How To Contribute to Drupal: User Support
One of the great things about the Drupal community is how welcoming and inclusive everyone is. As Drupal’s Global Contribution Weekend 2020 approaches our team has been thinking about all the ways one can contribute to Drupal and its community. Why? Because contributors are Drupal's most valuable asset and are the sole force behind improvements to the platform and the community itself.
It is important to direct your efforts effectively and in line with the community's goals. Even outside the hours of Global Contribution Weekend, experienced Drupal developers - like myself - can contribute advice, answers, and online support to newer Drupalers.
Drupal Support Forums
Drupal Support Forums are the number one place for user support, online. The forum is divided into several categories.
I don’t tend to spend much time in the more general forums, because the volume of messages can be overwhelming. Instead, I like to participate in more targeted forums (e.g. #search or #layouts) where the questions tend to be more specific and draw on my years of experience, e.g. less “How do I Drupal?” and more “How can I use module X with module Y to achieve Z?”
Issue Queues for Contrib Modules
I also spend a fair bit of time in the issue queues for contrib modules. When I run into an issue, if it seems related to a specific module often I’ll start by searching in the issue queue for that module. If I’m lucky there’s an existing issue with a patch already posted, sometimes even made by another Echidna! If not, I’ll post a new issue (only after having searched thoroughly for anything related) and if I do manage to fix the problem, I’ll post a patch, or steps to resolve (if it didn’t require any code changes).
If an existing patch did resolve your issue, you can help the module’s maintainer (and the community at large) by changing the issue’s status to RTBS (Reviewed and Tested By the Community). If it didn’t solve your problem, post a detailed description of what issues you encountered. Even better if you can post a new patch (with an interdiff to show what you changed).
As a maintainer of a small number of contrib modules myself, I sometimes find that the issues being posted are really support requests instead of problems with the module, and will sometimes try to write new documentation if it’s obvious where functionality or configuration could be better explained, in addition to solving the initial request.
Drupal.org also offers a wide variety of community groups available for the following categories:
- Community Working Group
- Agency Marketing
- Event Organizers
- Nonprofit Drupal
The Drupal Slack channel is utilized widely by the Drupal community. This is another place I go to provide online support.
- Collaboration for specific initiatives or modules: Admin UI (Claro), Webform, etc. It is often used for text-based standups.
- There are regional channels (e.g. #drupal-canada ) but some local Drupal User Groups have their own Slack communities too.
- Has a #support channel but it can be hit-or-miss to get help, based on who’s online; often more useful to ask a question in a targeted channel.
The biggest challenge with this slack community is that it isn’t paid, so older messages drop off (can’t be seen by someone joining/returning to a channel) and can’t be searched. For this reason, many in the community are participating in the next resource…
The DrupalChat.me is similar to Slack, but based on an open source app. It is not limited, so has a full, searchable history. There is different participation, as it seems to be more popular for the EU Drupal community.
That is it! As you can see, there are many ways to get involved. Read other blogs in this series, How To Contribute to Drupal.
Global Contribution Weekend 2020
If you’re in the London area, please join us for the Southwestern Ontario Global Contribution Drupal Event on Saturday, January 25th, during Global Contribution Weekend.
Did you enjoy this blog? Get more just like it by signing up to receive Digital Echidna’s free e-newsletter, delivered to your inbox every month. Industry tips, information, and expertise to aid the health of your digital project. Subscribe Today.