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NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • > 4. I will always be enthusiastic about new volunteers, no
    > matter howmany times I hear:
    >
    > "Hi, I'd like to volunteer."
    > "Great! What would you like to do?"
    > "I don't know."
    > "How about X?"
    > "I don't want to do *that*."
    >
    > Or:
    >
    > "Hi, I'd like to volunteer to do Y."
    > "Great!" 1 month later: "Hey, how's Y going?"
    >

    Indeed. If I had a volunteer for every time I'd heard that...

    Unfortunately, it seems a lot of the time that volunteers, when asking
    • > Reducing barriers to entry seems to help.

      What's seen as barriers? I'm not personally aware of, in the past 5ish years I've been working with TPF, that anyone volunteering to help has been turned away.

      > And jobs for which people can gain both notariety and beer seem to be particularly attractive to volunteers.

      There is no notariety. Not even inter-TPF White Camels! And, for all TPF-related things I've done and people and I have helped with, I have yet to get a beer for it (I did get traditional gift f
      • > What's seen as barriers? I'm not personally aware of, in the past 5ish years I've been working with TPF, that anyone volunteering to help has been turned away.

        It's true that I'm working with examples from technical projects here, but for one small example I've seen a tripling or better of small patches actually being applied to code since moving from SourceForge CVS to email-account based SVN.

        There's a couple of extra nigglies needed to get past the SourceForge permissions stuff, but even that was enough to see 2/3rds of potential contributors bail out early.

        I've pushed for people emailing or IRCing me patches to shove them into RT instead, and given them direct links to the reporting page and cut and paste to.

        This seems to result in better longer-term contribution levels, as down the line if someone else adds a note to that bug, there's a level of cross-fertilisation that occurs and I see some evidence that this creates more of a community and encourages the two to move forward more than they would have otherwise.

        If you look at some other fairly thankless jobs, such as testing other people's modules, or writing a Windows installer, both of these have seen increased participation once extra attention was brought to them. (Phalynx and the "metre of beer" thing).

        While these are technical examples, it does demonstrate that it is possible to take an unsexy area and make it more so, somehow. I get a sense that the answer is going to be different for each different case though, so I'm not sure how you might leverage this in the non-technical volunteering...