Refining MOTU Mentoring

Gauvain Pocentek gauvainpocentek at
Tue Aug 21 12:28:38 BST 2007

(we lost ubuntu-motu, resending this mail posted on -mentors, with
Nicolas one)


Nice to hear of the french classroom here ;)

I just want to add more infos about this chan, because I'm afraid that
Nicolas' mail could cause confusion/flamewars/not very nice answers (and
I know that he doesn't want this, neither do I).

First, this classroom is absolutly not meant to be a replacement of
#ubuntu-motu or #ubuntu-classroom for french speakers. The original idea
was to propose classes about linux/ubuntu advanced users topics. Since I
was the first teacher, the debian packaging subject has been around
since the beginning, with lots of support from the devs present in the
chan, and a some quite good docs on the french wiki. The support from
ubuntu-fr for this project certainly helped a lot (great visibility on
the french wikis, blogs, planet...)

I don't think that we used different methods than the ones existing in
the ubuntu community (online lessons, support chan, tools... everything
existed in the motu community before the french classroom). Maybe the
"success" is only due to the fact that it's been easier for french
newcomers to discuss with french contributors...

If some idea of this chan could benifit to the whole community, it would
be a very nice success for us. Let's try to see how we could use this (I
still have to think about this).


Nicolas Robin wrote:
> 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
> <mailto:emmet.hikory at>>:
>     On 8/21/07, Daniel Holbach < daniel.holbach at
>     <mailto: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
>     --
>     Ubuntu-motu-mentors mailing list
>     Ubuntu-motu-mentors at
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