Are there any alternatives to applying for a full project on drupal.org?

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Create a project (module or theme) on Drupal.org details all the steps involved in creating a new contributed module. Part of these steps is about Applying for permission to create full projects. All this may take a veeeery loooong time ... Here is a quote from that (last) linked page:

Please note: there is currently a large backlog of projects waiting review. Projects that haven't completed the review bonus program can take up to a year to be reviewed.

Isn't there just 1 alternative for anybody interested in becoming a module maintainer?

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A possible alternative starts with investigating the existing contributed modules, and narrow them down to projects with a Maintenance Status that is either of those:

From the search results that you get, verify if there is anything that has a "namespace" (= the machine name of your module) that might fit (or is close enough) to what your (new) module is about.

Then request the module's ownership to be transferred, using these steps (in the specified order):

  1. Contact the module owner via their contact form on Drupal.org, to check if the module owner is interested in a transfer of the module's ownership.

  2. If the current owner indicates to agree with a transfer, or if after 2 weeks you have not received any response to step 1, then file an issue in the Drupal.org project ownership project (component = Ownership transfer), to request the "ownership to be transferred" (include relevant communication from step 1 to motivate your request). Issue # 2367923 is an example of such issue.

  3. Users authorized to handle the request from the previous step will try to contact the current module owner (if you didn't get a reply to step 1). After a grace period of (about) 2 weeks, the project's ownership will be changed to you (unless there was some type of feedback from the current owner to not do so).

  4. Adapt the module for which you became the new owner: writing new code for it, enhance it, expanded it, upgrade it, etc. But make sure to:

  • give credit to the previous owner somehow.
  • NOT destroy any (GIT) history of the old version of the module.
  • NOT use it to duplicate another module or use it to create a project that was rejected.
  1. After you became the new maintainer, you probably want to get started with things like:
  • triage of the module's issue queue.
  • update the module's project page.
  • review / update the list of supported releases.
  • look around for any existing module documentation, and make sure there is at least a "Read documentation" link on the module's project page (pointing to its README.txt, or to some community documentation page).

The above process works fine, though it takes a little time (a few weeks at max) to complete all the steps ... And it has the advantage (I think) that you contribute a very little bit to reduce the amount of abandonded-looking contributed modules.