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From Noah Slater <nsla...@apache.org>
Subject Attracting contributions
Date Wed, 02 Apr 2014 12:22:40 GMT
Hi folks,

We've not elected anybody to the committership since we started
incubation, as far as I can tell. Learning how to do this is a really
important part of incubation, so why don't we kick start the effort
now? :)

There are multiple parts to this:

1. Making the project attractive to potential contributors
2. Making it easy to start contributing
3. Recognising merit in people who do contribute
4. The formality of electing those people to the committership

Now, we've been working on (1) since we started incubating. It's the
rest we need to pay attention to now. But briefly, here are some
ideas:

- Have a nice website that clearly explains what the project does
- Have friendly, active mailing lists where people's questions are answered
- Put out regular releases and share the news of this around the web
- Start a project blog, or something similar, and communicate project news
- Set up a Twitter account, etc, and talk about the project a lot in
other places

This is, essentially, marketing activity. Which I know a lot of folks
have an allergic reaction to. But it's essential to getting the word
out. Which is your first step if you want to convert people into
contributors. :)

Okay, for step (2), there are lots things to do:

- Add a "starter" tag to your JIRA tickets, which means "this is ideal
for people who are just starting out with the code base". Document
this tag on the project homepage, and make it abundantly clear that
contribution is welcome!
- Add "easy", "medium", and "hard" tags. These serve a similar function.
- Get the GitHub integration set up and functioning as a first class
contribution method. Document this on the website. Make the top level
files in our repository "GitHub friendly" (i.e. they display nicely on
GitHub)
- Add documentation. Lots of it. Start with a CONTRIBUTING.md file at
the root of the repository, and make it very very easy to get started
- Consider having weekly or monthly Google Hangouts, or webcasts, or
write blog posts about specific modules or parts of the code
- Keep a keen eye out for anyone on the lists who looks like they
*might* be interested in contributing and gently prod them in the
right direction. Be friendly, encouraging, and thankful

Step (3) is starting to get more process oriented, but basically:

- Look at people opening tickets, creating pull requests, answering
questions on the mailing lists, submitting patches, etc. Set up some
sort of weekly or monthly reminder for yourself or the whole PMC to do
this
- Remind yourself that code is not the only way to contribute. We're
interested in attracting any sort of help. Be that with code,
documentation, project organisation, community management, marketing,
QA, tests, ticket triage, user support, etc
- As soon as you spot a likely candidate, bring it up on the private@ list

Step (4) is easy, and I can guide you though that when the time comes.

Thanks,

-- 
Noah Slater
https://twitter.com/nslater

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