Something to keep in mind for outreach…

Quote from last night in #gsoc:

<Ophiuchi> The insight that most people in open source didn’t get “allowed” to work on stuff but just didn’t run fast enough at the right moment seems to be rare.

It is a common theme there and also in Season of KDE and in fact any other such endeavor I’ve been a part of.

Whenever you do outreach for your project keep in mind that one of the biggest obstacles you will face is the fact that people think they are not allowed to work on your project. Let’s call it the allowed-trap. You are losing a lot of potentially excellent contributors to it. The reasons for it include:

  • thinking that they are not good enough to make a significant contribution
  • feeling that your project already has enough people working on it
  • thinking that their particular skills are not needed in your project
  • getting the impression that everyone is too busy to take care of a newbie

You can do something about that though: Whenever you see someone falling into the allowed-trap go and invite them personally. Tell them that they are indeed good enough. Tell them that their skills are indeed very much needed in your project. And if you are doing a general outreach event go and address people you want to attend personally and tell them they should take part. Helping someone realize that they are indeed “allowed” here will make their day and yours hopefully too.

PS: Less than a week left to apply for GSoC. Go and apply! You are indeed allowed to 😀

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One thought on “Something to keep in mind for outreach…”

  1. Lydia, thanks for this insight. I can’t emphasize this enough.

    Luckily for me, KDE was always welcoming. I became a translator for the Spanish team back in 2002 (in time for releasing KDE 2.2), and I’m still going on. Now I see that Free Software/Open Source projects need help, and usually welcome contributors of all skill levels, but back then it wasn’t so apparent. This need to be said, and fixed.

    With regards,

    Eduardo, from Asunción, Paraguay, South America
    member of KDE-ES

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