teams, open source contributors, open source maintainers

Steps to complete this course 15
  1. Add a repository description

    Welcome users to the repository with a descriptive README

  2. Edit the README

    Describe the purpose and benefits of your project.

  3. Merge the README

    Merge the pull request to add the README.

  4. Create user documentation

    Support your users with great documentation.

  5. Merge the user documentation

    Merge the pull request to add the user documentation.

  6. Add an issue template

    Use issue templates to gather useful information from contributors.

  7. Merge the issue template

    Merge the pull request to add your issue template.

  8. Add a CONTRIBUTING guide

    A CONTRIBUTING guide is used to tell others how they can help.

  9. Add custom labels to the project

    Create the labels described in the CONTRIBUTING guide and add them to this pull request.

  10. Merge the CONTRIBUTING guide

    Merge the pull request to add your contributing guide.

  11. Add the license

    Add a license to your open source project.

  12. Merge the license

    Merge the pull request to add your license.

  13. Add the Code of Conduct

    Add a Code of Conduct to set expectations for behavior in your project.

  14. Merge the Code of Conduct

    Merge the pull request to add your Code of Conduct.

  15. Help users find the project

    Add repository topics to help GitHub categorize and recommend your project.

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Average time to complete

79 minutes


All public courses on Learning Lab are free.

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What is GitHub Learning Lab?

Learn new skills by completing fun, realistic projects in your very own GitHub repository.

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