Non-MOTU as MOTU Mentors and bad advice

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Tue Nov 11 13:23:11 GMT 2008

On Tue, 11 Nov 2008 06:14:49 -0600 Charliej <cjsmo at> wrote:
>On Mon, 2008-11-10 at 22:39 -0500, Scott Kitterman wrote:
>> I will confess that I don't pay as much attention to the Mentors program 
as I 
>> probably should.  I had no idea we were allowing people who weren't MOTU 
>> act formally as mentors.
>It is my understanding that UUC's are only allowed to mentor in the
>junior program.  The senior program is strictly for MOTU as these are
>MOTU hopefuls

I now understand that.  I believe it is wrong and should be changed.  I'm 
not trying to say this assignment was done out of process, but that I 
believe the current process is wrong.

>> This is a stunningly bad idea and should stop.  I just finished trying 
to help 
>> a novice mentee who was trying to upgrade his system to Jaunty because 
>> mentor told him too.  
>IMHO (this is only my opinion and may not be the opinion of the MOTU
>Mentoring Reception Team) I disagree!

No doubt.

>One question though, was the offending UUC included in the discussions
>and shown the error in his/her ways?  People do make mistakes, and on
>occasion show bad judgment.

No the mentor was no where around and the hapless mentee was looking for 
help.  This isn't so much about this single mistake, but about the concept. 
 It took this mistake for me to notice is all.

>> Unless you really know what you are doing, running Jaunty right now is 
>> insanity.  It's also completely unnecessary to learn and do packaging 
>> for Jaunty.
>> The individual is an UCD, and I suspect that is the basis on which it was 
>> considered appropriate.  This is a complete misuse of UCD.  UCD is a measure 
>> of community participation and involvement.  There is no particular technical 
>> expertise needed to be a UCD.
>Would you please provide the MOTU Mentoring Reception Team with this
>UUC's name on the Mentoring Reception Teams ML so we may reevaluate this
>UUC's participation in the program?  This is a private list.
>motu-mentoring-reception at


>What would you propose as a possible skill set needed for UUC's to
>participate in the junior program?

Become MOTU.  As I said before, UUC/UCD (which is it anyway) is a 
distinction of community involvement, not technical capability.  The notion 
that UUC/UCD have any particular set of technical skills that make them 
particularly suited to mentor new people is fundamentally flawed.

Helping someone productively, correctly, and enjoyably take their first 
steps in packaging/bug fixing/etc can be complex.

Part of the problem is that this conversation took place in private with no 
one to watch and give guidance.  If this had not been a mentor/mentee 
discussion it would have been much more likely to be on #ubuntu-motu where 
someone more experienced would have been able to provide oversight.  This 
kind of hidden communication is part of why I think the mentors program is 
fundamentally flawed.

>> I know there aren't enough mentors, but I seriously think no mentor is 
>> than one who doesn't know what he's doing.
>Old and New MOTU's are always *welcome* to participate in the mentoring
Of course.  I would encourage people to ask and answer questions on 
#ubuntu-motu or this ML.  In a way we're all mentors.

Scott K

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