Open Source Comes to Campus/Tasks for Oct 18th

From OpenHatch wiki

Hi! You've reached the "contributions workshop" part of the event - congratulations!

This page exists to provide you with some small tasks to get you started contributing to open source projects. Every project on this page has:

  • Clear instructions for how to contribute to their project, including setting up a development environment, contributing changes, and how to contact them.
  • At least one hand-picked task that (hopefully!) can be completed within an hour or two.
  • At least one maintainer/contributor who's really excited about welcoming you to their project.

Make sure you contact that maintainer before getting started! They will be listed under "mentor" and will be available either in-person at your event or via IRC.

If you don't want to work on these particular projects, that's okay. There's a few other things you can try:

Newcomer tasks are kinds of tasks that are relatively easy for newcomers to perform, since they don't require a ton of experience either with the project or with FOSS at large. Despite this, these tasks are all really useful for most projects! And you can do them for any project. These tasks are:

Recommended projects: These are projects with great communities that have good getting started instructions. They're not affiliated with this event, but they're likely to welcome you with open arms.

Finding a Project: If you want to find your own projects and your own tasks, try going through this exercise.


MENTOR: Shauna (shauna or shauna_ on Freenode)

Temporary IRC channel for this event: #openhatch-bots

Description: WelcomeBot is an IRC bot designed to welcome people into the #openhatch IRC channel (although it can be easily adapted for use in other channels). It is written in python, and features the socket module.



  • Add rules to catch unidentified nicks: When you join an IRC network, you pick a nickname or nick. If you want to keep the same nick forever, you can register it the network and set a password. Then, each time you join, you "identify" to the network by telling them the password. Simple, right? If you don't identify, your IRC client may automatically change your nick slightly, for instance by adding a trailing underscore. We want WelcomeBot to understand that user and user_ and user__ are all the same person. We've found some of the rules, but not all of them. Can you add another rule?
  • Fix docs to specify what version of Python you need: Our docs currently do not specify that the bot does not work with Python 3. Can you update our docs to fix this? A good, simple task to practice using git.
  • WelcomeBot replies to PMs in #openhatch always: When someone private messages the bot, it responds in the channel. Can you fix this so that the bot responds on the channel when it's messaged on the channel and privately when it's messaged privately? There's a pull request already with a fix but it was written before WelcomeBot was refactored. You can use the PR as inspiration to make this fix.
  • Bug when running WelcomeBot on the Mozilla server: Can you reproduce this bug by trying to run WelcomeBot on the Mozilla network (as opposed to Freenode)?
  • Unnecessary file in the repository: Can you get rid of this unneeded file? A good, simple task for folks looking to practice with git/github.
  • Test our docs: Our documentation currently includes instructions for setting up the bot to run indefinitely. Can you try to follow the docs and see if they're missing information?
  • Make function arguments keyword arguments: Helps improve readability. A good task to do while reading through the code and trying to figure out how it works.

Harder tasks that may still be fun:

Merge Stories

MENTOR: Shauna (shauna or shauna_ on Freenode)

Temporary IRC channel for this event: #openhatch-mergestories

Description: Merge stories are stories about all kinds of contributions that people have made to free and open source projects. They give details about the process: how people pick issues to work on, the common obstacles they run into, the resources they use to solve problems, and more. We hope that by sharing these stories, we can give newcomers a better sense of what contributing is like.


Suggested Tasks:

Special bonus task: Did you do one of the above tasks? Contribute to the project by submitting your own merge story!


MENTOR: Asheesh (paulproteus on #openhatch on Freenode), and probably others on #openhatch on Freenode.

Temporary IRC channel for this event: #openhatch-main

Description: sees itself as "free software's welcoming committee." We make web tools and run events to help people join open source projects, primarily in Python and Django with some Javascript, CSS, and HTML. We're always looking for enthusiastic new people willing to file bugs, submit patches, ask questions, write documentation, and review code. To help you imagine the site, the volunteer opportunity finder helps people find "easy" bugs to work on in projects all over the web, and supporting code to download that data through API use and scraping; the profile tool helps people write about their experience contributing to open source; and the training missions are interactive, plot-based teaching tools to help people learn skills required in open source in a friendly setting.



Each of these is a bug that you should fix on your computer, and when you are satisfied with the fix, create a pull request for. These are supposed to be sorted from easiest to hardest, though your mileage may vary.

  • -- this requires looking at the bug, and seeing you also experience the bug, and then posting a note on the bug indicating if you do or don't experience the bug. If we're all lucky, the bug has gone away, and you can leave a note indicating that it can be closed! If not, then you can help us prioritize it by indicating that the problem remains.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): Using websites; leaving a comment on GitHub.

  • -- Some of the images on website need ALT text added. The bug covers this and one other accessibility-related issue.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): Understanding the purpose of ALT text in images; understanding the notion of accessibility. Finding and editing the templates that power the OpenHatch website.

  • -- Change some Python code to fix our robots.txt file, which recently removed the OpenHatch website from search indexes!
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): General understanding of the notions of web robots & robots.txt rules. Tracing through a file to find the right file to edit; writing Python/Django code. Preferably, writing a test for Django code.

  • -- fix some Python code to request a URL with the right User-Agent header, so that the site does not block our request.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): Reading Python code. Understanding the idea of a User-Agent header. Modifying Python code.

  • -- Fix a CSS alignment issue, where some boxes are about 20 pixels mis-aligned with other boxes, on the homepage.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): Visually identifying layout problems. Finding and modifying CSS files.

  • -- For pages that do not have content that fills them entirely, the footer does not stick to the bottom of the page. It could be fixed with a bit of CSS.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): Visually identifying layout problems. Finding and modifying CSS files.

  • -- Fix a data validation problem, where we try to convert a string to an integer and crash when we do not succeed.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): Reading & writing Python code; general understanding of data types (string, int, etc.). Writing a test for Django code.

Harder tasks:

  • -- Sign up for an account on AppVeyor and configure their site to automatically periodically test if oh-mainline runs properly on Windows.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): General familiarity with Windows and git.

  • -- add support to the site for Gravatars.
    • Skills you'll need (to have, or to learn): Sizeable understanding of Django, user profile photos, and the (free of cost) Gravatar online service.

Other tasks:

The following issues are not bugs in the website; they're issues in the wiki, our collaborative documentation area. Note that they're on a separate GitHub project called open-source-comes-to-campus, which happens to be related to the event you are at!

Skills required for this:

  • Following instructions on a wiki page; taking screenshots on your own computer. Optional: requesting admin access to the wiki, in order to be able to upload files.
  • Reproduce documentation issue A student reported an issue with the documentation for XChat. We've now switched to HexChat. Does the documentation still need to be fixed?


MENTOR: Mark (marktraceur on Freenode)

Temporary IRC channel for this event: #openhatch-mediawiki

Description: MediaWiki is a free software open source wiki package written in PHP, originally for use on Wikipedia. It is now also used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by many other wikis, including this website, the home of MediaWiki.