On my way back from Berlin I started thinking about how to give people a hand who would like to get involved with KDE community. Not those who want to contribute code but those others like me who would be glad to help somewhere but who might be a bit more shy. *cough*
Here’s what I came up with.
Something that could be done on the developer’s side would be some sort of To-Do-List on the projects website. I don’t think of those merely general tasks of what needs to be done but clear tasks. That makes it so much easier to choose something that fits my personal skills and interests. This would also work via the lists, but people will have to join the list first. Who actually reads all the archives without searching for something special?
On the other hand, joining a mailing list isn’t such a big deal. I have never been shy but mailing-lists might seem to be a close circle. So… anyone thinking about having a closer look should simply subscribe. There’s nothing dangerous or complicated about it. Anybody should know that subscribing to a mailing-list doesn’t imply that you are visible to everybody until you write something. I have been reading at least one list for ages and I don’t think anybody has noticed yet. What do you have to lose then?
Another big thing is something that can be done by literally everybody: send the developer(s) of your favourite apps emails. Tell them what you like about their programm or simply say thanks for their work. Positive feedback is something largely undervaluated. Or tell them how you use their app – maybe you do something that nobody thought about before.
You might even ask them questions. Most developers like what they do, otherwise they wouldn’t sacrifice so much of their free time to it. If you ask your question politely nobody will come back to you with insults. At least nobody I have met so far.
What helped for me too was to meet Sebastian and Lydia face to face. It showed me that the impression I had of those KDE folks was true, that they are nice and really interested in my help and not arrogant at all.
And now: don’t be shy! We don’t bite!