My first WordCamp Contributor Day experience was at WordCamp US (WCUS) 2018. I had no clue what to expect, or if I even had any right to be there. I’ve since learned this is a common feeling among first-timers. I showed up anyway, had a great time working with the Community Team, and somehow ended up being the co-organizer for the next WordCamp Contributor Day at WCUS 2019!
WCUS’ Contributor Day was held on the third day of this national WordPress conference, which took place in St. Louis, Missouri this year. In an effort to recruit more people to participate in WordCamp Contributor Day, we worked hard on education and awareness. This included publishing blog posts about the different teams and running workshops, which took place on the first two days of WCUS. These workshops were designed to demystify Contributor Day. You can watch videos from the workshops at WordPress.tv. We even had buttons made that say, “I make WordPress. Ask me how,” which experienced contributors wore throughout the weekend.
— WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) October 31, 2019
The best part about WordCamp Contributor Day is that anyone can participate. Yes, even you!
The WordPress project needs people of all skill levels and backgrounds to help move it forward. There are 18 official teams listed on Make.WordPress.org that you can contribute to, ranging from technical (Core, WP-CLI) to non-technical (Community, Polyglots). You can choose to contribute in an area that you are an expert in or use this opportunity as a way to learn a new skill.
Common ways to contribute include:
- feature improvements and bug fixes on core
- reviewing themes and plugins to be added to the general repositories
- answering questions in the support forums
Some less obvious ways to contribute include:
- writing or editing documentation, marketing collateral, release notes, etc.
- testing new features as a regular user
- creating and improving workshops and other materials for the user community to learn
- adding closed captioning to videos posted to WordPress.tv
- organizing a meetup in your area
— Andrea Middleton (@andmiddleton) November 3, 2019
Back to WCUS 2019 Contributor Day, we had a few hundred people participate this year and at least a third of them were first-timers. Everyone settled into the teams they wanted to help and got to work. We kept track of accomplishments throughout the day. Here are some highlights:
- onboarded new contributors to several teams
- translated all of WordPress 5.3 for Dutch
- started the first WCUS KidsCamp
- reviewed and edited various pieces of text content (handbooks, documentation, etc.)
- ensured all support topics had a reply (except for a few that came in during the day)
- closed issues and tickets on multiple teams
- edited videos
And, of course, the list goes on. See the complete list of what we contributed on this monumental WordCamp Contributor Day here.
Participating in WordCamp Contributor Day is like eating a potato chip.
At the end of the day, in addition to all the defined accomplishments listed, new friends were made and new regular contributors were born. Once bitten by the contributing bug, people often want to keep going. And the great thing is, they can!
Whether it’s becoming an active weekly member of one of the teams or finding a new way to enhance the community, I encourage everyone to contribute as often as possible, all year long. Not only will you be helping to shape the future of WordPress, you’ll find there’s personal and maybe professional growth as well, just from taking that first step and showing up, like I did.
If you’d like to get started, but don’t have a WordCamp Contributor Day happening soon nearby, you can learn more about the teams and find their meeting details at Make.Wordpress.org. I also invite you to ping me on Twitter to ask me any questions about contributing. You can join WebDevStudios for our monthly Five for the Future (a WordPress initiative designed to give back) contribution days, too!