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Re: Feedback from current mentees


Hi there, I'm one of those mentes who got confused and lost interest in the
mentorship program (although I'm still very interested in helping out with
Ubuntu and with triaging -I've organizated a UGJ locally). And even when I
know I've no right to demand anything, since every people who is here just
do it for fun or pleasure, I'd like to share the experience in hope to
improve it and to not terminate such a wonderful idea.

When I heard for the first time about the mentoring a thought it could
something much more 'easy to follow', I mean I expected private talks for
the group (somekind the UDW), todo lists, exercises and so on. I know this
may sounds lame because I basically expected that the mentors could be
'teachers' who could give us lots of tips and assign us at first, easy tasks
and from there, we could have started to move forward. Now I know they
expected the same from us, they wanted we *for ourselves* find our way to
start triaging and just ask for precise questions, but in that case, I would
just do it for IRC (it's faster, and people is always willing to help,
they've answered my questions every time).

So I thing the right thing to do (at least for a mentoring program), is to
have a specific shedule (where it could be showed how long could take
different stages (1 week for reading documentation, 1 week for working on
specific bugs -where everybody could work on the same type to get in touch
between us and talk about the same topics, after 2 weeks or something like
that we could start to triage X bugs for week, etc). I thing a mentoring
program can be rigid, because if we enroll ourselves to a mentoring program
is because we really have no idea where to start or still don't have
favorite packages, if we already knew what we want we will just jump into
the IRC channels to ask questions. It's just my idea.

I think we could had had a stadistic page who could had showed us how well
we were doing and assign points or something to keep us motivated, just
while we reached the scape velocity to get enough confidence to continue for
ourselves, in which case we would just start to hanging out in the IRC
channel, and the mentoring program could start another cicle.

On Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM, C de-Avillez <hggdh2@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I sent an email to the mentorship-alpha team on Sep 8th:
> "We would like to have the feedback of the current mentees:
> 1. What are you doing now in regard to the mentorship programme?
> 2. Since you started, how many bugs have you worked on? Give an
> estimate -- 1, 10, 100, 1000, etc.
> 3. What did you expect from the mentorship programme? Please be as
> detailed as possible.
> 4. What did you *get* from the mentorship programme? Again, please
> be as detailed as poosible.
> I intend to query LP for the activities of each of your, as another
> datum we will use for analysis."
> This team, currently, has 17 active members: 10 mentors, and 7 mentees.
> I received 5 responses from mentees to the email; a summary follows:
> * of the five, 1 has worked on 100-200 bugs, one did not specify, and 3
> have worked on 10 or less bugs;
> * All comment (or agree with somebody else's comment) that the mentorship
> process is confused;
> * there is an expectation of a more active involvement from the mentors;
> * documentation should be pointed out (my words);
> * the sheer amount of bugs and packages involved makes startup more
> challenging;
> * there is need for a communications venue (mailing list, etc).
> * mentors should be more proactive (as opposed to basically reactive, as of
> now).
> I agree and disagree (as, I guess, could be expected) with these positions;
> right now, though, I do agree that the programme needs to be reviewed, and
> either adjusted or terminated. Here it is why, in no specific order:
> 1. there is a confusing message we pass over everywhere: "triaging is
> easy", "this is how you start, then you go to more difficult things, like
> development", etc.
> These are very wrong messages to pass.
> To begin with, triaging is NOT easy: one must understand the program being
> used, sieve the actual issue out of an usually confusing babble, decide if
> it is indeed a bug, verify documentation attached, etc, etc, etc. Secondly,
> there are thousands of packages; even if one restricts work to a few of
> them, it will still be a daunting task. Add to the above all the packaging
> details, interaction with multiple -- and some rather different --
> upstreams, and we have the perfect recipe for the confusion the mentees
> allude to.As the cream on the top, add the common difficulties of dealing
> with people that are aggressive, or lack communication skills, or that what
> they state is lost in translation.
> 2. There is another miscommunication going on: although we did state on the
> welcoming email, that the mentorship-alpha ML was one media to be used, we
> do not see much from mentees, neither on the ML, nor on IRC.
> 3. we have very few requirements on accepting a mentee; most importantly, I
> think we miss a critical requirement: the mentee *must* work on bugs; not
> doing so will be delaying access to other to-be mentees.
> 4. I still think the ML is a good idea; I think most of the folks beginning
> here are afraid (or, perhaps better, worried of being considered incapable)
> if they ask "dumb" questions. So, a ML that is restricted to those in the
> same boat should help. But it still seems not to work... perhaps we need to
> make it crystal clear that there are no such thing as a dumb question, and
> that we all were born ignorant.
> 5. We also need to make it crystal clear that when we give an opinion, this
> opinion is (more often than not) correct. As an example, some old mentees I
> had wanted to start by working on complex packages -- Evolution, the kernel,
> etc --, of which they had no experience. Although I tried to be very clear
> that these were potentially complex issues, and more experience would be
> needed, they usually would not listen... and I had, then, to correct
> mistakes, and smooth feathers; perhaps this should be more clear, this
> message "start with something you use and understand (as long as it is not
> Firefox or Evolution, or X)".
> 6. We should look again at the documentation pages we have for triaging;
> there certainly are thing we can Make Better(TM), since it is difficult for
> starting people, in general, to find and follow them.
> 7. Somehow, we need a more active mentorship. I am unsure on what we can
> do, though...
> This is it, for now. I am pretty sure I will keep on thinking about it, and
> I may send additional emails later.
> Cheers,
> ..C..
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