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Building On-Ramps for Non-Code Contributors in Open Source

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Building On-Ramps for Non-Code Contributors in Open Source
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CC Attribution 3.0 Unported:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
Release Date2023

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“Contributions welcome!” We’ve all seen this standard disclosure across open source projects, whether they’re actively looking for contributors or not. We build working groups, backlogs and enhancement proposal processes designed to bring in developers to help us work on our project, and with any luck it succeeds. But supporting open source means supporting the entire project: documentation, community meetings, events and infrastructure. One of the most common questions smaller projects have is how to attract these non-code contributors, but there aren’t any easy answers out there. In this talk, experienced non-technical contributors in the Kubernetes and cloud native ecosystems go through some of the ways Kubernetes has built contributor on-ramps for non-code contributions, and how you can adapt them to your projects. The talk features practical examples of what to do to support the non-code aspects of your open source project and how to attract – and retain – contributors. This talk will cover the most common question we continually face in the cloud native community from non-k8s projects: how to attract non-technical contributors and get things done. This is clearly seen as a scalability issue for many OSS projects. We'll also share a bit about our individual stories: how we, two non-code contributors, got involved with the Kubernetes project and the challenges we faced. Next, what we know has worked: mentorship programs, pairing/shadowing, clear role documentation, easy to understand backlogs (good first issues), and other approaches we’ve seen that we haven’t applied personally. Finally, we'll cover why non-code contribution is both exciting and important, especially regarding governance and policy, plus how open source maintainers and companies with OSPOs can help non-code contributors get involved.