Annual Report 2021: Attracting new contributors to LibreOffice
Bringing new community members on board, and helping them to get started in the LibreOffice community, is an essential part of our work. Here’s what we did in 2021…
(This is part of The Document Foundation’s Annual Report for 2021 – we’ll post the full version here soon.)
Onboarding tools and sites
Joining a large and established project like LibreOffice can be daunting for many. The software has a large codebase, and sub-projects use a wide array of tools. In recent years, we’ve made efforts to simplify the onboarding process by linking more services together with SSO (single sign-on), thereby reducing some of the complexity. In addition, we’ve created Easy Hacks and similar “bite size” projects in other areas, so that newcomers can get involved quickly and achieve something without months of work.
Currently, we have two websites/pages that function as starting points for new contributors: What Can I Do For LibreOffice and the Get Involved page. The former was set up by LibreOffice’s Albanian community, and lets users click through topics of interest, until they find something they want to do. The latter is a regular page, with a list of sub-projects inside LibreOffice, and quick steps to make initial contact.
Throughout 2021, we posted regular “Community Member Monday” interviews on this blog. In many cases, we emphasised how these contributors started off as regular LibreOffice users, but wanted to “scratch an itch” and start to make changes to the software. We highlighted the ways in which other community members helped newcomers to start working on projects, and used these as “success stories” on our social media accounts, encouraging others to make the step-up from being a user to an active contributor.
In addition, we have accounts and projects listed on various volunteering platforms, including VolunteerMatch and Idealist (English), Vostel (German), Vapaaehtoistyo (Finnish), TuDu (Polish) and HeroClan, Um sem um tam and Zapojim se (Czech).
LibreOffice New Generation
In early 2021, we announced LibreOffice New Generation, a project to bring new – and especially younger – people into the LibreOffice community. While The Document Foundation is proud that our community is diverse and has people from all ages, younger people help to bring fresh ideas and approaches to the project. So we wanted to make it easier for everyone to join, get involved and have fun – regardless of age.
To achieve this, we set up the New Generation project with communication channels, contact points in the community, and initial ideas for things to work on. The community grew quickly, with 300 members arriving in the Telegram group within the space of a few weeks, and many ideas being proposed. One was to create a distinctive flyer that can be distributed in schools and universities, which not only explains what LibreOffice does, but how all users can also get involved and help to improve the software. New Generation community members created an initial design for the flyer, along with an update, and then translated it into several languages. TDF used funds from its marketing budget to get flyers printed and distributed to people around the globe.
We also continued to issue Open Badges, special, custom images with embedded metadata, confirming contributions from people in the community. For instance, we sent our personalised badges to French translators of the Math Guide, along with Brazilian Portuguese documentation team members and Czech documentation contributors.
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