Great Wide Open 2016 lightning talks: Emily Dunham

How not to get help in open source

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Open source communities can be very friendly places, but there are right and wrong ways to ask for help.

In her lightning talk at Great Wide Open 2016, Emily Dunham shares the most common ways people shoot themselves in the foot while looking for help with an open source project:

  • Ask for experts
  • Leave IRC after asking your question
  • Withholding information
  • Asking permission to ask a question
  • Going where the experts aren't
  • Being offensive

When it comes to getting bugs fixed, Dunham shared a few other mistakes users make when reaching out:

  • Reporting bugs in the wrong place
  • Limited instructions for reproducing the bug
  • Being too vague

To wrap up her talk, Dunham gave examples of mistakes people make at in-person open source events:

  • Not attending
  • Not being approachable
  • Letting shyness win

About the author - publishes stories about creating, adopting, and sharing open source solutions. Follow us on Twitter @opensourceway.