Everything open source
May 16–17, 2016: Training & Tutorials
May 18–19, 2016: Conference
Austin, TX

Optimizing your project for contribution

Joshua Matthews (Mozilla)
4:20pm–5:00pm Thursday, 05/19/2016
Location: Ballroom E Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 5 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

Attendees should have prior experience contributing to an open source project and using common tools such as issue trackers, mailing lists, IRC, etc.


As open source project maintainers, we are sometimes left wondering why our projects are overlooked and rarely receive contributions. This does not need to be the case. By taking some straightforward but deliberate steps, we can lower the barrier to entry for our projects and increase the pool of potential contributors.

Joshua Matthews covers opportunities for automation, technology choices, communication styles, language hacks, and more. Using examples drawn from a variety of open source projects, Josh discusses concrete strategies to attract, encourage, and retain new contributors, which all focus on a set of five core goals:

  1. Prioritizing useful information
  2. Reducing friction
  3. Making expectations clear
  4. Responding appropriately
  5. Following through
Photo of Joshua Matthews

Joshua Matthews


Josh Matthews is a platform developer at Mozilla, where he gets to write a lot of Rust code. Josh is a core contributor to Firefox and Servo and a keen mentor of new contributors. He gleefully demolishes any barriers to entry that he comes across in open source projects.