Refining MOTU Mentoring

Nicolas Robin nicolas.robin06 at
Tue Aug 21 11:57:09 BST 2007

Hi there,
I'll try to expose my point of view, as a totally new contributor.

In France, there is a channel #ubuntu-fr-classroom. On this channel, some
french MOTUs and core-devs help themselves and help people who want to get
involved in te community, like me. They answer my questions, they review my
packages. You will agree with me if I say that the most important thing for
a developer is experience. With this channel, I know that I can get
experience, helped by MOTUs and core-devs.

Maybe this Idea should be applied for an official classroom channel,
specially designed for new contributors to be helped by MOTUs ? It is the
best way to progress, to be in touch with many MOTUs and to be free to ask
all the questions you want.

I really think that the french model is a good one, and should be applied
internationnaly (see the activity of the french MOTU community !)

Thank You.

2007/8/21, Emmet Hikory <emmet.hikory at>:
> On 8/21/07, Daniel Holbach <daniel.holbach at> wrote:
> > I thought some more about the topic after various discussions with
> > people.
> <...>
> > Some things we would generally like to see happening:
> >       * Contributors should use the 'official sponsoring process' as
> >         soon as possible.
>     Should Contributors ever not use the 'official sponsoring
> process'?  I've yet to encounter a Contributor, whether with a mentor
> or without, that was willing to follow the process, especially where
> their mentor was otherwise occupied (or did not have access, in the
> case of patches for main) (although there is certainly frustration
> when there are significant delays in uploads).
> <...>
> > In my opinion the time is best spent to make new contributors
> > comfortable with the processes, people and some tools. The general
> > review and Q&A we should be done by the complete MOTU team for a couple
> > of reasons:
> >
> >       * New contributors get to know a lot of different people - that's
> >         important.
> >       * New contributors get more input from various people.
> >       * We are able to process much more contributors as a team.
>     I'd like to strongly encourage all of the above, and also note
> that the greater visibility from team interaction additinally provides
> the following benefits:
>     * Contributors have an easier time demonstrating packaging skills
>     * Sponsors can benefit from team review when there are questions
>     * Contributors demonstrate effective community participation
> > With these efforts new contributors should also spend less time in the
> > mentoring slots.
>     Is this a goal?  I can see two different purposes of mentoring,
> and I'm not sure which is the consensus understanding from the above.
> In one case, the mentor coordinates with the newcomer, helping them to
> become a Contributor, actively engaged in the development process.  In
> the other case, the mentor coordinates with either a newcomer or
> Contributor, and helps them to become a MOTU, responsible for driving
> the development of universe and multiverse.
>     If the goal is the first, I think that in most cases, a motivated
> newcomer can become a valuable Contributor within a fairly short
> period of time, but I'm not sure the process to become MOTU can happen
> as quickly.  I've had private discussions with a few Contributors,
> helping to develop a plan towards becoming MOTU (in terms of balancing
> demonstrating technical skills, community involvement, and
> demonstration of development goals; combined with persistance and
> demonstration of committment), and I have the impression that many
> Contributors do not know either how to progress towards MOTU, nor what
> activities will be considered helpful by the existing community.
>     Personally, I believe that both newcomer -> Contributor and
> Contributor -> MOTU are areas where personal involvement from a MOTU
> can be assistive, beyond the typical information availably on the
> wiki, via IRC, or on the mailing list.  In the first case, because the
> volume of information is daunting, and the quality extremely variable.
> In the second case because there is no (and perhaps cannot be) any
> documentation on the specific criteria by which the prospective is
> judged.  Perhaps mentors could volunteer to assist with either of
> these transitions (or split slots between them).  This would allow for
> faster turnover of slots, as the Contributor often does not need as
> much personal attention once basic patching and packaging has been
> mastered, but before they are ready for application to MOTU.
> --
> Emmet HIKORY
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