Contribute to WordPress: Becoming a WP Contributor in 3 Steps

Leefke Krönke Last updated 17.07.2020
7 Min.
Contributing to WordPress
Last updated 17.07.2020

Contributing to WordPress is, as with many open source projects, an existential component for the further development and success of the popular content management system. Last but not least it is said on WordPress .org: “Contributing is the heartbeat of every community”. Today I'll show you how you can make a big contribution to the WP community with just a little effort.

Many WordPress users are not even aware of the fact that WordPress.org as an open source project is maintained and developed by thousands of volunteers worldwide. These voluntary supporters, who are involved in various ways in WordPress and thus make an important contribution to the overall project, are called WordPress contributors.

If you think that only selected people with certain skills are allowed to participate to WordPress, I can only say: far from it! The possible fields of activity are so broad that really everyone can find something to do his or her small individual part, even without any programming knowledge. But more on that in a moment.

Why join WordPress in the first place?

There are many reasons why contributing to WordPress is a great thing to do: through your efforts you can gain and share new knowledge, become an expert in a certain field, strengthen the community's cohesion and of course meet new business partners and friends from the WP community. 

WordPress is now used by over 30 percent of the top websites worldwide. So your contribution, no matter how small it may feel, can have an impact on 30 percent of the Internet – If that's not an incentive! 😉

But no matter what your personal motivation is for contributing to WordPress - in the end, what counts is that you are doing something for the benefit of the community. After all, the hard (and above all, unpaid) work of the many contributors ultimately contributes to your ability to continue working with WordPress .

For this reason, we would like to encourage you with this article to help shape the future of WordPress and contribute something to the open source project.

RAIDBOXES  Contributor Day
Through activities such as regular RAIDBOXES Contributor Days, WordCamp sessions, volunteering and co-organizing local WordCamps, we want to make our contribution to the WP community.

In his blog post "Five for the Future", WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg appeals to WP companies to make about five percent of their resources available for collaboration at WordPress :

"I think a good rule of thumb that will scale with the community as it continues to grow is that organizations that want to grow the WordPress pie (and not just their piece of it) should dedicate 5% of their people to working on something to do with core - be it development, documentation, security, support forums, theme reviews, training, testing, translation or whatever it might be that helps move WordPress mission forward."

Matt Mullenweg

#1 Contributing to WordPress: Find your niche

If you go to WordPress .org you will see the item "Get Involved" in the menu bar at the top. There you will find all the areas and teams you can get involved in. These currently include: Core, Themes, Plugins, Design, Mobile, Support, Documentation, Community, TV, Accessibility, Polyglots, Meta, Training, Test, Marketing, CLI, Hosting and Tide.

To write something about each of the 18 teams would unfortunately go beyond the scope of this article. For this reason I will focus on those areas where you can make a valuable contribution even without programming knowledge.

Support

If you have been working with WordPress for a while, you have probably already acquired valuable knowledge that you can pass on to other WP users. For this purpose the WordPress support forums are especially good for this, since the questions posted there are answered by volunteer supporters. Even if you only answer simple questions at first, you are already making an important contribution to the community!

Before you start answering questions, it is best to first read the manual for WordPress supporters first.

Documentation

WordPress is constantly evolving and there are always new features or innovations that need to be documented. As a member of the documentation team, you can, for example, help to improve the WordPress manuals, the codex, etc. and create new documentation.

Contribute to WordPress: Becoming a WP Contributor in 3 Steps

Community

WordPress has a strong community that hosts regular events around the world. These range from small local meetings (so-called WordPress Meetups) to 2-day international conferences, such as WordCamp Europe. You can attend WordCamps not only as a participant, but also as a sponsor, volunteer, speaker or as part of the organizing team.

The WordCamp Europe 2019 will take placeJune 20 to 22 in Berlin - the perfectn Berlin - a perfect opportunity to get to know the european WP community and make international contacts at the same time. Our report from the WordCamp Retreat Soltau gives you a little insight into how a WordCamp can work. The retreat format "WordCamp in the countryside" had a (very successful!) premiere in Soltau and will hopefully be repeated next year. But before I go into raptures about WordCamps, let's get back to the contributing 😉 .

TV

Most WordCamp talks are recorded to be made available later to anyone interested. Until they are published on WordPress TV there are still some steps to be taken, for which volunteers are needed. After all, the footage must not only be recorded, but also moderated, edited and, if necessary, post-edited. Once a video is published on WordPress TV, you can also help with transcribing or translating the session.

By supporting the TV team, you contribute to making the latest WordPress knowledge available to as many people as possible.

How to transcribe or translate videos for WordPress TV is explained in the following video:

Click the button below to download the content from videopress.com.

Load content

PGlmcmFtZSBsb2FkaW5nPSJsYXp5IiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vdmlkZW9wcmVzcy5jb20vZW1iZWQvQWhSb280UjgiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj0iYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuIiB3aWR0aD0iNTYwIiBoZWlnaHQ9IjMxNSIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==

Polyglots

The Polyglots team is working on making WordPress available not only in English, but in as many languages as possible. If you know another language besides English and German, you are in good hands with the Polyglots. But even if you can "only" translate into european , there's plenty to do - countless Plugins and Themes are not yet available in German and therefore not usable for everyone.

At Polyglots manual you will learn step by step how to start with the translations in WordPress .

Accessibility

The Accessibility Team makes sure that WordPress itself and the content on WordPress .org are equally accessible to all people. This refers, for example, to WordPress users who are physically limited. Currently the accessibility team is working for example on the accessibility of the new Gutenberg-Editor.

In the Accessibility section, you can test new features or versions for accessibility, write documentation or check themes with the accessibility tag, even without programming knowledge. Furthermore, it is already helpful if you create awareness for this important topic through blog posts or sessions.

"Contrary to what some people think we're not all techies, and we feel that everyone who is connected with accessibility has something useful to contribute." - – WordPress Accessibility Handbook

WordPress -Education

Of course, you can also contribute to WordPress without being a member of an official WP team: For example, by writing about general WordPress topics in your blog, sharing your WordPress knowledge at workshops, speaking at events or simply telling your friends and acquaintances about WordPress . This way you can help even more people get to know, understand and love our favorite CMS.

#2 Contributing to WordPress: The technical framework

Now that I've introduced you to a few areas, it's time for the basic "technical requirements". But don't worry, this is just about the tools you need to communicate with other contributors.

Step 1: Create an WordPress.org account

If you want to contribute to WordPress , the first thing you should do is create a Account on WordPress .org account. Think about a good username, because you can't change it later.

For your contributions in the respective areas you get profile badgeswhich are awarded by the respective teams. The example of Morten Rand-Hendriksen shows how the profile of an active WordPress contributor can look like (no pressure! ;)).

WordPress.org sample profile
This is how the WordPress .orgprofile of an active WP contributor.

Step 2: Join the international WP-Slack group

The most important communication channel in the entire WordPress community is Slack . The messaging tool is used to coordinate the various teams, hold meetings, plan WordCamps and make joint decisions. Slack makes it possible for anyone around the world with Internet access to participate and have a say in WordPress .

After you have logged in to WordPress .org go to make. wordpress.org /chat. There you can enter your email address under "joining the WordPress team on Slack ".

Tip 

For Slack , use the same username that you used for your WordPress .orgaccount, so that people can identify you better.

After you register for the international WordPress -Slack community, your Slack email [your username on WP.org]@chat.wordpress.org. This is important in case you forget your password.

Now you can browse the different areas and topics in Slack under "Channels" and participate in meetings and discussions. You can find the name of the Slack channel for a specific workspace and the time of the meetings on the corresponding teamsite at WordPress .org.

Contribute to WordPress: Becoming a WP Contributor in 3 Steps
All the information you need for contributing can be found at the WordPress .org-site of the respective core team.

Step 3: Join the German WordPress -Slack group

If you want to get involved in the German-speaking WordPress community, you should also register in the German Slack group "DE - WordPress ". You can find a european step-by-step guide on how to do this here.

For example, if you register as a volunteer at a WordCamp in Germany, a separate channel will be opened so that all volunteers can exchange information and discuss the schedule before the event.

Of course, the european Slack community is also an ideal place to meet people with the same interests and to make new contacts. If you search for #meetup in the channel list, you will find WordPress -interested people in your area.

WP Slack Community

#3 Contributing to WordPress: Learning by doing

Now you know the different areas you can get involved in, even if you don't have programming skills, and you know how to get in touch with the different teams. If you're still a bit shy and don't want to jump right into the action, feel free to read about a few teams that interest you in the Slack channels first. This way you will find out what is currently being worked on and where your help might be needed.

Once you have decided on an area, I recommend that you attend the regular Slack meetings and simply ask if you have any questions. No one will expect you to already know the contributing processes, especially since they differ from team to team.

Now there's only one step left: get started! Because as with many things, "learning by doing" is also the order of the day when it comes to contributing.

Contribute to WordPress: Becoming a WP Contributor in 3 Steps

Final thoughts

I hope I've been able to show you that there are so many areas in WordPress that you can get involved in. It might take a while until you find your passion and "your" WordPress team, but that's not a bad thing. After all, you can still learn a lot and find out your strengths if you try out several areas.

And who knows, maybe you'll even stop in the future - like Birgit Olzem or Carole Olinger - you might even give a WordCamp talk about how you became an active member of the WordPress community. In this sense: Happy Contributing! 🙂

As Head of Content Marketing, Leefke always has the RAIDBOXES magazine "wp unboxed", the newsletter & the social media channels in her sights. That's why she always knows the latest developments in the WP community. Unfortunately she is rarely to be found in Münster nowadays. But Hamburg is said to be rather nice too.

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