Let me teach you how to fish!


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This is a presentation I gave at FOSDEM 2011 about mentoring in Free Software projects. It focuses on how to run a mentoring program like Google Summer of Code or Season of KDE.

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  • mentoring is great! why you should make it happen how you can make it happen
  • dedicated as you go
  • GSoC SoK Code-in I've been admin for 4+ years now with 3 other people -> show of hands
  • gain new contributors new enthusiasm in your project new ideas get stuff done you wouldn't otherwise get to teach the ideas behind software freedom publicity for your project focus in your project on making it more friendly and easier to get involved in for everyone -> mindset change that benefits everyone programs like this give structure to new contributors and make them not give up immediately when things get tough
  • good mentors (preferably long-term contributors) good admin publicity interesting tasks with timeline, goals and defined end incentive -> money, tshirt, fame, university credit, ..., right to contribute to your project start small!
  • students submitting their applications/evaluations late students trying to trick you students promising more than they can possibly deliver busy mentors -> only 1 student in first year because of underestimating of time and energy needed -> have back-up plans -> make it clear to students who to go to in case of problems with their mentor urge to accept a lot of students urge to revive dying subteams urge to accept a lot of oldies as a safe bet/known evil -> risk of losing them/them screwing up long-term contributors dropping out due to incentive change -> also win a lot of new ones
  • wrong incentives? intimidation - big names they've admired for years -> encourage to apply -> we're loosing out on brilliant students -> encouragement matters a lot students being too selfconcious about their accomplishments incommunicative students don't let them hide behind their mentor -> need to get them into the community document your processes!
  • show them that you are a great community give them exciting tasks give them publicity and praise their contribution keep them busy for at least a month after your program -> those still active then are most likely to stick with your project for longer make it clear that you expect students from previous years to mentor in the next years
  • Leo: GsoC student for Amarok, 3x mentor, admin Arkash: GsoC student for Kstars, then mentor and maintainer -> gave maintainership to one of his students Chani: GsoC student for Kopete and Plasma, now integral part of the team and pushing activities in KDE Teo: didn't get selected for GsoC -> did SoK -> then 2x GsoC, integral part of the team now Code-in: completed 338 tasks, 86 students SoK: 1, 4, 8 successful projects in the last 3 years
  • Let me teach you how to fish!

    1. 1. Let me teach you how to fish! Lydia Pintscher (lydia@kde.org) photo by billward on flickr
    2. 2. photo by siddylam on flickr What am I going to talk about?
    3. 3. 2 kinds of mentoring photo by pedrosz on flickr
    4. 4. 3 rocking programs photo by emdot on flickr
    5. 5. Why should you do it? photo by kevindooley on flickr
    6. 6. What do you need? photo by Furryscaly on flickr
    7. 7. What should you be aware of? (1) photo by catlovers on flickr
    8. 8. What should you be aware of? (2) photo by e3000 on flickr
    9. 9. How do you keep your students? photo by noelzialee on flickr
    10. 10. a few success stories photo by olduser on flickr
    11. 11. Do it! photo by Emery_Way on flickr
    12. 12. Questions? [email_address] Join us at: conf.kde.in: 9-13 March, Bengaluru, India Camp KDE: 4-5 April, San Francisco, California