In a systematic literature review conducted by Steinmacher, Igor; Silva, Marco Aurelio Graciotto; Gerosa, Marco Aurelio, 20 primary studies were analyzed to identify the barriers faced by newcomers when contributing to open source software projects.
One of the categories identified by Steinmacher et al. is "finding a way to start". This category refers to the difficulties that newcomers may encounter when trying to begin contributing to a project. Two barriers were specifically identified:
- "difficulty to find an appropriate task to start with", and
- "difficulty to find a mentor".
These barriers can have a significant impact on the success of an online community. When newcomers are unable to find an appropriate task or mentor, they may become discouraged and give up on contributing to the project. This can lead to a decrease in the number of active members and slow down the progress of the project.
One way to do this is to provide a clear roadmap for newcomers that outlines the steps they need to take to begin contributing. This can include information on how to find an appropriate task, how to connect with a mentor, and what resources are available to help them get started.
Another approach is to provide mentorship programs that connect newcomers with experienced members of the community. This can help to provide guidance and support to newcomers, helping them to overcome the barriers they may face when trying to get started with contributing.