We're really glad you're considering helping us out. We're an all volunteer group; if we've done anything cool, it's because we have such kickass members. Welcome to the team! We'd like you to carefully consider how you'd like to participate, and then based on that, do ONE of the following three things:
For those who want to monitor our general progress and big events via email, please sign up for the psas-announce mailing list. It's an open mailing list that has major announcements, such as events details, launch information, etc.
Our mailing lists are really meant for our active volunteers. If you're not going to be active, and you'd just like to monitor what we're doing, then we'd like to encourage you to join psas-announce and read the various list archives, rather than join a specific team's mailing list. We try and keep the lists very focused and on topic, and a lot of non-active people on the lists has historically gotten in the way of that.
That said, if you have a reason for monitoring the lists - such as you're working on a similar project or have something to contribute - then please feel free to join a team's list. You may be asked why you'd like to join; please don't feel offended, we honestly just want to know. Note that you'll automatically be added to
psas-all when you register for a team list, so don't bother to join psas-general unless all you want is the all-group emails.
Come to a group meeting. Unless you're remote, in which case you should contact us. There's no substitute for coming to a meeting, so please do that BEFORE you sign up for any of the lists or on the register for the wiki.
Sign up for a the team lists that interest you.
Get yourself registered to use our wiki, a web-collaboration tool which lets us edit the PSAS site on the fly with nothing but a browser. Do this by coming to one of our meetings, and see our wiki editing help to get started.
Find a project you want to work on. We have several suggestions for projects targeted at new members. We also encourage people to come in with projects we haven't thought of.
People often come to PSAS with no idea what they want to do, only knowing that they think the group is really cool. Here's Sarah's general advice for how to integrate yourself into the group:
When you come to meetings, ask lots of questions. Members are always willing to answer questions (multiple times if necessary). Don't be afraid to interrupt with a question! We're a loud group, so sometimes you may have to talk over us.
Read the PSAS wiki. Try to get a general overview of the systems (avionics, communications, airframe, software, etc.). Once you've done that, focus on whatever interests you. If you get confused by something on the wiki, send email to the mailing list (either the general list or a specific team mailing list). We're not perfect, and often pages are outdated or incorrect. If you don't get a response, ask the question again at a meeting.
Ask if there's a good intro project. You may want to update documentation or clean up code to get yourself familiar with the project you really want to work on.
Go looking for a project. No one in the group is going to force you to work on something, and they'd rather you pick something you're passionate about and start on it.
PSAS is not for the shy, and no one is going to hold your hand because there's just too many people who come into the group, start a project, and then drift away and never finish it. It takes a while to really get comfortable with the group (and their odd sense of humor), but once you do, they're a great resource, and a really nice group of people.