I'll try to start the ball rolling on this, and my apologies in advance for the long post.
Contributing to MODX
One of the themes that came through with Ryan's keynote speech and was reiterated by Mark and others is the need for people to start contributing. Contributing, as both pointed out, is not only on the development side, but many other roles, one of which is tester.
For some, github is second hat as they have used it extensively or have time to learn it. I don't propose to move away from that or any other source control system MODX chooses to use, however, I think that there are some who may find github a little intimidating.
I would like to suggest something for public discussion: nightlies available as MODXCloud installs. The basic idea is that when you create a new cloud, you have the option of creating a cloud based on the latest nightly. Then, people could develop using this version to see what works and what doesn't. Realistically, people would install their own packages for sites they have created to see how the core handles the latest version of code. I think that there are a lot of people who want to make sure their new projects don't blow up on creation, and this is a way which can be done rather quickly. In fact, each agency that has their own toolset as a base build could install this rather quickly and see what has changed.
Another aspect is the upgrade. For existing sites, the ability to do a test upgrade to the latest nightly to see what would happen.
Benefits for MODX:
1. Think the Autobahn during mosquito season: people hitting bugs at an alarming speed. This would be because the time for testers to get up and running is quick, and the technical level required to get up and running is something which can be easily and quickly shown.
2. Since the latest nightly keeps changing, the re-reporting of bugs which have already been fixed would be reduced, so less time closing issues already fixed from the beta.
3. As issues are raised, anyone who wants to see the bugs live (e.g. bug fixers) could theoretically be given access to the entire site. This reduces the "I can't replicate this on my machine, did you check the logs" type questions.
4. Errors with not having the latest code or something done wrong in installation to localhost go away.
Benefits for Would-be Testers:
1. The process for testing would be point and click in the cloud, which opens up the ability for those less technical to take on the testing.
2. As an agency, I know that once a nightly becomes a release, I have pretty good comfort level as to what is working with it, and what isn't. And since I know others are in the same boat, the chance of a bug making it all the way to a release is reduced.
For those that may be of a technical persuasion but haven't made the leap, I would love to do up a video or 10 that show how to get developers up to speed on github and development. Whenever the future state of development is reasonably stable, I'll start work on them. I find that for myself, a quick video gets me more motivated than powerpoint slides or step by step instruction for the first pass.
I welcome any and all comments, flames, etc.