If you're an avid open-source user who would love to help advance a project, there's a lot you can contribute whether you can program or not:

Provide constructive feedback, file bug reports, improve the documentation or help out maintaining the web & social media presence. Spread the word and recommend the projects you love to others (btw, I run Arch 😂)

Say "thank you" and tell developers to "keep up the great work". That form of contribution means a lot more than you could possibly imagine.

@fribbledom Speaking from direct and very recent experience -- By the same token, the open source maintainers must be willing to work with contributors. If someone's working on documentation, you should be ready to constructively review and give feedback on said documentation in a timely manner. If a contributor requests a review, please don't put it off.

@fribbledom It is terribly off-putting to have a contributor work hard at something, only to never hear from the contributors again (despite them being active on their preferred communication channel with other projects).

Seriously. If you can't get to something, *acknowledge* and *thank* the contributor, but be honest: "Hey, I'm trying to solve a deadline, but I'll try to review your PR in XYZ weeks" or something like that.

No joke -- this stuff works both ways.

@fribbledom If you find you are burdened with PRs from contributors, then I'd suggest taking the "optimistic merging" approach that 0MQ developers have adopted, where everyone has commit privileges to trunk/master by default.

@fribbledom Sorry, correction:

It is terribly off-putting to have a contributor work hard at something, only to never hear from the *maintainers* again ...

@deutrino @fribbledom Not just Mastodon, a *lot* of (non-)FOSS projects suffer from this. So much so that it has utterly turned me off from contributing to any FOSS projects other than my own.

Projects (both FOSS and not) where I've been burned include: nMigen, Firefox, GoboLinux, whiskey, AROS, my entire set of projects while working at Rackspace, and more I can't remember.

Projects where I felt I've been a valued contributor: AmigaDE and my work at Electriq Power. *TWO* projects.

Not sure how this relates. My pull requests were not denied, they simply are in indefinite limbo. If my pull requests were flat out denied, I'd be just as satisfied.

@vertigo @fribbledom

i guess a key for me there is icecrime's point about PR's being submitter's pets, but maibtainer's cattle

@deejoe @fribbledom I can definitely see that. I'm glad to have re-read it. I got a very wrong initial impression upon first reading, but after re-examining the article, I can't find anything I disagree with. :)


to be fair, I may be reading it into it more than it explicitly says


I have a worse experience, months of fighting my case on a pr for a big project, maintainership changed twice for that part, eventually gave up after explaining the purpose multiple times, then ignored for several months. Nov 2017 until now, and last month it got a milestone tag!

@fribbledom For sure. Though I do wish I had invested some of my skill points in programming back in the day. I'd love to be making art apps now. So I settle for tinkering with brush engines, haha.

@fribbledom yessss: it's very nice when you report some issue and the developer responds with ideas and questions, where you know you will make a difference. Yes it's work but it feels great!

My last great experience was gsconnect, the gnome shell plugin for KDE connect, the, I might dare to say, hottest code for linUX desktops latelt :D

@fribbledom @vertigo @deutrino @deejoe @iMartyn Do any of you know accessible ressources about managing or contributing to small to mid-sized FLOSS projects, or better yet communities where people discuss these topics? I'd like to work in that area and mentor people who want to become contributors …

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