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Like other successful open source projects, Drupal has coalesced into a community of people who both develops sites in Drupal, and develop the Drupal software itself. Such communities are tend to be programmer heavy and marketing light and Drupal is no exception. However, the Drupal project has been fairly successful at giving less experienced members ways to get involved. Here are some ways you can get involved regardless of your level technological skill. As always the place to go to become involved in the Drupal community is www.Drupal.org. Once there you will notice one tab that's especially important, the Contribute link. Let's click on it and see what's here.
This is an overview of several ways you can contribute to Drupal project. Of course, you could donate, but also even if you are not a developer, if you don't know how to program. You can help with documentation and translations. If you are a graphic designer, you can help out with themes, and each one of these links will lead you to more information about how those projects are running. Finally the testing part is very important, and they need less experienced Drupal developers. The problem with such project is that they tend to attract people who already know Drupal well and don't really remember what it was like for a new user. If you're that new user, they need you for both testing and especially for usability.
Let's go back up to the top. Once you start looking around the Drupal site, you will want to get a user login. You do so by clicking on Create new account. I already have an account so I am going to log in now. Once you have logged in, you will notice this link here, My Account. When we go there we can edit many different things that will help others to determine whether we might be right for their projects and then they can contact us directly. We can also change the way this home page looks to us by adding and subtracting certain blocks. I recommend that you take a good look of all the different tabs up here and fill out as much as you can and start showing your face within the Drupal community that way.
Another way that you can get to meet other people within the community is by taking part in groups. Some of them meet face-to-face while some are special interest groups that take place only online. The place to go for that is www.groups.Drupal.org. Notice that this has a separate log in, so you will have to create an account here, if you want to take part in discussions and so forth. Incidentally, when you do start taking part discussions, records of the comments that you make and the contributions that you make to the software and documentation projects attracts.
Let's go back to Drupal.org site and see how that works. When you go to My Account you will see this link here, Track. If you have made any public posts, it will show exactly what they were and it will show if there have been any replies. Through this tab you can keep track of all of the different things you are doing and how is talking to you as well as what groups you have taken part in. Another website you should know about is the Drupal Association. This is not-for-profit group based in Belgium whose goal is to build and promote the Drupal community. It's at association. Drupal.org. The first thing that the Drupal Association does is it accepts donations. So even if you do nothing else, you can give a small donation which we will go a long way. Since there is a no paid staff in the Drupal project all of your money will go towards hosting and other infrastructure points that are necessary to keep the Drupal project going.
Let's go back to the Drupal.org website. Finally there is one document that I recommend that you read. It's under About Drupal and Welcome. It's this, how to enact change within the Drupal community. It gives several tips about the Drupal community. Read this see what's being done already and then jump in. While the Drupal community can seem overwhelming now, it's started under the direction of just one person. The Flemish student Dries Buytaert who, by the way, is still at the helm. It grew beyond his circle of friends by accretion.
Like a pearl it added layer upon layer rather than through any sudden explosion of growth. It's a lopsided prowl to be sure. The software side is particularly heavy, but on the whole the community has gone through these seven or so years remarkably well without splits or major acrimony. It's a diverse community and it appreciates the contribution of its members. I know that I will appreciate yours.
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