[UbuntuWomen] A champion for noobs?

rihanha rihanha at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 00:20:13 UTC 2008

> Launchpad, IRC and Wikis are also foreign to a lot of techs who are new
> to the open source community. I definitely have "main stream" tech
> friends who are absolute geeks, but have never used IRC or contributed
> to a Wiki. (Launchpad is still awkward for me and I'd like to think I'm
> pretty seasoned in using most on-line tools..)

<thinks to self... oh thank god, its not just me. again.> I swear that is
the kind of feedback that is so helpful. A lot of the folks in my CS program
give off the aura that this knowledge is embedded directly in their DNA.
I've decided a lot of folks bluster to hide the volumes of what they don't

> > My first request is to add some links to the 'Get Involved' page, 'Join
> > Us' section to point folks to further info on Launchpad, to the tutorial
> > on IRC, to more info on the wiki, etc., so that if it is unfamiliar to
> > them, they can get more on it right away.
> Do you know what links you would include? You are absolutely welcome and
> encouraged to edit any of the pages of the Wiki!!

Doh - it isn't a Wiki page. Still, on the UW website...

I would suggest separating the join the email list and IRC chat into two
bullets, and tacking on a  'new to IRC?' link that points to pleia's
tutorial http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/Courses/IRC/.

Launchpad. I have an account, I'm currently in the process of getting my gpg
keys set up so I can join my loco team in a more 'official' manner, but what
IS it? I haven't completely been able to get that, and I'm guessing we could
improve on that. Wikipedia has failed me on this one, if anything is a bit
bleak... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launchpad_%28website%29

The best source I've found so far is the main page on launchpad. helpful but
still unclear about why i should have an account, or what it does for me, or
how to really navigate the site.  https://help.launchpad.net/FrontPage

Perhaps the point here, is that it is a tool for developers and not required
to get involved in the community at the earlier stages? Does anyone have a
really great 'pitch' and/or explanation of Launchpad?

Finally, it might be overkill, but I would suggest putting an additional
bullet between the Wiki and those already involved w/ Ubuntu that links to
the other ways to get involved with Ubuntu suggestions towards the bottom of
the page. My thinking on this is just that it lets folks know that there are
other ways to contribute to the community beyond code, that might otherwise
get missed by early visitors, i.e. documentation, art work, translations,
bug reporting, community building links within a bullet point that talks
about non-technical community opportunities. I'd have to defer to others on
the best way to word that.

> > My second is to talk with someone about some potential
> > additions/revisions to the page to address visitors who may have less
> > technical backgrounds but want to learn more. I know that there is a
> > forum for new users, and while I would certainly point new users that
> > direction (though I haven't used it yet), I would like to have a 'safe
> > haven' for women just getting their feet wet so to speak.

I think I was  mixing up two entities... the NUN
group<https://wiki.ubuntu.com/NewUserNetwork>that I had read about
recently, and the Absolute Beginner Talk section of
the Forums. So far, that's all I know of. Are there others?

> Personally, and within the Ubuntu framework, I don't think this needs to
> be limited to a female-only haven. (Others will think it is necessary.
> And I think it's fine that we disagree on this, but please read to the
> end of this long rant before hitting reply.) Participation in UW is not
> limited to women, and I think we can provide the appropriate leadership
> to continue this tradition in a newbie haven.
> Aside: Where is the "Ubuntu Newbies" type of forum? I don't see it on
> the main list of forums: http://ubuntuforums.org/.

> A local calendar of night school courses has just come out and includes
> a workshop on, "Computers for the terrified beginner." It doesn't say
> anything about gender, but I bet there are a lot of women who attend
> this session.... I would be interested in considering this kind of
> language instead of words like "newbie." I also like the idea of having
> a gender-neutral sub-project of UW that is a safe haven for all new
> users. And by gender neutral I want to omit "women" or "girls" or "chix"
> (etc) from the title. How cool would it be to have knowledgeable female
> role models for men as well? (I know my male engineering buddy just
> installed Ubuntu and now considers me a demi-god for answering some very
> basic questions for him.) I don't think this group should replace UW,
> but I think it would be interesting if it was a sub-project of the
> group... what do others think?

I concur that all are welcome, with one stipulation - that we vow to be a
safe place. My experience in computing has been a lonely and hostile road. I
literally managed to get to my senior year in CS  (where I was seriously
considering giving it up as a career path), when I discovered there were
other women who were out there and could validate my experiences with their
own. I want to see a safe place for others to go, without being belittled
and made feel foolish just for lacking a technical background. The 'boys
clubs' can be cruel, and oddly it seems to be particularly true in open
source. I'd be happy to see a safe beginners spot, gender-neutral, that
accepts everyone, and then have the UW as a secondary support source if
needed.  And female role models? Well that would just rock!

> I have a second example for having a gender-neutral group (which doesn't
> have to do with gender at all). When I was at university I was part of
> the International Students Association even though I was going to school
> in my home country. At one of our meetings the other members started
> talking about isolation and culture shock. Even though I was in my home
> country I was feeling those things too! The school had twice as many
> students as my home town! It hadn't occurred to the international
> students that a "domestic" could possibly have a similar experience. If
> we could provide the leadership to give all new users a wonderful and
> friendly (female-knowledge dominated) experience, imagine how that could
> positively impact the core groups as the new users transitioned up the
> ranks...

Hear! Hear!

Thanks for the response... Count me in if anyone is interested in tackling
the welcome wagon issue. I'm experiencing some ebb and flow w/ free time
lately, but I'd love to get involved with a project like that. I need to do
some follow up reading on the NUN group!

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