For 2013, our chief Mahara designer Evonne created a series of Mahara merchandise with the Mahara logo in various incarnations. We have the plain Mahara logo, but also various Mahara characters representing community members / roles. I love these special logos because they show that Mahara is not just a software, but that people are very important in it. People make the software and contribute to it to make it better.

Spot the difference in the image of the two laptop skins below. What has happened between 2013 and 2015?

Mahara community then and now
Mahara community then and now

Yes, It’s a different computer. I switched from silver to black. Fun fact on the side: The Mac Air only has a 13″ screen, but is even slightly wider than the Lenovo X1 Carbon which has a 14″ screen.

But back to the subject matter: The one on the right is more crowded because a bunch of Mahara community members joined. We now have the following contributor roles represented (starting at the top of the Mahara m):

  • Ninja: The all-around bug reporter, person answering questions in the community; bug fixer and all-around super contributor;
  • Student / user: Mahara user;
  • Robot: Not really a human person, but an important part automating things;
  • Translator: People who take on the big task of making Mahara available to non-English speakers;
  • Instructor / teacher / assessor (new): Complementary to the student;
  • Designer: People with magic skills making things pretty;
  • Packager: People involved in getting the codebase ready for release to the community;
  • Tester: People who test new or changed features before they make it into the codebase;
  • Writer: People who contribute to the documentation, no matter whether user or technical documentation, written or through screencasts and so on;
  • Organizer (new): People who organize Mahara conferences or user group meetings etc.;
  • Code reviewer: People who examine the code closely while it is in review. They comment on it to make it better before it is being put into the codebase;
  • Core developer: People with mad programming skills implementing changes in the core code;
  • Support (new): People who give support either in the community or also in their own organizations;
  • Security guard: People who make sure that Mahara is secure by either reporting issues, examining them or fixing them.

It’s amazing to have all these people in an open source project contributing to the improvement of it and working together towards a common goal.

Last year for Mahara Hui we asked the participants during the registration with which of the above roles (minus the new ones) they identified and displayed these on their name tags. That way, anyone looking at them knew directly how they were involved in the project and had an easy conversation starter.

Mahara Hui name tag with contributor roles displayed
Mahara Hui name tag with contributor roles displayed

How do you contribute to Mahara or another open source project?

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