A plugged-in-and-giving-back mentality

While working on the Chrome version of a browser extension for a client of my company, I subscribed to the chromium-extensions Google group. I did this both for my own edification as well as for others’ benefit.

Every now and then, a message comes through that relates to my personal experience or knowledge which has not yet been answered, and I will answer it.

When you contribute to an open-source community, it does two things: it builds your reputation within the community, and it increases the likelihood of getting quality help yourself when you need it. There’s also the bonus of promoting your company if you use an email signature. This has SEO value since most of the time these messages wind up in search engines.

Besides chromium-extensions, I am also subscribed to phirehose-users (my participation here earned commit access as an official contributor), twitter-development-talk, and some local PHP user groups lists.

I wish this kind of plugged-in-and-giving-back mentality were more prevalent. If you use an open-source project or technology, subscribe to the mailing list (or forum), and don’t just lurk. Answer questions, and where appropriate, share your code or your experiences.

Written on April 28, 2011