Maintainer Guidelines

DuckDuckGo does not have billions of dollars in cash, we don’t track users, and we don’t have thousands of employees. Instead, we rely on a passionate community of contributors to solve searches in few or zero clicks with Instant Answers. A crucial role in the community is that of the Maintainers. Maintainers ensure that Instant Answers stay functioning and up-to-date after going live on

Every Instant Answer should have a maintainer to moderate suggested changes from the community as well as address any issues that pop up in the future.

Becoming a Maintainer

Your Instant Answers

By default, you will be assigned as the Maintainer for Instant Answers you’ve developed.

Others' Instant Answers

We encourage you to maintain Instant Answers that have no Maintainer or where the current Maintainer is willing to relinquish their role.

To request Maintainership of an Instant Answer 1. Open an Issue from the Instant Answer page you’d like to maintain. 2. Include, “I’d like to maintain this” in the body of the issue. 3. Submit!

Once assigned as maintainer, assume the responsibilities and best-practices noted below.

Note: It's helpful (but not required) to let the community know why you'd like to maintain an Instant Answer. Additionally, if you anticipate needing help down the road, this is a great time to let other devs know about your past experience with Instant Answers, your knowledge of the topic-at-hand, and any assistance you may need.

Overseeing Changes


For Everyone

We recommend alerting Maintainers to any changes you're proposing or submitting to their Instant Answers (Issues and Pull Requests). More heads are better than one, however, Maintainers are tasked with the long-term care of an Instant Answer and so can accept or reject a change if it doesn't appear valuable to the goals of the DuckDuckHack community. Maintainers also have a lot of great experience with their Instant Answer and the search topics they're overseeing. Involving them is not only kind, it's wise!

For Maintainers

Please respond to Issues and Pull Requests created for your Instant Answer within the following timeframes:

  • General: 14 Days

    As the person responsible for your Instant Answer, we hope that you’ll respond to proposed changes in a timely manner.

  • High-Priority Label: 7 Days

    The High-Priority label is used for a reason -- to signify issues and pull requests that must be acknowledged ASAP.


In the event that a maintainer does not take action in the given timeframe, staff and community may address the issue or proposed change without your input.

In the event that a maintainer is unresponsive to activity on an Instant Answer for a period of 4 weeks or more, maintainership of that Instant Answer will be reset and offered to the community.

At times, DuckDuckGo may make critical changes to an Instant Answer without approval. We will always try to contact the maintainer before doing so but, in some cases, it may be necessary to uphold the quality of experience that DuckDuckGo users are accustomed to.

If you need help or have questions at any point, please ask! We have a lot of ways you can reach us or other contributors.

Maintainer Responsibilities & Best Practices


It’s the responsibility of every maintainer to provide the best possible Instant Answer experience for queries which your Instant Answer(s) triggers. Using high quality data sources and incorporating feedback from other communities seem to make for the best Instant Answers.

The best Instant Answers are the result of deep care for the topic being searched. You should maintain Instant Answers you really care about so that you are motivated to fix them if they break or improve them if something changes.

Handling Problems with Your Instant Answers

Issues should be addressed in a timely manner, if even to say something akin to, “the feedback has been received and considered!” People appreciate a timely response.

If there are severe issues impacting the ability of your Instant Answer to deliver a private, reliable, and/or useful experience, then they should be handled immediately or the maintainer should seek help from staff ([email protected]) or other community members. In rare cases, a Community Leader or staff member may need to step in and address a critical (High-Priority) update before receiving acknowledgement from the Maintainer. This should only happen in cases where waiting on the Maintainer would otherwise negatively impact the Instant Answer experience.


The DuckDuckHack community is packed with passionate contributors who like to improve DuckDuckGo’s Instant Answers. Not every contributor comes from the same background, speaks the same language, nor do they have the same skills. Whether you agree or disagree with a proposed change, a maintainer’s first priority is the quality of the Instant Answer.

We encourage openly discussing your considerations and decisions (e.g. within a proposed pull request, or within the forum so that other community members and staff can understand the context of decisions made around your Instant Answer, even long-after the thread is closed.

If you no longer want to maintain an Instant Answer or you are expecting to be inactive for long periods of time, that’s okay! We really appreciate the effort you’ve put in so far but please let the community know you’re leaving by opening an issue from that Instant Answer’s page on

Thank you again for your commitment. With your help, DuckDuckGo can show the world you don’t need to track to have jaw-dropping results for every search. You are making that possible right now, with this very effort.