Love is not enough. We need to discuss the relationship, darling!

December 18, 2005

GNOME Love is a wonderful and important initiative for GNOME Project. Having experienced developers helping people who want to get started contributing to GNOME is really great. GNOME Love Day should be happening more often…

IMHO, we could improve our relationship with the potential new contributors by “asking them” what are the main barriers they find on trying to contribute (documenting, translating, coding, testing, etc, etc, etc.). There could be a survey on this to raise more information about it.

I’ve been talking with some people who’d like contribute but just did’t get it and the reasons they give range from “I don’t know where to begin” to “The platform is too ‘complicated’ and it’s not well documented.” or “I’m not capable to contribute in such a big project.” and so on. This barriers can be psychological (self-esteem? unclear initial steps? project is too big?), social (community is not receptive? contributions not being considered?), technical (bad platform docs? gobject is too complicated? don’t know C programming?), cultural (don’t speak english? doesn’t have local group to share knowledge/information?), and so on (don’t consider these examples as real. they’re just random ideas).

By raising such information we could build better strategies for GNOME Love and other sub-projects. For example, if the cultural reasons are prominent, we could invest more on the creation of local groups. If platform is being perceived as ‘complicated’, we could invest on high level docs like tutorials about certain technologies. If there are too much contributions from new contributors that are not being considered, we really should check why this is happening.

I’m sure there lots of potential contributors reading this post that have lots of things to say about it!


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