Mentoring Program

Dougie Richardson ddrichardson at
Fri Aug 15 20:23:32 UTC 2008


> I'm not sure we need to - it's pretty clear that the vast majority of
> people who write to the list introducing themselves have not yet taken
> their contributions further. We need to figure out why that is, and
> try to do what we can to fix it.
> I think the plain fact is that contributing to any project, and
> especially this one, requires people to take the initiative quite a
> bit, read our wiki pages, and then decide what they are interested in
> contributing to. That last decision seems to be pretty difficult for
> most students, so we need to help out by providing tasks and pointing
> students towards our preview site and bug report list, and explaining
> the need to just dive in.

I agree with you here but I think that we could meet halfway. If we created
a small tutorial branch containing a couple of pages and a tutorial covering
the fundamentals in a step by step guide, we could eliminate the need for
hand holding and increase student confidence to tackle bugs. I am more than
happy to draft a page over the weekend and create a little practice branch
in my LP page.

I have noticed for example that there are a lot of students who are more
worried about posting to the list or on IRC without making a faux pas!
> I've felt for a while that the "email to mailing list, response by
> Phil" system isn't very efficient, not least because it requires Phil
> to do quite a bit of work and because by the time they are writing to
> the list, the students haven't been given any information about what
> we do or where they can help. I think we should amend the process on
> so that the person
> who is interested in contributing is given that information *first* to
> enable them to understand how to contribute, and where to contribute;
> and is then encouraged to ask additional questions that they have on
> the mailing list. If necessary (and it won't be in every case) they
> can request a specific mentor, but otherwise the mentor will be the
> whole group.

Phil asked me to take over one weekend a few months ago and I have to say it
is a thankless grind processing and keeping track of responses and my hat
goes off to him.

I agree with your list proposal but if no one has any objections to my
tutorial I propose that we amend the flow as follows: try the tutorial first
(so that students can see what they're getting into and that we have a
confirmed base line for all students entering the program); introduce
yourself to the list; add name to Launch Pad.

We could also make it clear that for the most part, any one on the team can
assist a student.



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