WCEU 2020 – Leave no Contributor Behind

The organising team for Contributor Day at WordCamp Europe in June this year needs your help. The team would like to do two things:

  1. Increase the value that new attendees get from Contributor Day
  2. Increase the long term benefit to the WordPress project from onboarding new contributors

What’s the Problem We Are Trying to Solve?

Many teams see a good start first thing in the morning on Contributor Day, with an introduction and lots of enthusiasm. Sometimes this can tail off as new contributors get stuck, can’t find relevant tasks to get involved with, or can’t get help because experienced contributors have moved on to working on their own tasks.

Contributor Day presents huge potential but often the number of returning contributors isn’t as high as it could be. Although we don’t have numbers for this, that’s the feeling that experienced contributors have communicated in the past.

It would be great for the WordPress project to gain more regular contributors as a result of attending a Contributor Day.

Let’s Plan for Long Lasting Contribution

There are three aspects to improving the retention rate of new contributors on a Contributor Day:

  1. Better planning prior to the event
  2. Better support during the day for new contributors
  3. Better follow-ups in the days after the event

The organising team is planning to contact the team reps from each of the teams that make up WordPress and ask them to help facilitate this plan. WCEU Contributor Day is a great opportunity to do this at the team levels due to the high number of experienced contributors in attendance.

1. Better planning prior to the event

An example of a problem that can be reduced with some prior planning is the fact that all the “good first bugs” often get taken within a short period of time, leaving new contributors struggling to find tasks to work on. With a small amount of planning in the weeks prior to WCEU, it should be possible to get a higher number of good first tasks lined up and ready to be worked on by new contributors at Contributor Day.

Team reps

  1. Please ensure the content of your “Getting Started at a Contributor Day” handbook page is up to date (example from the Polyglots). This page should give an idea of what the team works on during Contributor Days. If you don’t have such a page, please create one. These links will be published on a specific page for attendees, so the sooner you can confirm you have it, the better. 
  2. To maximize the value for new contributors, please collate tasks that both new and existing contributors can work on during the day (for example your “good first tasks” list). This list needs to be fairly detailed and be published on the WCEU website a week prior to the event.
    Example of how the Community team does this:
    Call for ideas
    Plans for the day

2. Better support during the day for new contributors

Some teams run short introductory sessions on Contributor Day and it would be great to have more of these in 2020. This could be a session repeated a few times during the day to reach as many new contributors as possible.

Team reps

If your team needs it, can you plan an introductory session to help onboard new contributors to your team? It doesn’t need to be long, around 10 minutes with a few slides is ideal.

In addition, it would be great for existing contributors to help out new contributors who may get stuck or run out of tasks on the day. Identifying existing contributors who will be in attendance and happy to do this should make the day more valuable for everyone.

The WCEU 2020 contributing team wants to move away from having one or two team leads and instead having a team of experienced contributors functioning as mentors to help and guide new contributors.

3. Better follow-ups in the days after the event

During Contributor Day and the days immediately following it, the project sees contributions from new contributors that typically need some guidance. For example, patches that need testing and feedback, translations that need approval, or just a general check-in to see how a new contributor is getting on.

Team reps

In order to help maintain enthusiasm, it would be great to have a plan to ensure new contributors get feedback on their initial contributions. This takes different forms depending on the team, so please think about how you can support new contributors in the days after the event.

There will be a room available for use as a Contributing Area during the main WordCamp event. All teams are welcome to share this room in order to carry on contributing or helping out new contributors.

Thank You

Thank you for helping increase the value of WCEU Contributor Day for everyone!

If anyone (existing or new contributors) has any other ideas about making the event more valuable, please leave a comment.

The WCEU 2020 Contributing Team
Abha, Aleksandar, Francesca, John, Laetitia, Michael

#contributor-day