Ways to encourage developers to contribute to CP

Please list concrete, actionable ways we can encourage skilled developers to join our project and contribute.

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As recap, I started in the past few discussions and different points/suggestions about it:

Idea: who is doing what?
Blog Post Discussion: Getting Involved with CP
https://www.classicpress.net/blog/2019/04/04/what-is-missing-in-the-classicpress-project-that-you-could-contribute-to/

I will see if I have time to wrap up but anyway will be the same suggestion:

  • Every Team leader(s) do a list of task and priorities and look for contributors and ways to promote it better based on their needs

As I did for i18n (and found new localizers) and tried also with core but we have to discuss few things before trying again (like do docs as example https://classicpress.slack.com/files/UCFQJPU4Q/FFV8NM0TZ/How_to_backport_a_WordPress_changeset)

  • Remove from our wording the subtle hint that our value is inferior to WP, because it’s not. We don’t have a big user base just yet, but our CMS is no less than WP IMHO.
    Considering we are a new thing as a value and not a defect.
    How we word things matters, people make decisions on the feeling they get from our communication.
  • finding places where devs and coders hang out, and mention CP as much as possible. Be available to people and explain CP.
    Me I have started doing this on quora, for example. And even if it’s not a devs’ nest I got some questions on WP, answered them and mentioned I am on CP now, explaining why.
    I am not targeting people directly, but I am trying to do my best to interact in a positive manner.
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Well, not sure if it works for skilled devs, but… Let’s try to decompose the problem:

  1. Attract enthusiasts from external platforms (external action).
  2. Convert enthusiasts to contributors (internal action).

External part
There’s a small trick to get the relevant attention to a project for free. The goal is to create some artificial challenges in a manner of “a newbie asking for advice”. It might be a short code snippet with some errors, or a question describing a dev-specific problem. Even real tickets from fork issues if they are interesting. Those “baits” should be posted to any relevant platforms: Stackoverflow, WP forums etc. Each question should touch CP ecosystem. No spam or advertising, just mentioning it in context. To give an answer, people would refer to CP’s docs or Github, discover a project detailes etc. If the bait is interesting enougth there’s a good chance to attract some enthusiasts to dive deeper.

Acting from a “newbie” position provides great results. It lets people show their skills, knowledge and qualification. It generates enthusiasm. A good comfortable background for joining and contributing.

Internal part
People need a simple and obvious point of focus. It’s hard to make a first step when you join a totally new community. The “dev todo” on Github is a bit messy and overflowed for a first step. (By the way, same trouble as with CP download link: too many clicks, hidden. I’d offer to make a separate invitation page and represent it by large banners on “Get involved!”, docs section and everywhere else :).

Maybe there should be a separate “welcome” todo list containing a section with simple warm up tasks (15-60 minutes) organized in a common way (just a list, maybe the tasks filtered form Github by slug “good first issue” or something manual in Jira/Trello/Asana. The idea is to make a friendly sandbox-alike environment without dropping newbies right into a messy fight. Just to remove “neophyte syndrom” and frustration.

One more note about Github etc. WP used to be a favorite CMS for solo webmsters and freelansers for years. So there is a large group of users who are skilled in building custom themes and plugins, but have a lack of experience in collaborative development. Those people are the most promising volunteers. But they (we) need a small adoptation. Maybe a short guide or a video with 1 example of completing a random task, showing the whole process (not coding skills, but the procedure). It also helps when experienced community member tells about tools. agreements, best practicles. It may sound funny, but 1 example could be enougth to convert solo player to a contributor.

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Great response!

This is a really neat idea. You won’t get it onto WP forums but posting questions that need solving on places like Stackoverflow would certainly get the presence of CP “out there”

I agree with this too. I’ve had a look a few times at the dev todo list on Github but I just find it too daunting.

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Really great points, @norske.

This is exactly where I fall in… good at solo development, but, with gaps in terms of collaborative tools.

Yes, exactly this! We discussed this in today’s community meeting. I would consume this content…stat!

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@norske nailed down the issue really in detail. I was addressing more the “outside” part with my answer.

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