What do Open Source Maintainers want you to know about contributing to Open Source projects?

Focus

Pick a small number of Open Source communities to be a part of and make a real contribution. That’s way better than joining a lot of communities and not helping.

Read the documentation

Maintainers are doing their best to build documentation to make it easier to be an effective Contributor from the start. A quick way to earn trust is to read that documentation before asking a question. Maintainers are so busy that it is much better for them to work on things that help the many, not the one- and documentation is a great example.

Learn in public

Learning in public means asking your questions to many people rather than one, privately.

Pick a community that is welcoming to new Contributors

Some Communities are better set up for newcomers. If you are just getting started, it makes a lot more sense to start with a community that is prepared to help you have a great experience.

If you are contributing code, create small pull requests

Each version control system (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket) uses different terminology for code reviews. For example, in GitHub, coders create a pull request once their code is ready for review. They may also identify one or more people to review the code, or a manager could select people to serve as code reviewers, or anyone can volunteer.

Remember there are more ways to help than just coding or code reviewing

I know when I started getting involved in Open Source, I thought it was only about contributing code.

Just make sure you are actually helping

There are many reasons you might choose to help with an Open Source community- for learning, for career advancement, to give back. Any of those reasons, and others, are good ones.

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