When you start a new project, it may feel natural to keep your work private. But open source projects thrive when you document your process in public.

When you write things down, more people can participate at every step of the way. You might get help on something you didn’t even know you needed.

Writing things down means more than just technical documentation. Any time you feel the urge to write something down or privately discuss your project, ask yourself whether you can make it public.

Be transparent about your project’s roadmap, the types of contributions you’re looking for, how contributions are reviewed, or why you made certain decisions.

If you notice multiple users running into the same problem, document the answers in the comments.

For meetings, consider publishing your notes or takeaways in a relevant issue. The feedback you’ll get from this level of transparency may surprise you.

Documenting everything applies to the work you do, too. If you’re working on a substantial update to your project, put it into a pull request and mark it as a work in progress (WIP). That way, other people can feel involved in the process early on.

As you promote your project, people will have feedback for you. They may have questions about how things work, or need help getting started.

Try to be responsive when someone files an issue, submits a pull request, or asks a question about your project. When you respond quickly, people will feel they are part of a dialogue, and they’ll be more enthusiastic about participating.

Even if you can’t review the request immediately, acknowledging it early helps increase engagement. 

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