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Old 07-11-2010, 06:21 PM
inode0
 
Default How to be a successful contributor

On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 10:37 AM, Jeroen van Meeuwen
<kanarip@kanarip.com> wrote:
> Mike McGrath wrote:
>> With the help of some others I've put this document together:
>>
>> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_be_a_Successful_Contributor
>>
>> I intend on having it be required reading for new members of the
>> Infrastructure team as part of our GettingStarted page. *I thought I'd
>> mention it here in case others would like to make it part of their sign up
>> process.
>>
>> Questions / comments welcome.
>>
>
> Reading this page for the first time...
>
> It looks like a better title would be:
>
> *"How to *become* a successful contributor"

No objection. It is about becoming a contributor.

> Further, the page isn't written very well; Who thinks it's suitable to say to
> a new, potential contributor:
>
> *"It is your job to ..."
>
> *"This step is both incredibly difficult and important."
>
> *"The single biggest mistake new contributors make"
>
> It just sounds way too negative, and I'm thinking for a prominent page to be
> put in front of many new, potentially very valuable contributors, it should be
> motivating, a brochure to close the sale.

Well, honestly, it is very easy to motivate potential contributors. In
the Ambassador program that you seem to think is a good model we
reject over 90% of those we attract. Most of that failure seems to be
related to incoming people not being grounded in reality and not
having reasonable expectations.

> So, in effect, where we say "incredibly difficult to find a mentor", what we
> should be asking ourselves is "why is it difficult to find a mentor and more
> importantly, what can we do about it?". A solution as simple as a wiki page
> listing mentors and their location (physical proximity helps) might just solve
> that problem.

We have been asking those questions too. Aren't they what motivated
the new Ambassador mentoring program? Other groups have also been
struggling with those questions. The common theme across groups seems
to be an overwhelming failure rate, even for groups that do mentoring.

We can thank the volunteer mentors for the help they give to
successful new contributors. We need to also respect their time and do
what we can to greatly reduce the failure rate. The 9 in 10 who don't
pan out bring with them a cost that piles up.

Having one document for potential contributors to read that gives them
a realistic expectation of what lies ahead really shouldn't discourage
many who fall into the small pool of candidates that become active
contributors. But it might help dissuade the majority who are either
coming to us for the wrong reason or who don't really have the
commitment necessary to succeed.

John
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:17 PM
Jon Stanley
 
Default How to be a successful contributor

On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 2:21 PM, inode0 <inode0@gmail.com> wrote:

> Having one document for potential contributors to read that gives them
> a realistic expectation of what lies ahead really shouldn't discourage
> many who fall into the small pool of candidates that become active
> contributors. But it might help dissuade the majority who are either
> coming to us for the wrong reason or who don't really have the
> commitment necessary to succeed.

+1000. I actually have read the document many times, and feel that it
very successfully captures what is *required* to become a successful
contributor. It is worded a bit harsh, but as Mike said, harsh is the
reality that we live in. I also don't think the problem (if you want
to call it that, it's the best word I could come up with, but probably
not the right one) is limited to just Fedora - this document could
broadly apply to *any* FOSS project out there. Perhaps some details
would need to be tweaked, but the basic premise would be the same.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:58 AM
Bruno Wolff III
 
Default How to be a successful contributor

On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 12:46:43 -0500,
Mike McGrath <mmcgrath@redhat.com> wrote:
>
> As far as sounding negative. It's really hard to join the project right
> now. New contributors make mistakes. It is the volunteers job to do
> certain things. It's worded that way because that's how things work.
> Sure, it'd be great to wave a magic wand and have it super easy for people
> to do whatever they want whenever they want but that's not the Fedora
> Project we're in today. AFAIK no one has that project.

We have sort of a related problem with the Spins SIG. We want to get someone
to volunteer to be the Spins Wrangler. But after not getting any responses,
we thought about it and noticed that we didn't even have any collected
documentation on what the job is supposed be. So we are developing some now
in the hope that people or more likely to volunteer for something if they
know what they are volunteering to do.
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:16 PM
Stephen John Smoogen
 
Default How to be a successful contributor

On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 10:36 AM, Greg DeKoenigsberg
<greg.dekoenigsberg@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 11:54 AM, susmit shannigrahi
> <thinklinux.ssh@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> > So, in effect, where we say "incredibly difficult to find a mentor",
>> > what we
>> > should be asking ourselves is "why is it difficult to find a mentor and
>> > more
>> > importantly, what can we do about it?". A solution as simple as a wiki
>> > page
>> > listing mentors and their location (physical proximity helps) might just
>> > solve
>> > that problem.
>>
>>
>>
>> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Ambassadors_Join_choose_a_mentor#Regional_Ambassad or_Mentors
>>
>> Such listings for important teams will be very helpful for new people.
>> On the other hand, mentors *will* be inundated by mentoring requests.
>> So, a balanced approach, such as a task list as a first filter and
>> then proceeding with mentoring may be suitable.
>
> We've tried this approach in the past -- but mentor/mentee relationships are
> a lot more complex than one party saying "hey, will you be my mentor?" and
> the other party saying "sure."
>
> I think that if we look closely at Fedora, we will find that most mentorship
> is organic, and arises when a busy mentor sees an opportunity to offload
> work to someone who has shown an aptitude for that same work.* But the
> "mentee" first has to demonstrate that aptitude.
>
> I continue to think that concentrating on ideas like OpenHatch is the way to
> go.* Focus on the work, and the mentorship will follow.* It's way easier to
> mentor someone when they say "I'm trying to do X, and when I do Y, Z
> happens, why isn't it doing Q?" is way easier than mentoring someone when
> they say "hi, I want to be a contributor, what do I do now?"

Hmmm I don't think I had ever heard of OpenHatch
https://openhatch.org/ before this.. which I think is part of the
beginning contributor problem: I might want to start something, but
where in the world do I start? The internet is very very huge so you
end up going to places via word of mouth..Iif all your friends say oh
I hang out on Ubuntu then you will probably go there... If my friends
told me openhatch you would go there... in our smattering of cases we
have people end up at Fedora looking for things.

To possibly take Greg's boat and tack it into a different direction...
mentor relationships work differently in different areas. In the
ambassadorship world you are doing sales... and you want to make sure
the people you are selling the product are looking at long term goals
versus short term gains. In that case a strong 1:1 starting
relationship works very well.

The system administrations world is a lot like plumbing and
electrical work. If you get plumbers from two different trade schools
working on a building you end up with a lot of clogged toilets..
because each has their own idea of where air releases should go etc.
The same happens with systems administration, slap together one set of
application layouts with another and poof 2 am pages that no one
understands.

Development on the other hand is much more like Zen monks. A good
developer looks at the 'virtual universe' and finds their place of Zen
in it. Put your school in the city and you will have a thousand
students at your door who take up your time and all seem to fail. Put
your school at the top of a mountain, and only those who really wanted
to learn make it there and while they may fail.. you arent as bothered
. In the end though, most of the teaching of a developer at that
point is pointing out the point where enlightenment might occur.

So to conclude, I do not believe there is going to be any one method
for groups to follow. However since Fedora's brand is really
"Developer development" the Zen Monk method might make more sense to
put resources in.

> --g
>
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>



--
Stephen J Smoogen.
“The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance.”
Randy Nelson, President of Pixar University.
"We have a strategic plan. It's called doing things.""
— Herb Kelleher, founder Southwest Airlines
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