Brainstorming a Support Team Contributor Ladder

One of the things that will help with the long-term sustainability of the Support Team is to start getting more contributors involved at different levels.

Currently we have a situation where the Support Team is made up of a small number of Mods, and then we have a handful of contributors within the forums who answer a lot of threads, but are not really involved or aligned with the team in general.

I propose that we have a great opportunity to engage and connect with Contributors in the forums in such a way that we start building them towards greater involvement and impact within the Support ecosystem of The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. This in turn would create a funnel or pathway towards future Support Team membership.

Contributor Ladder

A Contributor Ladder is a process and tool (based on the 5 stages of volunteering) that many other Make teams have used to identify ways to involve contributors at any stage of experience, and help them ‘level up’ their involvement. It is a great way to think about how to get more people involved, but also what skills and experience Contributors would need to take on different tasks within the team.

Here’s a few examples of how other teams use a Contributor Ladder

Step 1: Identify tasks

The first thing to do is write out all the things that the Team (in our case, including the broader contributor base) does. This is my shortlist – but I’d love to hear of others we should consider:

  • Checking Pending queue, Spam queue, and Modwatch queue
  • Identifying and removing Spam
  • Answering questions in #forums
  • Handling the password reset queue
  • Taking part in fortnightly team meetings
  • Answering questions in the general forums
  • Discussing and providing input on decisions
  • Supporting end engaging other contributors
  • Strategy and planning

Step 2: Match to the 5 stages of volunteering

The next thing is to assign those different activities to the stages of volunteering. At this step we can also identify why training/experience is needed in order for a Contributor to achieve a certain level, and how we acknowledge them.

Here’s my rough first attempt here:
Table displaying details of the Support Team Contributor Ladder

Let’s discuss and workshop?

I propose that we spend 10-15 minutes going over this brainstorm/process in our next team meeting on April 11th as a helpful step towards better understanding the work of the team and how to plan for the future.