Paul Biggar's blog archive

Helping New Contributors - Part 1 - Meta

There has been a lot of recent interest in helping new members of the community contribute to the Mozilla code base. A few of us met up during the All-hands, and have started doing “Coding Contributor Engagement”, in cahoots with the existing Contributor Engagement team.

The direct goal is to substantially increase the number of contributors to the Mozilla code base. In the short term, we’re looking at removing bottlenecks to bring in new contributors, ensuring that we aren’t making life hard for them, and avoiding losing them once they arrive. For example, we’re trying to fix small nuisances, write documentation aimed at new contributors (and improve existing docs), and create a mentoring system to help new contributors with their first steps.

An indirect goal is to also improve things for all contributors. Removing bottlenecks to contribution, for example by improving processes and documentation, helps everybody. By examining where we lose new contributors, we can learn how best to retain existing community members. By improving communication for newcomers, we help improve communication throughout the community. Finally, we want to ensure that information and resources available to employees of Mozilla Corp are available to all contributors. These goals are shared by most of Mozilla, many people across the community already work on this, and we’ve already had great support in this area.

I’m putting out a series of posts over the next few days discussing specific short-term actions that everyone can help with. First, here’s the meta-information around what we’re [1] doing:

[1] “we” in this context means anyone who will help, so “we” really intend this to mean “you”.