Casual contribu­tors: who, why, and how
a talk by Ann Barcomb

Increasingly, people want to contribute to projects casually. A number of factors have driven this change, such as distributed revision control, social coding platforms, and the general trend towards “new volunteerism.” To take advantage of these contributions, communities need to adapt to the needs and expectations of casual contributors. Yet at the same time, no community wants to invest more effort in inviting casual contributions than it receives in return.

This talk will cover the benefits of incorporating casual participants, the factors that influence their return and practices for engaging them. The material is based on the body of scientific research, my own research and my personal experience both as a community manager for a non-profit and as an open source contributor.

This talk is suitable for both beginner and advanced Pythonistas.

Ann Barcomb

I am a PhD candidate researching managing episodic (casual) contributions in free/libre and open source software communities.

Before becoming a researcher, I worked as a community manager and as a software developer, and contributed to free software projects, mostly in the areas of conference organization, mailing list summaries, and speaking at conferences.

My research topic is a long-term interest and a passion, and I combine academic findings with personal experience.