Forming a welcome team to guide newcomers
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Description

I believe it's worth considering forming a team to welcome new contributors to the KDE community.

Having someone to reach out to is a major stress reliever for people new to a community, as they can act as a first port of call for their needs.

Of great importance is human contact here. No matter how good of a wiki and documentation we offer, it can never replace the value that personal contact brings to the table and how it contributes to increasing the sense of community among members.

This team would be responsible for:

  • Responding to people contacting KDE and offering to help in some way or another (e.g. an email on a mailing list, someone reaching out to a member of the community who could then redirect them here)
  • Gathering information on newcomers and their background,skills and interest that would be useful in directing them to a specific KDE project/team.
  • Introducing newcomers to members of the community, and especially connecting them with people that are relevant with the area they would like to help with.
  • Maintaining frequent contact and offering support and guidance to contributors until they feel comfortable with the community and its procedures.
  • Helping newcomers gaining access rights for completing the tasks they are involved in.
  • Gathering feedback on the onboarding experience of new contributors.
  • Holding events (on/off-line) targeted at newcomers, where they can be informed, ask questions, participate in discussions, or even get a chance to get their hands dirty with some tasks.

The welcome team should have/gain a good understanding of the community, its members, projects and procedures and maintain points of contact among the various teams.

If you would like to be part of this team, please leave your name below so we can start working on it.

Any further ideas and comments are more than welcome!

neofytosk triaged this task as Normal priority.
neofytosk updated the task description. (Show Details)Tue, May 15, 8:35 AM
hein added a subscriber: hein.Tue, May 15, 12:04 PM

It's worth noting we have this in a non-formalized way. The Getting Involved pages have always listed mentors you can contact for 1on1 questions (I've responsed to mails due to this for many years).

The link to the Mentoring page is literally the last word of the Getting involved page. I did read the getting involved page (maybe with not too much attention), but I did not reach the mentoring page and did not figured out I could contact a developer directly. Maybe this link can be highlight better somehow?

Few more feedback about seeking for help:

  • I often first try the forum, which works in some cases (scummos always replies fast to problems related to KDevelop for example) and other times works less well (https://forum.kde.org/viewtopic.php?f=305&t=136350)
  • I sometimes try IRC but that does not work very well, because a developer needs to be online at the same time you are online
  • I hate mailing lists, you need to sign up to ask a questions and then yo get flooded with irrelevant emails. These though seems the way developers most like, and usually you get an answer.
  • Been able to contact a mentor/developer directly seems a very good way to get started. Especially I would contact them to ask them where to find the information I need, and who should I contact for the specific project I am working on in case I have specific problems.

If a welcome team is created and this contacts the newcomers instead of waiting to be contacted would work even better.

hein added a comment.Wed, May 16, 9:42 AM

I sometimes try IRC but that does not work very well, because a developer needs to be online at the same time you are online

The best way to use IRC is to stay online, and wait long enough for someone to answer. Most regular IRC users treat the medium as semi-async.

These though seems the way developers most like, and usually you get an answer.

Developers don't particularly like mailing lists, it just has this async property that lets you get to it later.

In T8712#142098, @hein wrote:

It's worth noting we have this in a non-formalized way. The Getting Involved pages have always listed mentors you can contact for 1on1 questions (I've responsed to mails due to this for many years).

Good to know, thanks. In this case, another sub-task here could be to go through these pages and gather this info into a list so we can then form a map of all the people that act as entry points/first line of response for newcomers to the KDE community across its various projects. I'm sure once complete it would be useful in other ways as well.

  • Been able to contact a mentor/developer directly seems a very good way to get started. Especially I would contact them to ask them where to find the information I need, and who should I contact for the specific project I am working on in case I have specific problems.

    If a welcome team is created and this contacts the newcomers instead of waiting to be contacted would work even better.

I'm glad that you find value in this. I think such a team of people could be very valuable in connecting newcomers with experienced members and lessening the steep of the getting involved curve. And yes, we can of course be more proactive in reaching out to people we know are contributing for the first time, I'm sure they would appreciate such a gesture.