What is "Contributing"?
The Answer to the Title.
Contributing is the act of helping further the given environment/community by means of labor or assistance, over other methods; such as Moderating or Donating. The most classic way of doing so is through means like Bughunting, Bug Reporting, Patches, or other meaningful contributions, such as this nice wiki you are reading. The basic goal is to ease off some of the pressure on the given leadership of the community; in the case of Thunix, the SysAdmins/Staff. As such, contributing is really any task that accomplishes that goal.
Contributing is a great way to give back to a community you love and support where you cannot be part of the staff team or compensate some other way, usually financially. It is understandable that everyone cannot pitch in through these other means, as everyone is on their own walks of life, so these little things add up and help make a community like Thunix what it is.
Take my personal case for example:
I (dovahkin) have been part of Thunix for a good while, about 2(ish) years. I was part of the original Thunix, and honestly was shocked when I heard about the service! I mean, who wouldn't be?!?! A completely free SSH Shell that offers no caps on pretty much anything, Where the SysAdmins are a message away, with only rudimentary rules? Not to mention an active community, often which is friendly enough to help you when you are doing something stupid or unfamiliar? HELLS YES. I'll take two! (Anyhow, I digress...)
I honestly should've contributed more; and I feel that could be said for a majority of the service at the time.
(Mad props to
hexhaxtron for putting up with us on his own time, btw.)
Anyhow; that's a mistake I made sure not to repeat. When I heard about the re-launch of Thunix, I immediately sent 5$ as a donation.
It isn't much when you consider the cost of the bottom line of what it takes to operate Thunix as we know it, but it was what I could spare; and I know it was appreciated :).
Seeing how my financial situation doesn't exactly allow me to be sending donations every month, I put my brain to work on how I might contribute by other means.
I proposed I head and maintain the wiki, as a sort of weekend project; just something to do in my spare time. Look at how it expanded!
Instead of some random things every week/other week, we have three contributors! All making more pushes to the wiki than I can bear listening to the notifications for! Something so innocuous, as this little weekend project, turned into a major part of Thunix, and set an example of how powerful small contributions are. With every push to this wiki, is one less thing that the SysAdmins have to explain to the skid asking questions in IRC (Which is usually me, lets be real....).
At this point, I am rambling... You get the point? Contributing is an effective means to help where one cannot by other means.
Cool story bro, now how is that relevant to outside of Thunix?
The point was this; No matter how big or small a contribution might be, it has the potential to really affect the entire ecosystem.
Now, let's talk about the giant in the room, being the way most might be familiar with contributing to; Git/Version Control.. Prepare yourself for a crash-course and generic overview of Git. (We will probably release a dedicated topic for just git EventuallyTM)