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Re: Asking about what's going on with the mentoring program

On Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 10:53:35AM +0200, Margarita Manterola wrote:
> Hey there,
> I hope you read this :).
> The mentoring program is something that we all know that is there, but
> we never know if it's working or not.  If people are applying, if the
> mentorships work or don't work, etc.
> If possible, could you send a mail to the list with some stats about
> the use of the program?  Some info saying that it's still alive, or
> that it's mostly dead, whichever the case, so that we know how we can
> make it better.
> Thanks in advace!
> -- 
> Besos,
> Marga

Hi Marga

The mentoring@women.debian.org still gets the occasional mail from people
interested in contributing to Debian or learning how to contribute.
I have had four bona fide emails this year most of whom I replied to with
further queries but none of which replied.  The mentoring program is yet again
also lacking mentors.

I would therefore like to start a discussion on the mentoring program. 
Here's some topics to start the discussion :

1.  Should we continue with it?

2.  What should it deliver?  i.e. what are we expecting the mentoring program
    to do?

3.  Where is it in relation to http://mentors.debian.net/ ?

4.  I think the process needs some formalisation.
    The following scenarios have happened on my watch:
      A mentee is assigned a mentor but they don't get on; the mentee gets to
      know others in the D-W grpup who mentor her instead but none of this is
      fed back to the mentoring team.
      Mentees are put in contact with mentors; after a few emails the mentee
      'disappears' i.e. drops out of all contact.  The mentoring team isn't
    Both these scenarios lead to mentors being realeased from their duties to
    their mentee without the mentoring admin team knowing anything about it;
    to the mentoring team, that mentor is still assigned.
    Some mentees are more determined than others and get through the learning
    process by finding other mentors; some mentees don't realise what is
    involved in being part of the Debian team.
    So I think the mentoring team need perhaps to be a bit more active and
    regularly ask for updates from each party, giving people the chance to air
    their view of the process in confidence.  Would this be too onerous on the
    participants? And how dowe quantify the responses we get?

5.  I also think we need to be clearer how we are going to mentor.
    Mentees come in with different skill levels and different interests.  The
    most common mismatch in expectations I encounter is mentees wanting to work
    on the source code of a specific package.  As far as I understand it, the
    main work in Debian is packaging source code appropriately for the Debian
    distrobution.  This doesn't necessarily preclude someone from also working
    upstream but how can we make it clearer where the emphasis lies vis-a-vis
    Debian?  Perhaps an explanation on what we can mentor on the appropriate
    web/wiki page?

6.  Lastly, I am getting an inordinate amount of spam through the
    mentoring@women.debian.org email address.  
    This command counts the number of spam in one mbox: 
    grep -c -e '^To: ' spam.130901 

    After I have discounted any spam actually directly addressed to me, or some
    strange place called mercuriogallery or something aimed at a German
    University, using this command:
    grep '^To: ' spam.130901 | grep -v -e '^To: lesleyb' | grep -v -e '^To: \
    <lesley'| grep -v -e '^To: "mercur' | grep -v -e '^To: mentoring \
    <mentoring@uni-osnabrueck.de>' | wc -l

    (And I have checked that last command gives nothing but the
    mentoring@debian.women.org address.)

    So 52% of spam I received between 27th August and 1st September is coming
    from the mentoring@women.debian.org mailing list.

    If anyone can trap that spam at the debian.org domain or the subdomain
    women.debian.org, I would be extremely glad never to receive it.

Kind Regards

Lesley Binks

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