Google Adwords - not sure if off-topic

Matthew Jadud mjadud at
Sun Apr 18 22:34:38 UTC 2010

On Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 16:05, Robyn Bergeron <robyn.bergeron at> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 11:12 AM, inode0 <inode0 at> wrote:
>> On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM, Nelson Marques <07721 at> wrote:
>>> On Fri, 2010-04-16 at 18:05 -0500, inode0 wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 5:46 PM, Nelson Marques <07721 at> wrote:

> One of the things we talked about as part of the Marketing Plan for
> F14 and beyond was "Building on-ramps" - i.e. creating ways for
> contributors to get involved, and one of those ways was "EasyFix" -
> things that can be easily done by a newcomer, without having a huge
> barrier to contribution.

Hi Robyn,

I'm not in a position to start talking about this now, but I'd like to
continue this conversation over the summer. Specifically, I'm
interested in using 20 of my students next term to help with the "on
boarding" procedures for one or more projects. Over the course of the
summer, it would be nice to identify one or more teams that are
interested in this kind of collaboration, and after F14 have the
students start diving in and providing ideas and reflection regarding
barriers to entry and ways to make things easier for the beginner.

> * Have a list of EasyFix items available for someone to work on. These
> could include things like:
>     ** editing something off a list of wiki pages for content / grammar
>     ** making wiki redirects for things like "Fedora_13_Artwork"
> point to "F13_Artwork"
>     ** for more advanced users / coder types - a list of fonts to package
>     ** for artist types - help us make a new banner for X
>     ** for those who aren't shy - Want to interview some other Fedora
> contributors on video (or help film, etc) about why they are involved
> in Fedora and what they do?
>     ** Bug zapping - specific items
>     ** Help us install Fedora on this batch of donated machines for
> $localschool.
>     ** Help us test this list of things that need to get tested on $newwebpage.
>     ** etc.

These are a pretty good list. That said, one of the things we've
discovered this term is that getting Fedora running is actually very
difficult for most people. We found lots of machines that wouldn't
boot Live CDs, and more that wouldn't run the Live CD under
VirtualBox. As a result, many students found it difficult to "just
dive in."

This is only a problem in that using Fedora and open tools is a
pre-req for most everything you list above, as is proficiency with the
tools of the community. For people from the marketing or art world,
the native tools of this community are not native tools by any

> ongoing contributors, or maybe 2 or 3, or possibly none.  It would
> definitely be an experiment.  I think it's worth trying - it wouldn't
> take much effort to pass out a piece of paper with the CD or random
> swag and say, oh hey, if you're interested in contributing....

I think there's a lot of merit to the idea. Certainly, I'd like to get
a local LUG or two to join my students next term if we do something
like that, so that the two "communities" (the 1st-year students and
the LUG members) could spend time learning what it means to work with
experts/novices who want to be involved/help (and visa versa).

I will say, drawing from inode0's next message:

"I think the purpose of a FAD is to identify work that needs to be
done that can only get done or can get done faster by meeting face to
face. Identify who needs to be there to get the work done (this really
normally means current contributors with special skills) and get them
in the same place to focus on getting that work done."

Really, the best way to get new contributors is to provide them with a
real-world, face-to-face contact who will ground them/anchor them in
the community. If you can't use F2F meetings like FADs to do this, it
isn't clear to me where you do it. As a result, you will only ever get
more sysadmins joining the project, and not artists.

Now, if you invite the local art school to send over 30 of its
designers, send them all home with T-shirts, get them doing some
collaborative design with members of the core community, and then
provide them all with contacts they can reach out to if they decide
they want to get more involved... well, that starts to sound like a
way to build community. If a FAD can't support that kind of outreach,
what can/does? If the answer is nothing, then you have your answer why
non-techies aren't coming in to join the party... the world of open
source is largely invisible (taking place only on email and IRC), and
once there, it is a overwhelming and, too often, hostile place for the


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