With today’s release of WordPress 4.2, I received what are referred to as “props,” or recognition for contributing to the development of the software.
This isn’t the first time I’ve received props, but this release’s recognition comes for a change I submitted to Trac three years ago! My work, along with that of two others before me and three others after me, were incorporated into a change that was ultimately accepted into WordPress 4.2. This happened, interestingly enough, without any involvement on my part beyond that of three years ago (ticket #16024 for the curious).
I mention this not to bring attention my involvement, but to highlight the importance of patience when contributing to Open Source projects like WordPress.
It can be frustrating to get involved and feel that one’s contributions don’t receive the attention they deserve, that after uploading patch upon patch, still none have been merged. It can be a slow process to getting contributions accepted, but it’s a volunteer effort built on backwards compatibility, and when writing software for nearly 24% of the web, care is understandably exercised.
Ultimately one’s patch may never be included in WordPress, or it could happen many years on. Nonetheless, these contributions are needed, and they’re appreciated even if that goes unexpressed. They’re a necessary part of a healthy, active community, and an indicator of exactly that. They can inspire others, even provide the basis for different improvements. Just because a ticket is dormant at one point doesn’t mean it always will be, and more individuals are contributing than ever before, bringing new attention to many Trac tickets. Really, one never really knows what might be done with his or her contributions to Open Source software.
If you’ve gotten discouraged, I hope you’ll seek out your local WordPress meetup, WordCamp, or similar group. Check out the Good First Bugs report for inspiration, along with the Needs Patch list. Join the weekly developer meeting, and visit make.wordpress.org for even more ways to get involved.