How to Contribute to the Fediverse as a Non-Developer?

I’m just brainstorming some ways to contribute to the fediverse without being a developer:

  • Donate. To software projects and instance hosts.
  • Help translate projects.
  • Write articles and guides about the fediverse.
  • Ask your family and friends to join and share how you convinced them here.
  • Convince institutions, groups and influencers to join.
  • Ask your local newspaper to write an article about the fedi.
  • Design and print flyers, stickers, info-sheets, posters, …
  • Post interesting stuff and be kind to other fedizens.
  • Help moderate the fedi. Report harmful posts, users and instances to your instance moderators and to FediBlock.
  • Help make the fediverse a more diverse and safe place by educating yourself e.g. about racism. Further reading.
  • Host your own instance. Its really easy.

What else can you think of?

  • Don’t be shy to provide feedback to those who are developers. They really need your input wherever you can give it!
  • Dogfood the fediverse. Use it as much as you can, and let others know that you do (e.g. refer to it in your other channels).
  • You don’t need to be a developer to be a maintainer
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Some more:

  • Don’t be shy to provide feedback to those who are developers. They really need your input wherever you can give it!
  • Dogfood the fediverse. Use it as much as you can, and let others know that you do (e.g. refer to it in your other channels).
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Whats the best way to do that?
I’m not someone who can write good bug reports or feature requests in github or similar sites, but when posting about issues or feature wishes on forums you usually get directed to the issue tracker.
And I guess writing to the developers in the fediverse is not the best idea either.

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I deliberately mentioned “don’t be shy”, because raising your voice in whatever way is key. For non-technical people you don’t need to phrase eloquent feature requests. As fedizen you use the apps, they are create for you, and part of the task of the developer is to gather your input and act on it (given they align with project direction/objectives).

If you encounter a toot by a dev, e.g. announcing a new feature, then don’t hesitate to respond… “Can I also do this and that?”, or “You might add so and so to it”. Be kind and the devs will appreciate your participation. Also invoke their names i.e. “In @thisdev #theirproject I’d be great to see [this feature]” kind of toots, giving them the choice to jump in or not.

For more elaborate fedi discussions you can participate on SocialHub. There’s the Fediverse Futures category, for instance, that is less technical in orientation. And - related to that - there’s the Lemmy companion space Fediverse Futures is completely non-technical and dedicated to freely brainstorm about anything fedi-related.

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I agree with @aschrijver. Don’t be shy.
I have had lots of doubts too when I wrote my first bug reports and it can be discouraging when your issue is closed, marked as a duplicate or your post is edited to read something completely different.
But that’s just how that works and you shouldn’t get discouraged by that. Also you’ll get better at writing bug reports by doing it.

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I’d add that you don’t need to be a developer to be a maintainer. I’m actually looking for someone to help maintain a couple projects and I don’t expect them to code or even read code. Just to enforce some rules.

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Another example to follow-up on @weex comment:

The FedeProxy project has a need for various non-developer related tasks, like helping to spread their messages far and wide. They are doing very important work: Trying to interconnect Github, Gitlab, Gitea and other code forges on the Fediverse, so that it doesn’t matter where source code is hosted. Their project allows decentralized collaboration of open source projects across the fedi, and will help break the dominance of Github.

For instance they have a paid grant (5k Euro) to do a Diversity study, to help them build their open community. It does not require coding skills (but you do need to know how FOSS projects are managed). There is another grant proposal too. What is needed are people who can review and improve the texts i.e. editor / authoring skills.

If you find FedeProxy or similar projects important, I encourage to just join the community and announce: “I am non-technical, but how can I help”. There’s much to learn by doing so, and also for the techies, who often lack specific skills that you can bring to the table.

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The first thing i did was spreading it :joy::+1:

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Report problems. I feel like an idiot in the classical sense because this I feel this idea is so powerful, but so many things in this world would be better if everyone who ran into a bug or glitch, reported it. So get in those issue trackers, search for the problems you experienced and if you don’t find your issue, make one.

@aschrijver said it well that devs need your feedback. in Magic Stone we’d much rather work on things a real live person asked for than our grand(iose) designs!

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The barriers to participation for non-technical people are often (and understandably) rather high. Much higher than they should be, in any case. Like e.g. the discussion taking place on a tech-oriented platform like Github, where they must sign up, can be initimidating. The issues already made before are often full of highly technical nature.

And there’s the tension between tech folks and non-techies that can exist. Sometimes the maintainers are mired in deep technical problems they feel responsible for fixing. Even when they started the project as personal hobby, a workload and expectations start to mount on their shoulders. They may feel that requests show ‘unwarranted entitlement’ and either give lackluster response, or snubby ones. Many maintainers burn out after a while.

On the other hand those using the software may feel unheard, and the reaction of maintainers too authoritative and the devs overly privileged. Maybe big plans were discussed in the past which were the reason they installed the software, but they never come to fruition.

There are many factors to this tension. Some projects manage to avoid and have well-oiled processes. In others there exists a true chasm between core team and those using their work. We are at the start of launching an initiative - not yet publicly annnounced - to analyse this gap and find ways to improve for everyone involved:


social-coding-logo

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This!

Also, starting with existing people and organization we have connections to can have a big impact as well: Ask your favorite local Artists, Community, Blog to join the Fediverse.

You can use whatcms to figure out what platform they are using, and suggest they install a plugin if one exists, or if the software project has a presence on a public forge such as GitHub you can make a feature request.

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@paula in the second bullet point of the introductory post for this thread, the URL is broken.

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If it helps with point 3 (Write articles) I have put a copy of my article that was published in my local magazine thing on my blog at

https://personaljournal.ca/paulsutton/fediverse-rising

Due to be published on there on the 16th but you can read before hand.

Feel free to take that and re-spin as needed. if you do, and if possible please link to it in this thread and we can collate articles that we can all use.

Hope this helps

Paul

This looks interesting, thank you.

I have sent the link to myself as a reminder.

Paul

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