Open source software has changed my life and the world around me. It has provided for me and for my employees and their families. I love to contribute. I believe that Unix/Linux with 67.8% and WordPress with 25.8% share has set an example by leading the world wide web, and have made open sourcing no longer optional, not even for companies like Apple. According to Andy Lester:
Unfortunately, many people are daunted by what they imagine is a high barrier to entry into a project. I commonly hear people say that they’d love to contribute but can’t because of three reasons:
Unfortunately, many people are daunted by what they imagine is a high barrier to entry into an open source project. I commonly hear people say that they’d love to contribute but can’t because of three reasons:
- “I’m not a very good programmer.”
- “I don’t have much time to put into it.”
- “I don’t know what project to work on.”
There are three core principles to remember as you look for opportunities to contribute:
- Projects need contributions from everyone of all skills and levels of expertise.
- The smallest of contributions is still more than none.
- The best project to start working on is one that you use already.
The most damaging idea that I’ve observed among open source newbies is that to contribute to open source, you have to be some sort of genius programmer. This is not true. Certainly, there are those in the open source world who are seen as rock stars, and they may certainly be genius programmers. However, the vast majority of us are not. We’re just people who get stuff done. Sometimes we do a little, and sometimes we do a lot. Sometimes it’s programming, and sometimes it’s not.
I have had been involved with WordPress for about more than 10 years now. Last year I became a core contributor and I wrote about my commitment to WordPress. To be honest, I have fallen for the open source philosophy because of WordPress and the community around it. It has helped me envision collaboration over the competition. Which is why I keep finding ways to give back and help improve WordPress.
First Global WordPress Contribution Weekend#
This weekend is the first global contributor drive i.e. January 30-31, 2016, and I want you to be involved!
The idea is simple, we are going to contribute our time to help answer at least 20 questions in the WordPress support forums. I have gathered more than ten WordPress developers with me, some of us are going to be in the same coffee shop for this contribution activity while others will be joining us online. Interested? Read below to learn how to participate.
Happening: January 30-31, 2016
Welcome to the 20 Questions Challenge, our support teams’s first global contributor weekend! The goal of this weekend challenge is to make it easy for anyone to become a volunteer contributor to the WordPress.org support team, which includes the support forums at wordpress.org/support and the #wordpress IRC channel on irc.freenode.net. For the sake of simplicity, the 20 Questions Challenge this weekend will be specifically in the WordPress.org support forums, not in IRC (though we welcome help there, too!).
If you are able to provide the correct solution/suggestion for 20 questions over the course of the weekend, that would be amazing, but there is no minimum commitment — even answering a questions or two to get your feet wet is a helpful contribution! We will tally the results of this weekend contributor drive both individually and per local meetup group, so getting together with some other folks to work on support questions together is a great way to participate and have fun.
Here’s what you’ll need to participate:
- A WordPress.org account. Log in at wordpress.org/support. If you don’t already have an account there, create one.
- A WordPress.org Slack account. If you are not already on it, join the WordPress.org Slack instance for contributors. This is the group chat room application we use for all WordPress contributor teams, and is where the support team will be available to answer questions if you get stuck. It’s also where the action will be reported as we periodically tally how many questions have been answered over the weekend.
- An internet-connected device, of course. ? Computers and tablets work equally well. You can also participate using a mobile phone, but there may be some overlap issues with the display.
Here’s what to do when you are ready to start the 20 Questions challenge:
- Add yourself to the tracking spreadsheet. Pick an empty row and enter your name, wordpress.org username, slack username, and location. If you belong to a local WordPress meetup, also enter the URL of your group’s meetup site (this is how we’ll track which groups had the most participants). If you are not on this spreadsheet, we won’t have a way to credit you for your participation, so this first!
- Join the #forums channel at https://wordpress.slack.com/messages/forums/ and introduce yourself to the support team to let them know you are getting started.
- Open the forum rules and the support handbook in a tab so you’ll have quick access to the main reference for helping in the forums. It also contains replies (we call them predefs, short for predefined replies) to the questions that get asked most often so you can copy/paste to save time when it’s appropriate.
- Open the support forums at https://wordpress.org/support/ and find a support request that you can answer. Answer it, and add the tag 20Q2016 using the Tags widget in the right hand column. This tag is how our support team volunteers will be able to check answers and give you credit for correct responses over the course of the weekend, so make sure you use the tag! Subscribe to the post so you can follow up if there is a reply from the original poster.
- Pick another question, and keep going. See if you can answer 20 questions!
How will we assess your answer?
- If the user replies with success or marks the thread as Resolved, your answer is correct!
- If it’s an answer any support team member would have given, your answer is correct!
- If your answer is incorrect, don’t worry, you might find a support team member stopping by with a different answer and some helpful information. In this case, your answer won’t count toward your final tally, but you will have learned something new, which is one of the most valuable things that happens when you contribute to the forums. We all learned most of what we know thanks to the mistakes we’ve made.
Who’s running this show?
There are often a number of volunteers in the #forums channel on Slack (as mentioned above, you’ll need to create an account to interact there) who can help if you are trying to solve a problem for someone and have hit a troubleshooting wall, but we have lined up some volunteers for specific times for the challenge to try and have a wide coverage that weekend:
What counts as “the weekend” for this thing?
On January 30, we’re covered from 2am UTC through midnight. On January 31, we’re covered from midnight through 1am February 1. If you participate outside these hours, as long as it is January 30-31 in your time zone, your support responses will be counted. After we’ve caught up with checking all the responses that have come in from the end of the challenge, we’ll tally it all up, and we’ll post the results here on our team blog. The results will also be published to meetup groups in the February email from the community team, and in a post on wordpress.org/news.
Here’s some advice from the support team:
- Don’t reply if you can’t help! Requests are filtered by “no-replies” to find those who need help — replying makes them harder to find.
- Check out https://codex.wordpress.org/Forum_Welcome and https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/especially the predefs.
- Not able to answer questions, but still want to help? Look for requests without tags and add them! This makes the topic easier to find for others with the same problem.
- See spam or someone being a jerk? Tag it “modlook” for a moderator to check it.
It’s really Global
The Support Team is bolstered by the various locale/language communities so if you’re looking into contributing in your own language or locale, look at our list of Support Forums in your own language page
Currently, we know that following communities are joining in the fun:
If your community is joining and is not listed, please simply drop in #forums or message @kenshino on Slack
Currently, we can only promise that the Support Team will be monitoring the English forums, but this is all about contributing to WordPress and helping others, so please feel free to help where you can!
I used WordPress Pakistan and it’s facebook group to gather these awesome folks who are going to be contributing. Most of them are WordPress developers, marketers, Super Admins, etc. We have also suggested a local meetup and some of us are going to meet in Bahria Town, Lahore for this contributor’s weekend tomorrow.
Names are mentioned in the order of comments at the post.
Ahmad Awais (me), Hamza Sheikh, Haroon Q. Raja, Maavuz Saif, Mohsin Habib, Usama Arshad, Khuldoon Hameed, Kashif Rafique, Athar Ahmed Nizamani, Malik Waqas, Rizwan, Munir Kamal, Yousuf Tafhim, Ali Majid, Babar Ameen, Naik M, Zubair Amin, Ashar Irfan and Amjad Ali so far.
If you are up for it, comment below and I will include you in the list. Let’s give back!
We Contributed Answers 164 Support Tickets#
I managed to contribute 23 tickets and along with awesome folks from the local WP-Pakistan community we all managed to answer 164 support tickets. That’s almost 5.5 pages of support threads (30 on one page).
We manage it all in a Google spreadsheet and at a local WordPress meetup event. I would like to thank Mohsin Habib, Maavuz Saif, Munir Kamal, Khuldoon Hameed, Hamza Sheikh, Malik Waqas, Kashif Rafique, Zubair Amin, Yousuf Tafhim, Athar Ahmed, M. Ashar Irfan, Usama Arshad, Haroon Q. Raja, and everyone involved in this activity.