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Get new contributors (and diversity) through outreach

Real Name of Submitter: 
Asheesh Laroia
Short Bio: 

Asheesh loves growing camaraderie among geeks. He chaired the Johns Hopkins Association for Computing Machinery and taught Python classes at Noisebridge, San Francisco’s hackerspace. He realizes that most of the work that makes projects successful is hidden underneath the surface.

He has volunteered his technical skills for the UN in Uganda, the EFF, and Students for Free Culture, and is a Developer in Debian. Today, he lives in Somerville, MA, working on and

Talk Abstract: 

Programs like Google Summer of Code often provide excited students who disappear after a summer's work. Meanwhile, request for help emails on development lists are frequently met with silence. Hackathons create a flurry of commits, but then we never hear from the participants again. Expanding your team is possible, and it requires care in terms of outreach, expectation management, and mentorship.

In the past two years, projects have been experimenting with new strategies for gaining and retaining participants. Their lessons can be applied to your communities. We will cover:

* How the Fedora Design Team brings in new contributors who stay involved
* How changing the culture of the Debian-Mentors mailing list led to more package review
* How the San Francisco Ruby meetup grew in in numbers as well as in diversity, moving from 2% women to 18% in one year

By focusing on unusual, effective outreach strategies, the talk will leave you with practical tips you can use within your project. We will conclude with group questions and answers.

Target audience: anyone involved in an free software project who wants to find more contributors