Thursday, October 25, 2007

Help the PSF Help Python

The uninitiated tend to view the Python Software Foundation (PSF) as some sort of shadowy legal entity that mysteriously rules the Python community. In fact, the PSF has no ambition to "manage" the community (this is open source!) and we certainly don't just work on legal things. The important message that gets lost in this misconception is:

The PSF is Here to Help!

If you're a volunteer working on some aspect of the Python community -- whether developing code, organizing a conference, supporting end users, or running servers and other infrastructure -- please keep in mind that the PSF may be able to help with problems that you run into.

In particular, we're interested in areas where volunteers are overwhelmed, or where some funding could help to bootstrap or enable a subsequently self-sustaining resource for the community. We've supported efforts as diverse as the new bug tracker, Python conferences around the world, and the website redesign.

We can't always be as proactive as we'd like, so may not know you need our help. Tell us!

The other side of the message, equally important, is:

Python Needs Your Help!

Alas, the PSF isn't an interplanetary enterprise with a hundred thousand employees, so it's mostly volunteers that run the Python community. Indeed it does take significant effort to keep things going. Postmaster, website maintainer, help list responder, and job board updater are all volunteer posts that come to mind immediately. There are many other areas that can use the help of active volunteers.

Such tasks are often an excellent training ground, and a good way to get your feet wet participating in (and meeting) the Python community. For experienced hands that already know everything and everybody, it's a great way to give back to Python, and make a valuable difference in the Python universe.

Please consider helping out. You'll earn the satisfaction of sitting 'round the bar at PyCon shooting the breeze over a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster or three. Guaranteed!

So, What Do I Do Now?

If you have a suggestion, feel free to add a comment to this entry. To help out, please contact us at or join our volunteer pool email list.

Oh, and please pass the word on to others!