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Re: Question: proposals for users' participation

Tiago Saboga wrote:
I'm not a DD, and I've never before written to any debian-lists other than debian-user. I'm running debian on my home computer here in Brazil for a year and a half now,

Heh, "Long time user, first time poster", huh?

and I try to help debian when it's possible (translations for ddtd, bug reports). I'd like to hear from candidates what can (should) be made to encourage users active participation. I'd really like to support more effectively the project, but most of the time I feel my bug reports aren't precise enough (lack of knowledge), I can't code...

Hrm, I'm answering this as a "How will electing Anthony help users contribute?" question, rather than directly as the "How can user's contribute?" question it is. Apologies if that's obnoxious -- my excuse is the alternative would be off-topic :)

So, I think there's a few ways we can benefit from user's contributions.

One that I've tried to encourage in the past, and that's fortunately been taken up and followed through by the d-i team, is doing installation and upgrade reports to help out the release. We aren't doing as awesome a job as we could of collating those reports -- although thanks to the d-i guys we're doing a great job of soliciting and in many cases acting on them -- and if we could do that better, we could try extending ourselves to getting general "usage" reports as well. At the moment, "user feedback" is more or less limited to installation, upgrade, and bug reports, which are still pretty useful.

Another obvious way is donations -- having money to fly people to meetings and conferences, and occassionally pay for hardware is very useful. Another way is by using popcon, and providing demographic feedback on what software's useful to you, so we know how to focus our efforts. Both those are areas we could improve on too.

Users who're doing translations, or helping with docs, or writing HOWTOs, or doing icons or artwork or themes, or providing examples are also brilliant, though I'd be more inclined to call that contributing or developing than just being a user. The translation folks are, I think, setting the standard here; it might be possible to bring documentation work up to a similar level.

Being involved in LUGs and other user communities is also important and helpful -- that's how people tend to get involved in free software, and that's where new developers come from. There's not really a lot Debian can do there; although perhaps helping developers/contributors make themselves available to give talks or be around for meetings with user groups would be worth putting some effort and/or funds into.


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