Members of the WordPress community are often encouraged to contribute to the project. That makes plenty of sense. It is open source software and relies on both sponsored and volunteer contributors. It is what keeps things moving forward.
However, the idea may seem overwhelming. Even the technically minded may be concerned about it. And non-developers may wonder if they have anything to offer.
I doubted his contribution. I know how to write code. But I’m not an expert. Furthermore, I was skeptical about what I could add to WordPress. Lots of great people are already contributing.
Despite my uncertainty, I volunteered for the Contributors’ Day at WordCamp US 2023. I decided it would be a good starting point. Besides, it’s only a day. Any disasters would be temporary!
Here are some ideas and comments on how to participate. Is WordPress Contributor Day for you? Continue reading to find out.
There are many ways to contribute
There is a perception that developers are the biggest contributors to WordPress. And sure, the project could use expert programmers. But coding is only part of the story.
A great example is the Photos team. Members are responsible for, among other things, modifying submissions to the WordPress Photo Directory.
Or maybe you can help fellow WordPress users through the Support team. It includes answering questions on the project’s support forums. A working knowledge of WordPress will help. But you don’t need to know anything about code to submit.
There are also opportunities to help with marketing and community play. These are great options if you are a people person.
And we are only scratching the surface. Your skills may carry more than you think.
Team Leaders are there to Help You
I spent Contributor Day working with the Support and Documentation teams. I thought these teams were a good fit, given my background.
But there were challenges. Part of my task is to update the block editor documentation. Some articles were out of date and needed to be refreshed.
It sounds simple, right? Not enough. There are processes to follow that I did not have. I spent a few minutes staring blankly at my screen.
Thankfully there were some great team leaders on hand. In my case, Milana Cap was extremely kind and patient. She walked me through every step and was always happy to answer questions. Oh, I had a lot of questions.
The point is that you are not flying blind. Experienced staff are there to guide you. So, it’s okay if you don’t know everything. No one expects you to be perfect.
For me, progress was slow. I made a few changes to an article. Were they good enough to publish? The storyteller likes the weather!
You will feel a sense of community
Stakeholder Days are held at WordCamps around the world. Therefore, attendance may vary based on the size of the event. In the case of WordCamp US, there were hundreds of people.
There was a real sense of community among the attendees. Even a grumpy introvert like myself couldn’t help but notice.
I talked to people I knew from previous WordCamps. But I also met participants from far and wide. And there were many participants for the first time.
And the biggest surprise was that I was not the only neophyte. There were some newbies on the Documentation team table I sat on. We all faced similar challenges while upgrading.
That was comforting. One of my biggest concerns was being behind the curve. I didn’t want to slow everyone else down.
Interestingly, the new contributor orientation said to expect things to go slowly. That statement did wonders for my stress levels. From there, I was able to relax and learn.
That wraps it up #WCUS Contributor’s Day, 2023! Thanks to everyone who joined us in making WordPress better. 🎉 We’ll see you bright and early tomorrow to kick off WordCamp US with opening remarks at 9am! Contributor Day photo @shuseitoda pic.twitter.com/4zbysEYfga
— WordCamp US 2023 (#WCUS) (@WordCampUS) August 24, 2023
Other Things Worth Noting
I couldn’t be everywhere at the same time. However, I made a few general comments about WordPress Contributor Day. I hope they help you understand the whole experience.
There are no Sales Parks
I was grateful that Contributor Day didn’t turn into a sales pitch. You know, the kind you want to make a long-term commitment to.
My experience was nothing like that. Attendees were free to move from team to team. And the teams I worked with were helpful and fun.
I felt no pressure to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. That’s a rare thing in the world we live in.
There Are Some Very Dedicated Contributors
How has WordPress been successful for over 20 years? Its many participants are a big cause.
I saw some very passionate people at their best. They knew how to do things. But they were still welcoming new people.
Some contributors are paid to be there. But I didn’t notice anyone treating their work like another job. I saw enthusiasm everywhere I went.
WordPress Contributor Day is worth your time
If you’re attending a WordCamp that includes a Contributor Day, consider giving it a try. Learning opportunities are everywhere. Not to mention the opportunity to meet amazing people.
I found the experience to be positive. And I got a different perspective on how contribution works.
It takes a lot of coordination and dedication to keep WordPress going strong. There are many unsung heroes who help make it happen.
Most importantly, know that your skills are valued. There is a place for you to contribute – regardless of your expertise.
This was my first WordPress Contributor Day. But it won’t be my last.