In case you’re really pressed for time and can’t stick around for the full article today, here’s the bottom line:
The WordPress community is an incredibly smart and vibrant group of people. If you’ve benefited in any way, it’s time to start giving back. You may even get more back in return. It’s a circle of love, really.
Got a minute? I’ll tell you more. But first…
How I Met WordPress: A Background Story
Not long ago I was slinging coffee at Starbucks (another amazing community). I worked for a fantastic mentor/manager, Brian Shannon, who, like me, came from a technology background.
Over a cup of pre-sunrise coffee one day, we discussed a web dev project on my horizon. That’s when Brian introduced me to WordPress. WordWhat, I said? WordPress. He and his business partner, Rudy Lopes, had been working with WordPress for a couple of years and sang its praises as a development platform.
For the next year, Brian and Rudy evangelized me in the ways of WordPress. I got my toes wet by migrating my old blog to WordPress.com. Eventually I launched my first WordPress site. Now, less than two years later, I make my living with WordPress.
Looking back, that morning was a Damascus Road moment in my career. (Hrm, I should probably send Brian flowers or buy him a beer.) Moving on…
The Learning Journey
When I started with WordPress, I wrote terrible code. (I’m actually still capable of terrible code, but it’s getting better). I’d see something I wanted to do on a site and then figure out how to make it work.
I asked lots of questions in forums.
I read lots of blog posts by more experienced WordPress users.
I wore out every tutorial I could find.
And I learned. I learned because a bunch of passionate people – the WordPress community – generously created and shared an avalanche of resources. Why would they do that? Maybe some for money or nerd fame (which is fine), but most just for the fun of it.
Who doesn’t want to be a part of that community?
Joomla users, that’s who.
The Giving Back Part
Unless you’re a first-rate curmudgeon, you can identify with the desire to give back to a community that’s helped or inspired you. After all, the collective contribution is what makes the WordPress community so successful. We can’t be takers all the time.
But where to start? I’ll be honest – it’s intimidating, especially if you don’t feel like you have much to offer. Andrea Rennick encouraged me with a little push off the diving board (thanks, Andrea!). I’m hoping I can do the same for you.
Everyone knows the answer to something. Share your knowledge. – Siobhan McKeown
Siobhan, of quote fame above, is a power force behind WordPress documentation and passionate promoter of WordPress community. In a recent presentation at WordPress London she outlined the following ways people can get involved with WordPress:
Different ways to be a WordPress Contributor:
- Developer (Core, Documentation, Plugins, Mobile Tech)
- Designer (User Interface, Mobile Design, Theme Review)
- Writer (Codex Updates, Handbooks, Inline Dashboard Help, Doc Springs)
- Linguist (WordPress Translation, Document Translation, MultiLingual Support)
- Teacher (Teaching, Support)
- Organizer (WordCamp, Meetups)
See? Something for everyone there! She also wrote another article giving some advice for beginners in the WordPress community. That girl is full of good stuff.
It’s Your Turn to Make Impact
Were you hoping I’d end this post here, without asking you to do anything? Too bad. I’m about to ask.
It’s not very often that something you do in an afternoon can touch so many folks, but WordPress is one of those places where you can. And for people who care about that, there’s nothing better. – Matt Mullenweg
If you’re still here reading, you’re WordCurious. And if you’re WordCurious, it’s time to become a WordPress Contributor! It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t even require commitment. All I’m saying is do one thing. Just one thing!
Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Answer a question in a forum (could be for WordPress.org, your favorite theme, or a plugin you like).
- Find a local meetup and go. Shake hands with other WP enthusiasts and participate.
- Donate $5 to the author of a free plugin that you really, really like.
You Can Do Eet
I’d like to offer you a final bit of inspiration.
What do you think? Let’s start a discussion below.
25 thoughts on “Dive In. Be a WordPress Contributor!”
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Hey Carrie !
Do you think having a blog to share code snippets and how-to’s for Genesis is good? There seems to be a lot around already, and i feel a bit overwhelmed by it especially as i’m not good at writing.
But i could just share everything i use and do with Genesis and WordPress, not full articles, but sort of like my own documentation and code.
Have you played with Github at all? It’s a great way to share code bits without the tutorial part. If writing’s not your thing, don’t stress out about it. Stick to sharing the things you’re most comfortable with. Any WordPress Meetups in your city? If not, you could try starting one. 🙂
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Carrie, do you know how I’d get started in contributing to the Genesis core? I know where to go for the WordPress core, but is there a similar place for Genesis?
We encourage each of you to become involved with the community, and assist in the community forums. We review the Genesis Community periodically to select developers and core contributors. While becoming involved in the community is not a guarantee of being invited to participate as a contributor or developer, that is where we have found our current contributors.
Thanks for your interest in contributing!
I’ve been posting to the WP forums for years here and there. I’ve paid for a few free plugins. I don’t think that makes me an official contributor. But, I like doing it.
I’d say you’re contributing to the ecosystem!
When I read your post about becoming a WP contributor it inspired me to take a chance and start my own WP meetup. I posted the new group in my FB and it attracted 3 members already and one even rsvp’d for our first meeting which was tonight.
The reason for starting my own group is I wanted it to be closer. The closest WP meetup to me is 120 miles round-trip and I rsvp’d on a number of occasions but as life has it something always comes up causing me to cancel. The reason I want to go to a meetup is because I would like to interact with others who won’t illicit a deer in the head light look when I mention WP or politely say Gesundheit when I say WAPUU.
I’ve been using WP for a few years now and I feel confident enough that I could help strapped business owners or anyone else who would like to take a stab at building their own blog or website. So besides meeting fellow enthusiasts I want to put my skills to the test.
But as life has it, something came up tonight and my rsvp cancelled. We’ll see what happens next month.
That is AWESOME, Jack! Inevitably people will RSVP and cancel (or RSVP and just not show up), but keep at it and people will come. You’re right – it is so nice to have people that understand “geek speak.” Most of my friends get glazed eyes when I talk about work…