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Re: How to Increase Contributions from Volunteers

On 1/1/06, Joseph Michael Smidt <jsmidt@byu.edu> wrote:

> 1.)All people psychologically want to feel important and that they are an official
> part of an organization.  I feel there should be an official title for all contributers
> so they feel like they are part of the community, not just a pion until they get official
> developer status.  I feel the the title should be something like "Debian Contributer"

I had suggested something very much what you are suggesting here (only
that I asked for voting rights as well) about a year and a half ago.

After discussing this with a _lot_ of people, I came to accept that
this is not going to happen, or at least, it's not going to happen
from the top-down point of view that you are suggesting. i.e. the
Debian Project as itself is not going to add new categories of
memberships, nor do any special work for contributors to have more

Yet, if *you* are really interested in getting more people involved in
Debian, you can help do it, but you'll have to do it bottom-down.

You suggest that people keep track of their contributions, everybody
can do that in their personal wiki page (yes, that's what Ubuntu does,
I don't know if it works or not).  You could encourage people to do
that.  It's not too hard, it's mainly adding links to other Debian
sites, and I guess it could be quite useful.

Most people that come close to Debian want to "help" but they don't
know where to help or how to help.  Maybe identifying possible areas
where they can put their efforts and put that up in a wiki-page could
be nice.  Like, explain the different teams there are (d-i, gnome,
etc)  the ways of communication of each team and who to contact if
wanting to help, or a mini-howto (with links to all the info there is
out there) on approaching the BTS and finding and fixing a bug.

So, rounding it up, if you have ideas as to how to get more people to
help Debian, your best course of action is to _go do it_.  Create a
wiki page, blog or get someone to blog about it on Planet, etc.  No
one is going to do it for you, but if you do it and are successful at
it (even if successful means only a small number of new contributors),
then it might start getting bigger.

I hope this is not discouraging, but rather encouraging. Really.


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