While looking through my contact list today, I realized that many of those contacts were initially made on the WordPress bug tracker. Regular contributors to WordPress hang out there to perform the daily chores of testing, fixing, and designing. It’s a good place to get a feel for someone’s skills and style. Unlike other forums open source projects use to communicate, the noise is low and the work really stands out. The folks who consistently contribute to the bug tracker keep popping up in my feed reader and reminding me of the great work they do. When we have dollars to spend on people, these folks are on my mind. The tracker is probably my most valuable resource when it comes to professional networking with the people who do the work that matters to me.
Contributing to open source as a means of showing off your skills and making a name for yourself is nothing new, of course. My realization here is the central role the bug tracker plays in how I make and develop professional relationships within the WP community. Mailing lists, forums, and IRC channels are useful venues, but the bug tracker is where the folks who do the grunt work and get things done go.
What’s the professional water cooler for your project? Anyone else gather around the bug tracker?