We're over the contribution evening. It was a Thursday evening and around 25 - 30 people showed up, I'm quite satisfied. I was also pretty tired but when it's about Drupal and other people you forget all the pain and turn into community mode :)
Our goal was to introduce the idea of contribution to people and share some tips about the practical side. I prepared a small introduction what was really only a 'welcome' flash:
There were people wanting to know what's the whole buzz is about and how this contribution thing is working and the other part who had a better experience and could work without help. We've set up sections and I was mostly helping to the ones new in Drupal. There was many questions regarding development, the Drupal.org site, issue queues and everyday practices. I've tried to demo solving issues but of course it's not that easy when you don't know exactly what to do. I even made funny mistake by representing patching with a random drupal_exit() addition in core and then of coursed looked at the broken page load until I remembered my silly patch.
Let me share what I've realized during the evening. It was useful to ask first. Ask about their experience and expectations from the night. That helped to layout the groups.
There are always people without laptops. Either are paired with somebody else or can be part of a discussion groups - but be sure you make them occupied.
Prepare with tasks. If you have clear tasks you can give them to the attendants and they can do actual contribution. Figuring out them during the event is too hard usually. Ask an experienced contributor if they have tasks already. I managed to talk with Gabor Hojtsy (genius leader behind the translation system) who was kind to help me out.
Prepare an accessible document with all the necessary info, such ad git commands, Drupal handbook pages, tutorials, environment setup guides, tools and apps.
Try to help people to find their way to contribution. Some people is really keen to help - but let's admit it - Drupal contribution is a huge world. I believe you better concentrate on a very small segment. The smaller the better and the more likely you can actually help. People has to be aware if the difficulty of the system, the scariness of an issue thread.
I had a really great time helping out Drupal folks, looking for the next one. In fact on Saturday I'm going to the Drop-in sprint. I'm excited to see some familiar faces. And to code, of course.