Finding a mentor for each newcomer
Open, NormalPublic

Description

I know this sounds audacious, but I can't stress enough the value it has for the new members of our community.

KDE has been mentoring people successfully for years, with great reoccurring examples being Google Summer of Code and Season of KDE.

However, can we make it so that every new contributor can be a candidate for some sort of mentoring if they require it? Or at least try to connect every new member to a more experienced contributor that can offer help when needed. The mentor doesn't have to be one person specifically, newcomers could also be "adopted" by the team they want to join.

Furthermore:

  • Can we broaden our scope to include all points of entry in our community?
  • Can we lessen the gap between experienced contributors and newcomers by connecting them in more ways?
  • What can we do to inspire more members of our community to step up and mentor newcomers?
  • How can we further help people that are already mentoring?

Mentoring can be tough and time consuming, and it can also get frustrating if you work with people that after a while completely loose interest or leave. But at the same time it's a great way to meet new people and get the unique satisfaction of sharing knowledge and actively helping in growing the KDE community.

neofytosk triaged this task as Normal priority.

I like this, but I feel this should be merged into T8712. The welcome team would make this one of their steps for on-boarding a newcomer.

ngraham added a subscriber: ngraham.Sun, Sep 9, 7:14 PM

I like this, but I feel this should be merged into T8712. The welcome team would make this one of their steps for on-boarding a newcomer.

+1

I like this, but I feel this should be merged into T8712. The welcome team would make this one of their steps for on-boarding a newcomer.

This is indeed a good idea, I added it as a subtask of T8712.

A good next step might be creating a formal Phabricator group for this, to which people could add themselves. Then for example we could document that new contributors should add the group as a reviewer for their first patches, which could help make sure that those critical first patches don't get lost and always have someone available who can help. Thoughts?

I like the proposal but do keep in mind we are aiming at more than programmers here. If such a group was formed, we should strive to get every project under KDE having a person in this group we can tag/assign depending on what the newcomer would like to contribute in.

Also remember we have identified two paths from which we get new contributors:

  1. People outside the KDE ecosystem who are looking in general for ways to contribute.
  2. People already close to some KDE project that want to take the step from being a user to becoming contributor.

Obviously a mentor group would be a good way to deal with path 1. But do we want people from the 2nd path passing through this process you describe?
If yes, this would centralize to some extent the path for newcomers and offer us an opportunity to gather useful information on incoming contributors. Plus it will allow us to offer a more common/structured experience to them.
If no, it means we prefer having the projects themselves handling their newcomers and finding ways for these people to get involved within their team. In that case we should be offering some guidelines on how to deal with newcomers and maintain great communication between the welcome team and the projects.

I guess in the end it will be some mixture of both approaches...