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The Invisible Traceback: blockers that make potential contributors drop out (and how to fix them) - originally presented at the 2009 Ontario Linux Festival.
Unix Philosophy #12, Rule of Repair: "When you must fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible." This applies to both code and culture; when someone gets stuck and hollers for help, they are helping their community find and fix a participation process bug. However, the new contributor on-ramp pipeline is particularly tricky to debug; potential participants often struggle in silence, giving you no indication of their presence, let alone why they were unable to begin working with your project community. We'll go over some common blockers that quietly prevent students (and other new contributors) from beginning to participate in open source, and how to fix them no matter who you are.
Beginners enthusiastically welcomed - this talk is for everyone who's ever wanted to contribute to open source as well as everyone who's ever wanted to help someone else get started. It took me over 6 years of banging my head against a solitary wall to figure out how to contribute back to open source (and it's been worth it); here's how to figure out (or help someone figure out) the same thing in 99.999% less time.