How do non-coders give to open source?

In my life outside of Gentoo, I’m a graduate student in biochemistry and biophysics. But in a previous incarnation, I was a professional copy editor with about 5 years experience, and I worked at a number of newspapers.

As you know if you’ve ever read anything written by most open-source programmers, English grammar and spelling often are not their strongest suits. I’d like to give back to the community in a way that few people can, and that’s by copy editing. The rarest skills in open source are those that seemingly have nothing to do with open source.

That brought something to my mind. How do people with these rare open-source skills make themselves valuable to the broader community? No Web sites exist that say, “Copy editors sign up here. Graphic artists, head over that way. Public-relations experts, first hallway on the left. Lawyers, off this way, please.” The closest thing I know of is, but that’s for just one narrow niche.

Do we need something like this? I say yes. The non-coding contributors to open source represent the rarest commodity we have. We need to find a way to get them involved, and to tell them how to get involved.

As a postscript, anyone who needs copy editing for your open-source project, just drop me a note and I’ll try my best to help you out.