Change in the Mentoring program
ubuntu at kitterman.com
Sun Nov 25 23:59:01 GMT 2007
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 now.
I think encouraging people to start with bug fixing instead of new packages would be good.
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