I use open source software all the time, but Mediawiki has strong parallels to Moodle1 and it gave me an opportunity for reflection whilst I was doing the sort of tasks Moodle administrators do; reading release notes, testing customisations and discovering bugs. I became involved in Moodle coming from exactly this situation but it’s been quite a few years since I was far enough removed to consider the experience objectively.
I’ve long held the view that making the process clear and responses prompt & encouraging is the key to the successfully converting first-time contributors into long time contributors.2 Mediawiki have nailed this experience in the last few hours:
- I reported a bug and got a response within 2 hours.
- I was able to find clear documentation about how to contribute code.
- I easily learnt how to submit code for review3.
- Automated checks were completed on my patch for basic errors within a few minutes.
- I got multiple reviews on my patch within 3 hours!
- I even got a shell account to access tools on Wikimedia Labs within 12 hours
Great job MediaWiki! I saw the emails this morning (Saturday) and was excited to respond to your feedback.