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Re: To all candidates: personal mentoring

On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 12:15:45AM +0100, Serafeim Zanikolas wrote:
> With respect to attracting new contributors, please ponder the idea of a
> formal one-on-one mentoring scheme (as opposed to one-off interactions via
> d-mentors).
> I do realise that personal mentorship takes time; that's a reason to set
> criteria [1] and thresholds on who gets to have a mentor [2], instead of not
> considering the idea all together.

In my AM experience (still limited, about 6 months now), what has
surprised me most is the room that there is for mentoring the applicant,
instead of simply having him/her just going through the various steps of
NM which are supervised by the AM. This is probably something that all
AM have experienced, but I confess that it wasn't that clear to me and
it is probably similarly unclear for perspective applicants. That is to
say that we do already have some form of personal mentoring, during NM.

Still, in your question you're hinting at some earlier mentoring, and I
believe that should happen in teams. In a sane team-based working
distribution, which is de facto already the case for most areas of
Debian, new contributors approach a team because they want to contribute
there, and it is in the team that they start getting a feeling of the
project. That kind of team-mentoring already works quite well: if you
look at the -newmaint archives you will notice that most advocacy mails
for both NM and DM come from co-team members which have worked with the
new contributor (and most likely taught him/her things about the
project, ... and yes, they will notice if the contributor gets ran down
by a bus).

That is why I like the http://www.debian.org/Teams/ page. Ideally, that
can become the welcome place for new contributors which will first look
around what they like to do and then approach the corresponding team on
the suggested media.

In principle, we can additionally establish within team some form of
personal mentoring with the goal of bringing accompanying the newbie to
the advocacy mail. In practice I doubt it would change much the status
quo, but I agree it might be nice from the newbie POV (e.g. he/she will
have someone to mail when feeling unsure about some course of action).


Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Dietro un grande uomo c'è ..|  .  |. Et ne m'en veux pas si je te tutoie
sempre uno zaino ...........| ..: |.... Je dis tu à tous ceux que j'aime

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