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In the absence of a written policy, what is the preferred email domain (corporate or personal) when contributing to an open source project that your employer sponsors?

--Edit--
I'm interested in the programmer's preference assuming the company doesn't care either way.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 5 '11 at 21:39

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5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It seems unlikely that the company really doesn't care either way.

But if that's the case, my answer would depend on my level of interest in the open source project.

If it was something that I could see myself continuing to contribute to in the future even if I was working a different job, I'd prefer to use my personal email address, so there would be continuity in that case.

If it was something that I didn't have any personal interest in and was only contributing to as part of my job, then I'd prefer to use my work email address, so that when I moved on to a different job in the future, I'd break off communications with the project.

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1  
+1: Saw this right after my edit. –  Steve Evers Apr 6 '11 at 3:02
    
I completely agree. If you plan to contribute to this project after you leave your current job then definitely use your person email, if they don't care. –  Nickz Apr 6 '11 at 3:17

I don't think that any of us work in your employer's marketing department. Might want to ask them. In my company, we use our corporate e-mail. In some others, they don't.

As per your edit: My preference would be to use my corporate e-mail if I didn't have any attachment to the project (ie. would work on it after leaving the company), otherwise I would use my personal e-mail.

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If your employer sponsors the project, I'd expect that they'd want you to contribute with your corporate email address. But if you have any question on the matter, you really ought to run it by your supervisor-- the company is going to have an opinion so there's no sense in guessing and risking someone getting irked.

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I think it depends on a few factors. First, what is the nature of the company -- software companies almost certainly want to use the opportunity to effectively advertise thought leadership to thought leaders. But other outfits might not care and still others would be happy to fly completely off the radar. Second, what is the nature of participation. Is the company pushing, flogging or riding on the project? Or is it a "yeah, this stuff helped us out and we'll contribute back a bit and make connections for easy support" sort of concept.

If you can't get clear indication on either of those vectors, I would ask your manager how they see things.

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Your employer has full access to your email. If you are comfortable with the conversation being stored in your employer's archives forever, then go with their email address.

If you're interested in continuing to contribute even after you leave your company, use your personal email address.

Just remember, if you change your email address, change it in the documentation of all your open source projects and in your version control (I have configured git to use my personal email address while on my home computer, and my corporate email while at work).

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