I hate it when maintainers become unreachable. At the same time, I’m not immune to that myself (if nothing else, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow).
So I contacted a few people with a request to become backup maintainers (BM) for some of my more popular Haskell packages, and they kindly agreed.
Being a backup maintainer comes with very light responsibilities:
The BM for a package is added as a maintainer of that package on hackage and as a collaborator for the package’s github repository.
To make it clear, there’s no obligation for the BM to fix bugs or continue the development after I disappear. It would be unreasonable to request a person to commit to such a responsibility at an indefinite point in the future.
I assume that if a project is important, there will be people willing to take care of it; and if it isn’t, then it doesn’t matter anyway. The main responsibility of the BM is thus to make it easy for such a hypothetical person to take over.
As to what it means to be «unreachable», I completely trust my BM’s judgement here. I don’t want them to follow any bureaucratic procedures. The risk of something going wrong is very low and easily outweighed by the benefits of timely response to problems.
One package that doesn’t have a BM yet is standalone-haddock. If you use it and would like to become a BM, please get in touch.
I also encourage other package maintainers to follow this example and appoint BMs for their popular packages.