This is a really good question Ben! The "were ready" part of the question is funny because I don't think I ever felt I was ready? I (and everyone else on the project, and probably a lot of other open source projects) didn't really have previous knowledge about compilers or ES6. It was mostly an interest in the project and it's vision that got me involved and staying involved. I don't think there are any hard qualifications to do it.. after Sebastian got burned out he gave me and some others access to the repo/publish rights and I was like woah I guess we have to just figure it out? I had never published my own npm package before or explored much of the codebase, but slowly (sometimes really slowly) you get used to it. Sometimes you have to kind of ignore the fact everyone is using it and complaining and all that, else yeah you might get depressed on the burden that's involved. I could probably write a lot for this question 😂 since I feel like I'm just rambling now.
I speak a bit on this in one of the talks I did: maybe
I basically thought that I realized I became a maintainer like maybe a year after I was already doing the role and all that? I remember Kent saying that if you want to be a maintainer of a project, just act and do the things that maintainers do. Of course that is a difficult thing to know, but you learn as you go. There aren't really a list of things to do (I wish someone would just tell me), but you just have to find out the things a project needs and what you are willing/wanting to commit to.
Dan had a good answer on this twitter.com/dan_abramov/status/787...