Supporting Other Users
With millions of jQuery users all over the world, there's always someone out there who needs a helping hand. Like many open source projects, the jQuery Foundation relies on community support channels like forums, IRC, and StackOverflow. Helping out with support is one of the best first steps you can take to get involved in any open source community, and is a great way to contribute on an ongoing basis.
link Instant Gratification
Fixing bugs and improving documentation ways are surefire ways to prevent eventual trouble for others, but if you want to have an immediate impact, nothing beats Q&A. The feeling of moving a stumbling block aside for a perfect stranger, or triggering a "Eureka!" moment that helps someone become a better developer (and the thanks you'll receive) is pretty fulfilling — and can be addictive!
link Broaden Your Knowledge, Deepen Your Perspective
Making yourself available to help with support is an organic way expand your exposure to aspects of the API and different techniques you (and your colleagues) may not have already encountered. Solving an actual problem is a great way to get hands-on experience with something new, converting a piece of knowledge into an actual weapon in your toolbelt. And even if you can't help with a particular question, just being around to observe the problem and someone else's solution is a great way to learn from others' mistakes, putting you in a position to avoid common pitfalls without ever falling into them yourself.
Over time, however, you'll come to recognize the common problems that pop up time and time again, and maybe even develop a knack for uniting the those in need of help with that perfect link, no matter the subject. Most importantly, however, this experience helps set you up to make informed decisions when it comes to proposing and discussing new features and changes, as you're able to make judgments and recommendations that go beyond your own particular needs.
link Serve On The Front Lines
There's often a lot of overlap between bug triage and support. Unfortunately, many users rush to support forums breathlessly claiming to have discovered a bug at the first sight of an exception, when the actual culprit is having misread some documentation or a lack of experience with language principles. On the other hand, it's not uncommon for a user to come in looking for help, assuming they're making some sort of mistake, only to discover an actual bug that needs to be filed and fixed. Working on Q&A puts you squarely in the middle of this action, an indispensable link between users and the workarounds they need to continue making progress on their projects, and core team members and the reduced, confirmed test cases they need to actually begin solving bugs.
link Where To Help
Live, interactive support for all jQuery Foundation projects takes place 24/7 in the #jquery IRC channel on Freenode, and it's a great place to give and receive help with small- to medium-sized problems in all sorts of environments. (If you're unfamiliar with Internet Relay Chat, take a look at our IRC Help page for information about how to get connected and what to expect once you're there.)
Traditional, asynchronous "message-board" style support goes on at the jQuery Forum, which presently runs on Zoho Discussions. There are forums for discussion of development issues, but the primary support takes place on the Using jQuery, Using jQuery UI, and jQuery Mobile forums.
If features like karma and upvoting of answers appeal to you, there is a vibrant, independent jQuery support community on StackOverflow, the popular Q&A site.