Yesterday, I stumbled across tweet from a fellow developer for whom I greatly respect. He said:

Which naturally got me a little bit introspective wondering ifI have been giving to WordPress as much as I should.

The thing is that I think this is something that’s kind of hard to qualify. I mean, you have an internal idea of how much you use WordPress, how many plugins, themes, and how much knowledge you take advantage of from others, but do you have an idea as how much you put back into the economy?

Granted, I think we’d all like to think that we’re putting just as much back in as we are taking. Personally, I don’t know if that’s actually possible. I mean, we’re talking about a piece of software with an incredibly vibrant economy that’s under constant development (with its fair share of drama) and it’s got over 10 years worth of material put back into it.

It’s hard to measure, right?

So I’m not necessarily saying don’t try to measure it, but at least try to gauge if you’re giving back something rather than nothing at all. The nice thing is that this doesn’t have to come in the form of writing code.

Nearly anyone can give back in some capacity:

  • Speak at meetups or WorCamps
  • Share educational material perhaps on a blog about WordPress
  • Tweet and Retweet useful information for others to learn from
  • If capable, build several themes and/or plugins to help drive the economy
  • Answer questions on the WordPress Stack Exchange to help others further along
  • …and so many more

There are many, many ways in which people can give back to something that’s given them so much. And it’s not about trying to match what they’ve given you versus anything else – it’s just about putting something good back into the system that’s given you something good in return.

So I think John’s tweet is relevant to all of us who use WordPress and it’s something worth thinking about. How are you trying to give back?

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Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. I develop client sites on a WordPress Multisite installation and it runs with WP_DEBUG on. If I find a warning or error in a plugin or theme I try to report it to the owner. I’ll supply a patch if I can. Some day I hope to have time to answer questions on Stack Exchange.

  2. Reminds me of @photomatt’s post on 5% contribution to the WordPress core: http://ma.tt/2014/09/five-for-the-future/

    I’m not personally at the level yet to contribute to core development but there are plenty of other ways for me to contribute:

    WordPress consulting or mentoring, translation help (I’m an intermediate learner of Korean), answering questions on the WP forums, contributing to documentation and training, running a blog with good discussion-generating questionslike this one, and sharing links and knowledge. Plenty more good ideas here: https://make.wordpress.org

    I think the 5% rule is a good benchmark to shoot for. We are all busy (I teach English full-time at a university in Korea + teach computers part-time at an adjoining high school + volunteer at church and in the community + run a WordPress Meetup in our town + do freelance graphic design and WordPress development on the side + am a daddy to two small kids + + +).

    But I think we all have a lot of dead time during our days where we only have 10-30 minutes of “non-productive time” that we would normally just check social media or goof off. Imagine instead dedicating yourself to helping 1-5 people on the Stack Exchange or WordPress forums during that down time. Or even just sharing some info and links with insights?

    I think the best way to do it is to turn it into a habit. Say your lunch break every day is an hour but you know you only eat for 20 minutes and goof off online for 40. Why not choose to use the middle 20 minutes there to help out in some way?

    Anyway that’s what I’m working on doing these days.

  3. I help by contributing free plugins whenever i get time over the weekends. But still looking for some better things to contribute. If you have anything in mind, please do share with us. So we can get a way to contribute more.

    Thanks Tom!

  4. Nice food for thought, Tom.

    The good thing about the WordPress community is that everyone can all start where they are; at their current skill level, and help make things better.

    So even if those of us just starting out, have an opportunity to give back. More over, there’s always someone else lower down the ladder, who could use some help.

    I think places like the WordPress.org or WordPress.com forums are a good place to start giving back, even if one is not an accomplished developer.

    Just helping to clear those unanswered questions in the queue is a start.

    Not to mention that giving back actually helps to improve one’s skills.

  5. From a consumer perspective who has his blog built on wordpress, I can say that we get the most active support from this community. Compare that to other software for blogging/site building etc, none of the communities are so helpful as WordPress.

    About giving back, we have built an eCommerce theme and will definitely go ahead and submit it to WordPress – that’s our little gesture of giving back.

    • Compare that to other software for blogging/site building etc, none of the communities are so helpful as WordPress.

      Love hearing that!

      About giving back, we have built an eCommerce theme and will definitely go ahead and submit it to WordPress – that’s our little gesture of giving back.

      Fantastic :). Don’t forget to promote it on your blog and on Twitter so it gets the reception it deserves ;)

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