What it means to contribute
If you’re a new open source contributor, the process can be intimidating.
What if you don’t know how to code? What if something goes wrong?
Not to worry! There are all sorts of ways to get involved with an open source project, and a few tips will help you get the most out of your experience.
You don’t have to contribute code
A common misconception about contributing to open source is that you need to contribute code.
In fact, it’s often the other parts of a project that are most neglected or overlooked.
You’ll do the project a huge favor by offering to pitch in with the following types of contributions:
Do you like to design?
- Restructure layouts to improve the project’s usability
- Conduct user research to reorganize and refine the project’s navigation or menus
- Put together a style guide to help the project have a consistent visual design
- Create art for t-shirts or a new logo 🙂
Do you like to write?
- Write and improve the project’s documentation
- Curate a folder of examples showing how the project is used
- Start a newsletter for the project, or curate highlights from the mailing list
- Write or video tutorials for the project, like this
- Write a translation for the project’s documentation
Do you like organizing?
- A forum branch to organize the project is on it’s way
- Suggest how to organize the forum branches
- Link to duplicate issues, and suggest new issue labels, to keep things organized
- Go through open issues and suggest closing old ones
- Ask clarifying questions on recently opened issues to move the discussion forward
Do you like to automate?
- Find an open issue to tackle
- Ask if you can help write a new feature
- Automate project setup
- Improve tooling and testing
Do you like helping people?
- Answer questions about the project
- Answer questions for people on open issues
- Help moderate the discussion boards or conversation channels
Do you like helping others code?
- Review code/feature/automation on other people’s submissions
- Write tutorials for how a project can be used
- Offer to mentor another contributor
Open Source is a community effort.
Clearly, open source is more than just code.
Successful open source projects include code and documentation contributions together with conversations about these changes.
Offering a place for people to report problems, ask questions, and suggest fixes or improvements are also a core part of any project’s success.
some content is based on github.com/github/opensource.guide used under the CC-BY-4.0 license.