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I use open source software, and I am interested in becoming a contributor, but at present I am not. I think the best expert level questions will come from people who have regular experience at working on open source software (not just using it). People who have seen what problems need to be addressed.

Do we have a large proportion of such people? If not can we invite more? There is an invite button for sending email invitations to individuals during private beta (although we can't advertise publicly until public beta).

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Expert level questions will not only just come from those who have regular experience. Anyone can ask and answer questions, and you would be surprised of the large amount of "expert" level questions on other sites that would've likely been asked by "non-experts". Experts are good and all, but if you have people who place effort into the questions and answers that they write, then it's fine.

That being said, nothing should stop us from inviting experts. I don't know of many, but with people involved in industries and organizations, they should be able to.

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I don't think contributors to open source projects necessarily or even usually have a greater understanding of open source licensing.

From a personal perspective, I learned a lot about open source licensing through my experience as a Wikipedia editor where we are very serious about copyright.

Most other projects I've contributed to tend to be not too concerned about copyright, nor too knowledgeable. People tend to be a lot more focused on the tech than the law.

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I've done a fair bit, actually. I've written a number of open-source pieces of software of my own, and contributed to a few more.

Those I've contributed to haven't been huge, mostly mods for games, but they were unsurprising really: when I started contributing, there was nothing that happened that wasn't common sense, or that couldn't be gleaned by reading the Contributing doc.

Of course, we do want as many people as possible to come and join us here. I don't think their contribution status actually matters, as long as they have an interest in open source things.

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My experience came in the process of taking a complete proprietary operating system from closed to open source, including license selection, IP cleanup, backend server setup, documentation, dealing with the lawyers, the works.

No names, no pack-drill, but my id is pretty easy to find on the web and you can rapidly figure out which OS I mean.

It was an intense 'full immersion' experience in most of the aspects of running a large open source project.

Since then, I've organically become an admittedly not very active committer on a number of pre-existing projects. Even identified a bug in git and pushed to get it fixed (didn't know the codebase well enough to do it myself).

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I did in the past make contributions to a few smaller projects and have started my own. Currently I do not contribute to any OSS-project.

I disagree though that regular contributors to OSS-projects have good knowledge about open source. They may simply put their work into the software on a technical side but may have never bothered about licenses, philosophy or implications of open source.

On the other hand non-contributors (non-technical people maybe) may have good experience in Open Source through supporting communities in legal battles, organizing communities or similar stuff.

I agree we should invite experts if we know any and they are interested.

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I wouldn't really expect questions from these people - more likely answers and comments. Maybe community wiki questions and answers.

Also, my impression is that people who are actively working on open source software tend to be annoyed quickly by licensing and related debates, even (and sometimes especially) if these are started by the organizations behind said licenses.

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