Surveying new package maintainers about their experience of contributing to Debian
I feel that, as long-time contributors, we often lack a good view of how
hard new people find it to get involved in Debian. In order to better
identify blockers or difficulties that prospective contributors face
when trying to contribute to Debian, I would like to survey new package
maintainers, identified using  (thanks to Asheesh Laroia for fixing
the UDD upload-history gatherer!).
I started drafting the mail below, and would welcome reviews, comments,
or additional ideas of questions. I plan to send the survey on 2013-07-19
Subject: some questions about your experience becoming a Debian contributor
You are receiving this mail because you recently had your first package
accepted in Debian. First, congratulations, and thank you for contributing
In order to improve Debian's ability to welcome new contributors, I'd
like to ask you a few questions about your own experience. Long-time
members of the Debian community tend to forget how the process of
getting involved in the project feels, and feedback from people who
recently went through the process would be really useful.
I will write and publish a summary of the collected answers. Your
individual answers will not be made public, but might be shared with
other DDs. Please be clear if you mention something that you prefer
not to have shared too widely.
So, here are the questions:
Q1: Can you (briefly) introduce yourself? What motivated you to
start contributing to Debian? What are you (trying to) contribute
to in Debian?
Q2: What are your reasons for starting to contribute to Debian *now*? Why
didn't you start before? :)
Q3: What were the biggest surprises you had while going through the process?
Q4: What did you find most difficult?
Q5: Here are some ideas that have been mentioned, aimed at making it
easier for new people to start contributing to Debian. Could you
comment on them? If already implemented, would they have helped you?
a) have clearer lists of easy bugs and tasks, suitable for new contributors,
so that people can learn about Debian by working on them
b) have a "contributors' frontdesk" where people can describe their skills,
and get suggestions of areas of Debian where they can help
c) develop internship programs (think of Google Summer of Code)
d) develop peer-mentoring, where an experienced person guides a new
e) do localized versions of debian-mentors (French, German, Spanish, ...),
where new contributors can ask questions about packaging
f) organize IRC schools/seminars about packaging
Q6: What other idea should be implemented, or what should be changed,
that would have made your life easier?
Q7: Can I publicly list your name to thank you for participating in this