A contribution a day

Last year, I (again) watched various post-every-day efforts with a lot of hope and interest and (again) utterly failed to live up to them. Still, I like the idea of daily or weekly discipline, and while I know I won’t blog every day or even every week, I figure I can try to do something to contribute, however small:

In your tech community 1

  • Answer someone’s question in IRC or the forums
  • Write a really good bug report
  • Comment (intelligently!) on a trac ticket
  • Participate (don’t just lurk) in a team meeting
  • Review a theme
  • Document
  • Submit a patch
  • Release a free plugin
  • Release a free theme
  • Post your work-in-progress in public. Even if it’s not ready for release, even if it’s just a gist sketching out an idea in pseudocode, it may help someone else. Plus, sufficient eyes, all bugs shallow, yadda yadda.
  • Write a blog post with the intent to inform or debate. As opposed to, say, posting cute pictures of teh kittehs. You can count those as a bonus, if super-cute.

In the outside world:

  • Next time the call to fix your parents’ computers comes in, do it in a way that teaches them to be one small step more self-sufficient the next time.2
  • Volunteer your tech skills for a non-profit in your real-world community.
  • Teach kids to make robots, write code, build games, or just tinker.
  • Give a presentation. Start with your local BarCamp if you’re not yet the kind of rockstar who gets flown around the world to talk.
  • Join a local meetup. Present at a meeting. Help organize a hackathon, pair-programming day, or codefest, and help someone less experienced there.
  • Check out Random Hacks of Kindness or a similar geeking-for-global-good organization.

Obviously, these aren’t all one-day ideas, and you don’t have to check off every box on the list. But I think it’s worth making a habit of contributing time, skills, and knowledge. It makes the universe a shinier, spiffier place. So who’s in?

UPDATE: To start out, I’m tracking things on this page. Better and less manual  developments to come.

  1. As always, my examples are mostly WordPress because that’s where I hang out. But most of this, or something very similar, also applies to whatever your project of choice.
  2. Teaching technology is HARD. I used to make a living at it, and it’s miles easier to just grab something and fix it than to help the user understand what to do themselves. It’s also incredibly rewarding. Try it sometime.