I've created a few open-source projects in the past, and had some success. The process was generally the following: I'd start alone, create something that works, promote it, and finally (maybe) get some contributions.

I have less that to contribute to open-source now, but I still have ideas and can still code :) So I wonder if there is a place or a way to meet people (online), discuss ideas and design, and then start working together on the project?

The reason I'm thinking about an online way to do this, with strangers, is that while I do have programmer friends, we only very rarely have the same needs and interests at the same time. It seems to me that it would be easier to find such in match in the online global community.

Any insight?

  • There are plenty of community sites that you may host and find contributors for your open-source project: GitHub, CodePlex, etc..
    – Yusubov
    Jun 24, 2012 at 0:37
  • 1
    @ElYusubov: github is a great platform for hosting, but it sucks if you want to find contributors, except if your project already works. Jun 24, 2012 at 8:55
  • a better approach might be meeting developers in local tech events.
    – Yusubov
    Jun 24, 2012 at 17:15
  • 3
    Maybe we need the open source equivalent of an internet dating site :-)
    – Stephen C
    Jun 25, 2012 at 3:17
  • @StephenC: that's basically the idea :) Jun 25, 2012 at 9:10

3 Answers 3


I don't think there is a single place for this This heavily depends on the area of the software you develop. If you for instance create software for navigation aspects for gliders doing a winch launch a general site won't give you many contributors, but you have to go into the glider community and find developers there.

The best way is to get users in the area the software is for. Once you have users they will have ideas. And the more users you have, the more likely it gets that some of them are developers and look into it and try to improve it.

Starting a project with "strangers" from the Internet is hard. I tried that multiple times with people from different mailing lists and most of them failed since we didn't really cooperated well as we knew each other too little. In my experience it is better to have somebody bootstrap the project and then get contributors.

What helps in general is to have some documentation about the general architecture and where to look for. I sometimes look at software I'm using and extend it to fit my needs but have to spent quite sometime till I have the first working patch.

It's also useful to have English comments and identifiers, even if that isn't your native language as that's simply, unless you're writing code very specific to a a specific area. (a tax software for German taxes should use German wording etc.)


Repositories like GitHub, CodePlex, BitBucket not only provide free hosting for open source projects, but also ideally suited for online collaboration. Placing your project code at one of them would be a good starting point.

Interesting project ideas tend to magnet congenial developers around them. One of good continuously and actively evolving examples is FSharpX.

Mentioning your project repository at popular blogs and StackExchange sites may also help attracting right people.

  • Github and the like suck unless you already have a working project. I want to find collaborators to discuss the design and goals of the project before I start writing any code. Jun 24, 2012 at 8:56
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    Absolutely, public repositories do not promote a social coding collaboration off good intentions or outline of ideas. In order to begin attracting right collaborators you should converge your ideas into an attractive prototype. On the contrary, your thought of herding a bunch of strangers on completely voluntary not-for-profit foundation for collaboration that eventually will mold into a successful open source project does not look promising to me. Good luck, anyway. Jun 24, 2012 at 16:56

One of the approaches to find interested developers to your project, might be meeting and speaking (some call it networking) with the actual developers who are local to you. Question is where to find them?

There is a number of local user groups where you can meet people/developers who are passionate about things that they do. Depending in which area are you living, there are different interest groups. Here you are some info that might be helpful.

  • As I said, I do have programmer friends, but we only very rarely have the same needs and interests at the same time. The same could probably be said of the local programmer community. It seems to me that I'd have a better chance to find matches in the global internet community. Jun 25, 2012 at 9:12

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