Incentivizing non-code contributions

While swag and awards can motivate community members to help others or share their stories, that strategy doesn’t scale and is only feasible for small projects. It certainly is a good tool for projects earlier in their journey.

Consciously create an environment where learning in public is ok. This includes public office hours, unboxing sessions, and live streams where you figure out how to do something together.

Foster a Q&A culture where people feel comfortable to just jump in. Tag others familiar with a topic in conversations so they can chime in. This has two effects: 1) you publicly recognize the person as an expert and let them know that you value their opinion, and 2) everyone sees that it’s not only the role of the maintainers to help out.

Especially for large projects, Slack can get messy quickly. If it’s too noisy, people won’t engage. Create topic specific Slack channels where it’s easier to follow conversations they care about.

Non-code contributor roles such as moderators, community managers, and documentation maintainers should be part of your ladder. They can ask (loaded) questions in chats to seed discussions, and post helpful, curated content and links. While you can’t ask people to answer questions, if the channel is not super high volume and/or specific to their interest, they’ll answer.

To request content, consider creating a GitHub issue asking for blog posts. Contributors can send their links which you can tweet out. You’ll need a community manager to keep track of this, though.

Last modified August 2, 2021: Adding QA (baea5c7)