A few days back I was talking with a friend about her apprehensions of participation in a community translation project. She wanted to contribute and had completed the mandatory subscriptions to the mailing-lists etc. But the natural fear that grabs a person when stepping into a new group is not easy to overcome. During the conversation we came up with what we now refer to as the “5Ls”. These are:
Lets take a look at each one:
#1 LOOK: If you have arrived then look around. See what goes on in the community and how it works.
#2 LURK: Yep..lurking is accepted to some extent. So instead of rushing into things, wait for sometime and keep yours eyes and ears open.
#3 LISTEN: Listen into the conversation that goes on in the community. Most of it will be conducted in mailing-lists or chat-channels or maybe even in meets. It is definitely a good idea to get the drift of how people talk and what are the accepted ways of conversing.
#4 LOCATE: Try to identify the important things like the rules, accepted norms, people, various documentation, wikis etc
#5 LEARN: Gather as much information as a newbie can possibly do. Often in larger groups people prefer the newbies to look around the various documents etc. that have been put up for them instead of letting loose a barrage of queries. It might be a good idea to appreciate the effort that went into creating those introductory material and go through them. Besides these, the #1-#4 should also help in familiarising you with the group.
It is also considered polite to send in a small introduction of yourself to the mailing-list, along with the areas of your interest in the group where you would like to contribute.
That is very much it. I guess. And as the Linuxchix motto goes “Be Polite, Be Helpful“.
Btw…if there’s anything that we missed out in that list..we’d love to hear abt it.