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#debian-women timeslots for welcoming newcomers

Hello Everyone,

First, let me say very clearly that new people are welcome to join the
#debian-women channel at any time.  (It may be helpful to review our IRC FAQ [1]
and IRC behaviour guidelines [2] first.)

Conversation on the channel varies greatly.  A typical set of topics might
include things like solving complex packaging problems, discussions about the
Debian political scene, people catching up with their friends on the channel,
people asking user questions,...   Topics range from highly technical to highly
untechnical and often just plain offtopic.  Sometimes the channel is silent for
hours at a time, when people are busy with other things.

This means that the first impression someone has of the channel will vary
depending on when they join and who else is talking about what at that time.
 However it seems that some people have joined and found that they were
overwhelmed by the volume of conversation, or confused by the technical or
social references being made in the conversation at that time.  We do not want
people to be discouraged by this sort of thing.

Setting up #debian-women-new was something of an experiment to see whether
creating an environment that was intentionally mostly non-technical and where
most of the people talking would be newcomers would allow the new people to feel
more comfortable.  It was a success, and we want to extend that effort to the
main #debian-women channel by setting aside timeslots for conversation that is
particularly welcoming to new people.  Hopefully this will encourage more people
to get involved in the Debian Women project, especially through the IRC channel,
in ways that work well for them.

I suggest that we set the first such timeslot to be from 14:00 to 16:00 GMT each
Saturday, starting from this week.  I know this timeslot won't suit everyone
(it's bad for me), but, as previously discussed, the timezone problem is not
really solveable.  If it works out, we will add other timeslots for welcoming
newcomers, that better suit different timezones.

The idea is this:
Saturdays 14:00 to 16:00 GMT is a timeslot aimed specifically at welcoming
newcomers to #debian-women.
For Regulars:
	- talk as usual, but stay away from topics that are very technical or assume
much background knowledge about Debian.  This includes referring to absent
people by their nicknames without explaining who they are and what they do in
Debian, use of Debian acronyms that newcomers won't know, discussion of
technical stuff that is specific to Debian.
	- Welcome new people that show up!  Say hello to them, start a conversation if
they are shy and make sure they don't get ignored.  Be understanding and patient
if they are uncertain of their English.
	- Change the topic to state clearly that these two hours are "WELCOMING
NEWCOMERS" time, so people joining the channel realise.  Change it back when over.
	- Be vigilant and look out for trolls.  Ask the channel ops to deal with
problems quickly if they arise (unlikely, but always possible)


For Newcomers:
	- Join #debian-women IRC channel on the oftc network.
	- Say hello!  We don't bite, really :)
	- Tell us if you use Debian, how you heard about Debian women, anything else
you'd like to say.
	- Preferably put your real name in your /whois information, so we know who we
are talking to.  This isn't essential, but it helps with things like matching up
emails on the mailing list with this new nickname on irc, for example.

Questions/comments on this are welcome.  Unless someone comes up with a serious
reason why this won't work, we'll go ahead with it starting this coming Saturday
 24th September.

I am looking forward to meeting some new people! :)


1.  http://women.alioth.debian.org/faqs/#irc
2.  http://women.alioth.debian.org/faqs/irc
(yes, they are different!)

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