Fwd: Re: Change in the Mentoring program

Cesare Tirabassi norsetto at ubuntu.com
Mon Nov 26 00:36:45 GMT 2007

----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: Re: Change in the Mentoring program
Date: Monday 26 November 2007
From: Scott Kitterman <ubuntu at kitterman.com>
To: ubuntu-motu at lists.ubuntu.com

On Sun, 25 Nov 2007 18:48:00 +0100 Cesare Tirabassi <norsetto at ubuntu.com> 
>On Sunday 25 November 2007 16:12:28 Scott Kitterman wrote:
>> That doesn't really answer my questions:
>Right now, the purpose of mentoring is not solely that of preparing MOTUs, 
>of the very reasons to make the distinction clear in dividing it into two 
>If anything, most of mentoring is actually done as a one-on-one tutoring 
>totally new contributors; if we were to split the program in two stages 
>now, my own estimation is that not many contributors will fall in stage 2.

Getting more contributors is good too.  I'm trying to understand what value 
the program is bringing to Universe.  It's very hard for those of us not 
involved to tell.  So far I've asked for some numbers and haven't gotten 
them.  I'm starting to wonder if the numbers are dismal enough no one wants 
to share them.

>We have one proposal from Emmet, do we have any other proposals?
>Do you think we should restrict mentoring to "stage 1" only?
>Do you think we should steer the program to be a pure one-on-one 
>program for MOTUship?
>Do you think we should dispense from mentoring altogether?

It's no secret that I haven't liked the idea from the start.  I see a 
number of negatives to the program:

1.  Promotes separation from the community.  With dedicated mentoring there 
is less incentive to get involved with the community and become a part of 
our shared culture.  This community is one of the great parts of Universe 
specifically and Ubuntu in general.

To deal with this, I've suggested that mentors not upload/advocate their 
mentees changes/packages so that mentees are required to make connection 
with other MOTUs.  This also exposes them to a broader technnical/policy 
perspective while they are learning.

2.  People who don't have a mentor are discouraged.  I am still being asked 
if it's OK to learn/participate if one doesn't have a mentor.  In this 
respect the mere existence of the program discourages people from getting 

3.  One on one mentoring means that the same questions have to be answered 
time and time again because bystanders can't benefit from private answers.  
Additionally, private answers do not benefit from community QA.  

Ultimately, there may be sufficient recruiting/training benefit to offset 
these disadvantages, which is why I'm asking for some numbers.

Personally, I'd expect that people who need a mentor and can't just ask 
questions via IRC or e-mail probably don't have the iniative to be the kind 
of productive MOTUs we need.

>And ultimately, what do you think we should do to increase the number of 
>contributors that actively participate and integrate within the Ubuntu 

I think that I don't know if the mentors program is helping or hurting right 

I think encouraging people to start with bug fixing instead of new packages 
would be good.

Scott K

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