Contributing to PlasmaPy

There are numerous ways to contribute to PlasmaPy, including by providing code and documentation, suggesting and discussing ideas, submitting issues and bug reports, and engaging the broader plasma physics community.

Imposter syndrome disclaimer [1]

We want your help. No, really.

There may be a little voice inside your head that is telling you that you’re not ready to be an open source contributor; that your skills aren’t nearly good enough to contribute. What could you possibly offer a project like this one?

We assure you - the little voice in your head is wrong. If you can write code at all, you can contribute code to open source. Contributing to open source projects is a fantastic way to advance one’s coding skills. Writing perfect code isn’t the measure of a good developer (that would disqualify all of us!); it’s trying to create something, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. That’s how we all improve, and we are happy to help others learn.

Being an open source contributor doesn’t just mean writing code, either. You can help out by writing documentation, tests, or even giving feedback about the project (and yes - that includes giving feedback about the contribution process). Some of these contributions may be the most valuable to the project as a whole, because you’re coming to the project with fresh eyes, so you can see the errors and assumptions that seasoned contributors have glossed over.

Sharing ideas

There are several methods of communication that are being used in the early stages of PlasmaPy development:

Contributing code or documentation to PlasmaPy

If you see something you’d like to work on amongst our issues, start hacking away on that! However, please announce your intent first in the relevant issue to make sure there is no work duplication.

Please note that PlasmaPy has a PlasmaPy Community Code of Conduct.

Issues marked by the community as help wanted mean just that - either they’re good contributions for outsiders or there’s an issue in the ongoing work that requires a second opinion. Please consider these first!

Work on PlasmaPy is done via GitHub, so you’ll need a (free) account. If you are new to git, helpful resources include documentation on git basics and an interactive git tutorial. You must also install git locally on your computer. We highly recommend getting reasonably familiar with git by going through these tutorials or a Software Carpentry workshop prior to making code contributions. Do note that you can usually find help in the PlasmaPy Matrix chatroom.

For actual guidelines for working on PlasmaPy, please see our PlasmaPy Development Guide.

Footnotes

[1]The imposter syndrome disclaimer was originally written by Adrienne Lowe for a PyCon talk. It was adapted in the README files for MetPy and yt, and was then adapted by PlasmaPy.