Joining an Open-source Community

Explore the motivations of our community members and create something wonderful together.

Reading time
3 min
Published on

January 15, 2024

Blauw Films

Many creatives and developers want to join an open-source community, to build relationships or to accelerate developments on their projects.
That's great!

But it's important to understand that open-source communities are exactly that- a community.
They have their own culture and guidelines and for newcomers to effectively join, there are a few do's and don'ts that apply.

Open-source communities are not about forcing quick developments. It's about building piece by piece and finding solutions in a collaborative way.
If you're making a large drawing with a group, you wouldn't hijack all the pens just to scribble your own art all over it.
Be mindful of others, and respect other people's ideas, methods and approaches.

When a fresh community member enters the group, they are often filled with energy and ideas, and more often than not, might criticise 'old' ideas.
Although there isn't anything wrong with being critical and a little bit disruptive, we should never forget that collaboration is the most important.

Seasoned community members can help the new member to settle in, which could mean giving them the space to explore their ideas.
Tell them where to deposit their processes and how to fork topics. Let them run it out of their system, so to say.
True community members will see where their ideas are great and fitting, and where they are actually a little crazy.

Seasoned artists or developers entering the group might have their own quirks as well. As every community has their own culture, and people who come in with their personal pre-conceptions might experience a culture misfit.
For these people, it's important that the community can clearly communicate how certain processes are handled.
People who are stuck in their ways do not always fit within an open-source community, which usually strives on unconventional solutions and tools.

In an open-source community, everyone is equal. When a person enters the chat looking for a team of developers to provide solutions to their specific use-case, they can cause friction.
Like said earlier, it's not at all about hijacking all the pens and creating the artwork you envision for yourself.
People who enter the community with an attitude and a bag of cash, can best be toned down by finding out exactly what problem they are looking to solve with this community.
Often these people aren't planning to join the community long-term, they are just looking for a quick fix.
Whether these personal goals are at all feasible, is up for the community to decide.

Open-source communities are great for those who truly believe in the power of teamwork.
But with too much friction, it's hard to get anything done at all.

Teamwork makes the dream work.
Think about the community guidelines and culture, and we will all have a great time.

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