Recently I gave a presentation to the WordPress DC meetup group on ways to contribute to the WordPress community without writing a line of code. There were two parts to this presentation. I presented a list of nine ways to contribute and 18 reasons why people contribute.
Plenty of posts point out the code contributions of the developers of WordPress, I thought I would point out some ways that you contribute that don’t involve writing a line of code, along with some reasons why. All of the examples come from people who contribute to WordPress.
By Helping to translate WordPress, you are making it possible for people around the world to publish their thoughts. I think this is one of the harder ways to contribute, because it requires you know multiple languages well, and it requires that you can at least read PHP. It is a great thing to do if you are just learning PHP though, because you will become a better coder by reading other people’s code.
Writing documentation makes it quicker and easier for others to use WordPress. Documentation comes in multiple forms. The Codex, Inline Documentation, and tutorials on your own site are all great ways to contribute documentation. If you wanted to know how to do something, couldn’t find the information (or couldn’t grok the information you found), and then figured out how to do it, write it down so that others know how.
Often times the answer is as simple as asking someone the right questions or pointing them to the right article. Other times you will learn more about WordPress just by helping someone else learn. Either way, you are working to directly help SOMEONE solve an issue they are facing.
The WordPress theme review team makes sure that themes that are added to the WordPress Theme Repository aren’t “doing it wrong”. They make sure the WordPress theme guidelines are followed so that you have some idea of the quality of the theme you download.
The UI group works to give WordPress the UI that is one of the reasons for its popularity. Are you a designer who wants to help make WordPress better to use? This is a great way for you to give back. The team mocks up improvements to the user interface, Experiment with improvements, and make things beautiful and useable.
“Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” This is Linus’s Law and is one of the reasons that Open Source Software is as successful as it is. This is as easy as having a second version of WordPress and using the WordPress Beta Tester Plugin. Watch the WordPress News Blog for the announcement of a beta, and then update using that plugin. This shouldn’t be done on your regular production site (yes, I recommend that so much that I said it twice). Make sure your theme works, make sure your plugins work. Hell, make sure writing posts still work. By testing the beta and the released candidates, you make it so the final released version is the most polished it possibly can be.
Those are just some of the ways you can contribute that don’t involve writing any code. What other ways have you found to contribute to the WordPress community?