Just proposed - Python Core Mentorship program

by jesse in ,

*wipes the dust off the blog*

*cough* Now that PyCon 2011 is slightly behind us/me - I've managed to eke out time to draft and propose something that's been gnawing at me for some time - proposing a Python-Core mentorship program. You can see the python-dev thread here, but I have also reposted the email below. I'm interested in thoughts/feelings/feedback about the idea.

Hello everyone:

I wanted to take a moment to outline another idea which came out of PyCon 2011 this year from numerous sources - a Python Core Mentorship Program predicated on the idea that Python-Core, and Python as a whole would be served by further lowering the barrier to entry of contribution, and to provide a program to connect new programmers, students, women, and others to experienced Python-Core developers (Mentors).

Brett's revamp of the Dev guide was part one of "secret plan to get more people involved in python-core" - this is another part, but I'm not sure of the numbering scheme.

The mission of the Python Core Mentor Program is to provide an open and welcoming place to connect students, programmers - and anyone interested in contributing to the Python-Core development. This project is based on the idea that the best way to welcome new people into any project is a venue which connects them to mentors who can assist in guiding them through the contribution process, including discussions on lists such as python-dev, and python-ideas, the bug tracker, mercurial, code reviews, etc.

Additionally, mentors will assist in something incredibly critical to maintain contributor interest: getting patches through the process and actually *committed*. We all know - not everyone who is mentor will have all the answers, so mentors also act as conduits to others who will have the answer.

The project itself will (hopefully) be low in time-spent, and largely self-managing. We will start simple with a mailing list (core-mentorship at python.org) where mentors, and those who wish to be mentored or ask questions may do so. This mailing list will have a code of conduct which will help prevent flame wars, or other counterproductive discussions - a code of conduct also makes it clear to mentors what they're agreeing to when they decide to participate.

The new list will also have a closed, members-only archive. After consulting with other core developers, we believe it's easier to ask questions when you don't have to worry about Google picking up your words from a public archive. We want to make this list a resource for people to be able to get started, ask "silly" questions, and so on - our goal is to turn anyone who wishes to be into an active, sustainable committer to Python.

Mentors will be asked to answer questions - but also assist people in need of help with discussions on the mailing lists and bug tracker (conversations on which could have become contentious or stressful) and generally to be advocates for the people being mentored. For example - if a person submits a patch to the tracker, the mentor list may help them through initial code reviews, or discussions with other core developers. The job is to act as an experienced proxy for them.

The first step to this project is to ask for volunteer mentors - people who are willing to help answer questions on the list, and generally guide people as needed being as friendly and courteous and welcoming as possible.

If you are interested in being a mentor - or have feedback about this plan in general, please feel free to reach out to me (jnoller at gmail.com) directly. My goal, once this is setup, is to have the project largely self-managing, with the PSF helping to market it to the community as a whole.



Update: We've launched, and we're doing well - check out this post right here for more information and the code of conduct.