‘Tis the Season…for Giving Back


Summary: Guest blogger, Don Jones, discusses how you can share with the worldwide community.

Today, special guest blogger, Don Jones offers ideas about how we all can increase the power of the PowerShell community…

How’s your 2015 been? Hopefully, you’ve been taking advantage of some of the wonderful, free resources that are available in the global PowerShell community. Hopefully you’ve learned a new thing or two, solved a problem or two, and hoisted yourself up another rung of the PowerShell ladder.

And hey…maybe in 2016, it’s time to give back a little. Oh, I know, it’s easy to think, “Me?!?! What could I possibly have to contribute when there are so many PowerShell experts out there?” Here’s a funny thing about the world: there’s a “birth rate.” In other words, there are constantly new people coming into the community who need help. Just think…if you are getting started, you can more easily share their perspective and perhaps explain something in a way that will help them.

So here are some ideas for giving back.

Write a puzzle

PowerShell.org runs a monthly puzzle (see The Scripting Games), which is a great chance to expand your PowerShell skills. Some are hard, some are easier, and some are just for fun. Why not write one? Send your puzzle and its solution, via email to “admin” at PowerShell.org.

We’re also looking for a Games coordinator to post puzzles and wrap-ups each month, so if you’re interested in taking on an organizational role, let us know!

Answer a question

The forums at PowerShell.org can always use more folks to answer questions and offer perspectives. For instructions about how to get notified about all new forums posts, see the Forums page on PowerShell.org.

But that’s not the only place where questions are being asked. For example, the forums at PowerShell.com get a lot of beginners who often just need a pointer to an answer. Why not see if you can help out there?

Explain yourself!

I’m certain that sometime in 2015, you managed to solve a problem or figure out something in PowerShell. Why not blog about it? And if you want to get more eyes on that article, consider posting it at PowerShell.org. Anyone can request blogging permissions from Webmaster@(provide your site user name). We don’t even mind you posting a short “teaser” for a post on your blog. If it helps run some traffic to your blog and helps people solve problems, why not?

Group blogging

Adam Bertram (@adbertram on Twitter) has been running a series of #PSBlogWeek events. He comes up with a theme topic and asks several members of the community to author an article (on their blogs or on PowerShell.org) about that topic. It’s a great way to get published and to participate in the bigger good!

Attend an event

Whether it’s the PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit, the PowerShell Conference Europe, PowerShell Conference Asia, a local PowerShell Saturday, or some other PowerShell event—get involved! Attend, but don’t just sit and absorb—ask questions! Offer commentary! Challenge assumptions! And also volunteer to help organize the event, put together evening activities, and so on. These community run events are a ton of work, and everyone’s a volunteer, so help out!

Fix a bug

There are tons of public GitHub repositories full of PowerShell code (see PowerShell Repositories). Why not get familiar using Git, and make a contribution to one of those repositories? Even if you’re simply adding much needed comments in the code or documenting usage examples, that’s massively helpful to others.

Teach something

PowerShell.org has a “techsessions@” e-mail alias that would love to hear from you if you can do a 30-minute to one-hour webinar on…well, anything! Tackle a beginner topic. Walk us through how you figured out a sticky problem or how you solved a particular challenge at work. Nothing is without value because it’ll help someone unstick themselves. That’s what the PowerShell community is all about—we all lift each other in small increments by pitching in wherever we can.

No matter who you are, there’s a way to help

Everyone reading this post has something to contribute to the community. You don’t need to make an earth-shattering discovery or write a book. Sometimes the “smaller” contributions actually help more. There are tens-of-thousands of you reading this, and if each of you did nothing more than write a single blog post about how you solved a problem in PowerShell, we’d suddenly have an enormous body of work to help each other, and to help newcomers.

So make it your resolution for 2016—jump in and help! Everyone at PowerShell.org is eager to give you a platform for your contributions, and there are plenty of other places online where you can be visible, too.

We’re all looking forward to seeing your contribution!

~Don

Thanks, Don, for opening the New Year with such great thoughts!

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy 

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