How to attract non-code contributions to your OSS projects


GitHub Meetup Event

Speaker: Logan Kilpatrick

Topic: How to attract non code contributions to your Open-Source project

Open Source is more than just code. An open source community can only thrive when non code contributions are made. This talk will go into the details around why your open source community needs non code contributors and how to attract these contributors.

Using the Julia Language and rOpenSci community as a case study, we will explore how a well formulated ecosystem contributing guide is a critical step to ensure you attract contributions.

Non code contributions also serve as the gateway to more technical contributions over time. This talk aims to lay the groundwork to not only grow your non-technical contributor community, but also how you can help those folks transition to code contributors over time.

Lastly, we will cover actionable first steps you should take to leverage the power of non code contributions in your open-source community.

About our speaker:
@logankilpatrick currently splits his time between a number of professional commitments he is passionate about. He is a full time the Community Manager for the Julia Programming Language, a Teaching Fellow for Harvard University’s Extension School course CSCI E-33A, and a technical course assistant for MIT’s Introduction to Computational Thinking Course. Additionally, Logan is on the Board of Directors at NumFOCUS.


Very much looking forward to this!


I decided to be part of this stream to grab some ideas for inviting more people to contribute in any way to GitHub - xmldom/xmldom: A pure JavaScript W3C standard-based (XML DOM Level 2 Core) `DOMParser` and `XMLSerializer` module. since one of the things that is missing is a contribution guide.
Any ideas or suggestions are welcome, you can get started in this discussion:
Contributions are welcome! How to encourage more? · Discussion #296 · xmldom/xmldom · GitHub

Thx for all the inspiring input.

1 Like

Thanks for your time today, @logankilpatrick .

We’re always looking for contributors to help build our community over at the OpenSearch project. There are lots of potential first issues for newcomers to take on, and of course in the spirit of an information rich environment, we also place value on non-code contributions. I’d love to have some help from everyone!


Hello everybody! :wave:
First off, thank you @logankilpatrick for the webinar! Good topic, slides and conversations.

I am Roni Äikäs, and I developing Ritta!
Ritta is an open source school and learning management system. We are trying to connect all systems used by schools to a single platform by either providing a custom implementation or a button to login to the service automatically. As an example these systems could be G Suite, Moodle, Active Directory, school book software and about anything schools want to use!
We are trying to modernize the current systems in use in finnish schools and bring more open source software to the public sector. Open source benefits everybody, and is proven to be more secure (Linus’ law for example).

We are using microservice architecture and NestJS (NodeJS, TypeScript) to implement the microservices itself. We are trying to adapt modern technologies so we can get best performance, features and security.

Our team currently consists of 3 developers and one UI designer. We are currently still implementing the core features as we recently changed to NestJS and are reworking the codebase. All contributions are welcome! Code, documentation, artwork, ideas, anything!
Even tweeting or telling your friends about the project would help a lot!

If you are interested in contributing, you can join our Discord server using this link and let’s talk more! (Please notice, the server is mostly in finnish, but I created #chat-en channel for you guys!).

Thank you!


From the title of this webinar, I was expecting something entirely different.

It turned out to be more about arguing a case that non-code contributor were useful & identifying types of non-code contributions. The title implied that this argument was unnecessary. We were past that cognitive jump.

The title implied there would be strategies (or tools!) shared for increasing those contributions.

As geeks, our tech skills tend to be sharper than our people skills. Fortunately, we understand ourselves well enough put out some stuff to motivate like-minded people. So we have a decent chance to attract more coders. Yet we don’t have those insights into motivating the personality types with the other skillsets.

Since GitHub is big enough to have staff working in these capacities. I was really hoping that some of their marketing types would help us design campaigns to attract contributors to grow from small (or starter) open source projects to the next stage. Or, in the case of our more mature project, revitalize growth in those areas.

I think the implicit assumption that I didn’t say in the talk is that there are people without those deep technical skills viewing your project. The key is to write out and identify the pathways for those to contribute. Give people permission to make those Non-code contributions, even if they don’t need it.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. And then once you have them identified, scream it from the roof tops. In the julia community, we started an initiative to get YouTube time stamps for our videos. A few tweets later and we’ve had hundreds of videos time stamped by people who might not even be deep members of the community because they saw an opportunity to contribute and jumped in.