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


Lesley, thanks a lot for the reply and for handling the mentoring
process even though it seems that it's not being as successful as we
would like it to be.

On Mon, Sep 2, 2013 at 1:26 AM, lesleyb <lesleyb@herlug.org.uk> wrote:
> The mentoring program is yet again also lacking mentors.

I didn't know this.  In the past, many times I've heard that we had
many more mentors than mentees, and thought that this was still the
case.  I'm sure that if we send a "call for mentors", we are going to
fix that very fast.

> 1.  Should we continue with it?

So, in my opinion, I think we definitely should continue it, but we
need to re-focus it in a way that makes it more useful than it is now.

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

The debian-mentors mailing list and the mentors.debian.net site are
mostly about people who have already managed to package something and
need a sponsor to review their packages.  Whereas the general idea of
the DW mentoring program is that is more about accompanying someone in
the process of starting to work for Debian.

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

It's been mentioned in several places that people find it much easier
to contribute when there's someone else helping them get started.
Someone to ask questions without the fear of appearing stupid, someone
not only to review packages, but also to share insight about how and
why things are done in Debian.

So, from my point of view, we should somehow work towards providing
that: people who you can ask questions and discuss Debian issues, with
no need to pretend that you know the answers.

The problem, from my point of view, is that it's not easy for someone
who is a total outsider to suddenly start trusting somebody else, who
they have not met.  We want to provide a space where people are
welcome to ask questions and request guidance, but why would they do
that with Jane Doe instead of Jean Moe?  I think here lies the key to
our issue.

>     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?

I think this should indeed be the case, although I would worry a bit
more about how onerous this would be for the mentoring team instead of
the participants.  I would expect several follow-ups after the
starting of the program.  Something like: the first follow-up is 1
month after the first contact, then 3 months, then 6 months, then a
year.  Or until they say that they have finished.

>  And how do we quantify the responses we get?

Do they really need quantification?  I think that just knowing if it
worked or not would be useful.

> Perhaps an explanation on what we can mentor on the appropriate web/wiki page?

Yes, we should likely explain the mentoring program better in our wiki
page, to avoid misunderstandings.  But for that we should first really
decide how we are going to make it work.


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