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EventsWhat it means to contribute to WordPress

Introduction to YITH contributing to WordPress - written by Ronald Gijsel

For many years the team at YITH have supported the WordPress project in many different ways. Contributing can be done in many ways but often requires personal dedication, passion and lots of time. I often look at the list of contributors when a new WordPress release comes out to see how many I recognise. But it takes a much bigger community effort to keep the WP-ecosystem going. Talking to my colleagues, I realised that there is a lot of passion for WordPress in the company and I wanted to highlight some of the tireless contributing efforts the team has made in previous years. In my eyes, every person who has contributed deserves some recognition no matter how small your effort has been.

I asked Ausilia Arrigo why she thinks contributing is so important?

“Because it's a way to make it grow and the better the software the better everyone can use it, whether it is companies or users that use it for free, really WordPress is for everyone!”

Apart from Ausilia, who is one of the customer support agents I surveyed the whole team on their efforts and views on contributing to WordPress.

One thing became immediately apparent, which is the amount of experience the team at YITH has - not just as YITH developers making plugins but also how much the team has used WordPress as free and open-source software for their own projects.

The team at YITH is very experienced and not just as YITH developers. Combined, we know WordPress for over a century :-)
WordPress is 16 years old and has evolved quite a bit and can be used for more than just a blogging platform.

WordPress Contributor Days

WordPress is open source software and without this great platform, YITH would have been a very different company if it wasn’t for the community. Every member of the team has a great passion for WordPress and contributing is vital to keep the project going from strength to strength. Out of 28 members, 17 have attended one or more contributing days and 11 have also contributed in a different way, either through plugin development, translations, support on the forum or submitting patches to WordPress and WooComemrce.

There are so many interesting topics to tackle during a contributor day; it is always a self-improvement process, and a really interesting experience  Antonio La Rocca - Developer

Contributor days are the easiest way to get involved in supporting the WordPress community. Most of the contributor days happen either a day before or after a WordCamp conference. Depending on the size and the number of attendees, you will find several 'tables' that specialise in tackling one of the many subjects. There is often a misconception that in order to contribute you need to be a seasoned developer. This is most certainly not the case. 10 members regularly support translations of themes and plugins, upload videos to WordPress TV, support user questions or even add patches to WordPress core.

Team members contributing

Other contributions

There are many more ways to help WordPressers. The team regularly help users on their own platform as well as on the general WordPress forum and various Facebook groups, including Advance WooCommerce, WordPress plugin suggestions, and many more local ones. It doesn't really matter how and where you help someone, as long as your knowledge makes someone richer, you have achieved something great.

Contribute without feeling constrained. Contributing means sharing one's experience. - Giuseppe Madaudo

Still, the best way to help is to share knowledge in any way or shape. Whether it is your colleague or meetup.

WordPress is a big project and a big reality. We all should contribute to it to give WordPress what WordPress gives us every day.  Francesco - Developer

Out of 28-strong team, YITH has contributed in the following ways...

WordCamp Sponsorship

The company sponsors many WordCamps with most of them being attended by staff from YITH. The CEO alone, Nando Pappalardo, has attended more than 40 WordCamps. The company makes sure that everyone gets the opportunity to attend WordCamps. At least 20 of the team attend WordCamp regularly as a sponsor with some exceeding 10+ WordCamps ranging from Bristol UK to Nashville, USA and WCEU. As the company is mainly based in Italy and Spain, there is not one WordCamp in these countries that have not seen one of the iconic YITH t-shirts.

 

WCEU 2019 Berlin - T-shirts madness
WCEU 2019 Berlin - T-shirts madness


When asked why you enjoy attending WordCamps, Nando Pappalardo the CEO of YITH mentioned the common language that all attendees speak. “
For the energy and the wonderful people that can be known and to spend two days with people who speak your same "language".

Ausilia Arrigo noted the energy she gets out of attending WordCamps “WordCamps are a burst of energy, every time I attend one, I'm more motivated about using and learning more about WordPress and all the new possibilities it offers and that I can then apply to my job on a daily basis. Also, it's the best occasion for networking and meeting WordPress lovers both on a national level and from around the world when it comes with bigger events like the WCEUs. 

I'd like to note that YITH has sponsored over 50 WordCamps and it is never about the cost and returns on investment. This article is not about a number or amount that has been invested, but more because of the sponsorship, thousands of attendees have managed to buy affordable and accessible tickets to attend a WordCamp. Obviously, it is important that YITH builds up a good reputation, but that is done through the quality of the plugins and not by the amount of money spent on sponsorship. As much that it is important to meet new customers it is just as important to meet existing ones. We enjoy hearing about their projects or even discuss solutions to new ones.

Organising WordCamps and Meetups is just as important as coding to make WordPress...

WordCamp Organising and Volunteering

You could argue that the biggest sacrifice in someone's time is to organise a WordCamp. Amongst the team, there are no fewer than 5 that have, or are, organising a WordCamp. WordCamp Catania being the greatest beneficiary of this wealth of WordCamp experience as three are on the organising team for this year's edition (Francesco Grasso, Giuseppe Madaudo and Emanuela Castorina). See this Twitter post where Giuseppe and Francesco pose with one of the founders of WordPress during WordCamp Europe in Berlin.

Appena tornati dal @WCEurope di #Berlino carichi carichi e pieni di idee.

 

Speaking at a WordCamp is not an easy thing either. It takes quite a bit of preparation and not to speak about overcoming the nerves that many experiences, especially the first time. Seven of the team members have spoken at a WordCamp with talks ranging from plugin development, running a WordPress business to managing WooCommerce stores and SEO. I remember clearly that a good idea for talk is only the beginning. Preparing a full 30-minute talk, creating slides and the practicing of the talk can easily run into many days of prep.

Speaking at a WordCamp

WordPress Meetups

Apart from WordCamps pretty much the whole of the team attend regular meetups. For example, 9 attend the WordPress Catania Meetup and at least half are involved in organising, speaking or volunteering in some other way. Meetups are great to get involved with local WordPressers including business owners, developers, users, front end developers, copywriters and designers. Many WordPressers work alone and Meetups offer a way to interact with people that have the same passion as you. Even if the talks are not your forte, very often there is something you can pick from it anyway. Or as Alberto Ruggiero noted: “because it's a great occasion to network with other people and to learn something new each time”

"It is important to make the WordPress ecosystem known to local communities, together we can grow” - Giuseppe Madaudo - Customer Support Manager

Meetups are the next step in a local community and often the local Meetups will take the lead in organising local WordCamps. This is also the case for WordCamp Catania which will be held in September.

I love the networking about WP and non-WP things. During each meetup, I've had the occasion to meet new friends, learn interesting things, meet skilled professionals when they are attending. I am aware of having helped someone approach the web and WordPress - Francesco Grasso - Developer, Meetup and WordCamp Organiser

Ten tips from the Team

Here are ten tips from the team that will convince you if you are under any doubt about getting started with contributing to WordPress.

  1. No matter your level; all of us can share knowledge - Fernando Garcia Rebolledo
  2. WordPress is not mine, WordPress is not yours ... WordPress belongs to everyone - Andrea Grillo
  3. to be happy - Emanuela Castorina
  4. don't be afraid to give your contribution, even the smallest help can make the difference - Alberto Ruggiero
  5. Don't be afraid of not being adequate or skilled. You can contribute in many ways, even just by sharing your experiences. - Francesco Grasso
  6. There are many different areas of contribution, that fits any preparation and skill set; just find the topic that suits you most, and share some love with the community - Antonio La Rocca
  7. I suggest you have no fear, everyone can do something about this great open source project - Nando Pappalardo
  8. It would seem obvious, but we've at our disposal a free CMS we can use it to save a lot of time for our projects and to realize powerful and extensible websites easily. So, this could be a nice reason to contribute to WordPress, since the contribute you can do now, you'll have back in future ;-) - Francesco
  9. WordPress is a very large community, where you learn all, show your skills and help - Kevin Plasencia Trujillo
  10. Just turn up at a contribution day. Someone will make sure you know what you are doing and before you realize you have contributed to WordPress. How cool is that? - Ronald Gijsel

Conclusion

I hope by reading this article you will appreciate that YITH is a company that takes WordPress as an open-source project very seriously. Also, the responsibility of being part of the community is something that is paramount to the YITH and every team member.

YITH is just one of many companies that exist in the way it is today thanks to every individual’s effort towards the WordPress eco-system. We, therefore, hope that the community will continue to grow to contribute and just love WordPress.

I like the WP community, meet new interesting people (from any discipline, technical or not) and share opinions and knowledge with everyone - Fernando Puente - Developer

I believe that every WordCamp has something unique to give to its community and I am hoping to attend many more as well as contributor days in the foreseeable future. If you like to find out where some from the team will be next, then please take a look at the upcoming events…

Until then… ‘happy contributing’

Team YITH contributing to WordPress