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Decide on a concept how to keep "Possible mentors" page on mw.org updated and useful
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Description

I already replaced a good bunch of non-working links on [[mw:Outreach programs/Possible mentors]] but the page is still hopelessly outdated.
But we link to it from various outreach pages.
I consider this a problem.
Let's discuss how to proceed.

Random thoughts:

  • Must clarify the page scope. It says "potential mentors, just for reference" (what reference?) and "if former mentors are missing, just add them". So if this is a historical hall of fame for former mentors, then it should not be called "Possible mentors", really.
  • Check pages on https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:WhatLinksHere/Outreach_programs/Possible_mentors why we link to this page. (Do we only tell students and new devs to get lost on the page, or do we also somewhere tell mentors to add themselves?)
  • Maybe add a link to each mentor's Gerrit activity and some generic sentence like "As mentors are often volunteers, they sometimes have more time and sometimes less time in life. Use the link to check their latest activity" or such? But again: Not all projects use Gerrit.
  • Maybe regularly (once a year? twice?) ping every mentor on the list via email (?) / wiki email (?). Ask them if they are still available (it is fine to state that it is unclear or to remove yourself). Ask them if the description still lists projects which interest them, with links to more information or to general Phabricator queries or such. cf Debian Maintainer Ping.
  • If we kept such a list of users, do we need to encourage mentors to provide 'more' contact info on their user pages, or is current info sufficient?
  • Your thoughts?

Event Timeline

About the fourth idea -- how about a script that collects all user names on the Possible Mentors page and then sends a message to the user talk pages twice a year, checking availability, etc.

Qgil triaged this task as Low priority.Sep 5 2017, 8:06 PM
Qgil added a subscriber: Qgil.

Two questions required to decide what to do with this page:

Nowadays, who uses this page and what for?

Is there a better user for this page in the near future?

Aklapper updated the task description. (Show Details)Sep 6 2017, 10:21 AM

Check which pages link to this page and why.

That's all.

So if we kept this list IMO we should

  • clarify the page scope. Historical "reference" or an actual up-to-date list intended to be useful?
  • If up-to-date, decide what mentor contact info is sufficient (wiki mail only?) and if not "wiki mail only", document what we expect from mentors on their user page
  • If up-to-date, decide whether a link to latest git/gerrit activity would be useful or is a stupid "tracking overkill" thought of mine
  • If up-to-date, explain on top of the page for applicants that mentors might not always be available - real life etc.
  • If up-to-date, set up a process to regularly (every 6 months?) check folks if they are still around and available. Via wiki email or direct email.
  • If up-to-date, document for mentors that we will ping them once or twice a year as we want to keep that list up-to-date and useful

Comments / opinions?

Qgil added a comment.Sep 15 2017, 8:52 AM

If we are pointing newcomers to Featured Projects, then pointing them to "possible mentors" as well is just confusing. I think it makes more sense to focus on Featured Projects, assuring that the list is up to date.

This page could be interesting from a perspective of supporting and promoting technical mentors. In that sense, the work to do is not that different than the work we are doing to support and promote tech ambassadors in their volunteer paths. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Technical_Collaboration/Community_collaboration_in_product_development/Tech_ambassadors_and_translators

+1 to Quim.. expanding below from what I can recall while I worked on the docs:

My sense is that the mentor's list was helpful in the past when for our outreach programs we were directing newcomers to look for mentors who could help them mentor a project on the possible-tech-projects board / elsewhere. The current documentation points to this list, retaining our old concept.

As we've now started to list projects on outreach program pages (like in Outreachy/Round_15), and we/I want to make sure that students only pick projects from this list, as it's easier for them this way... my assumption that the possible mentor's list is adding just an extra step.

But, still the approach we are following right now is new, it might be good to keep the instructions in the docs and the list as they are and check in future rounds if it's of any use in the context of our outreach programs.

Qgil added a comment.Sep 20 2017, 10:03 AM

But, still the approach we are following right now is new, it might be good to keep the instructions in the docs and the list as they are and check in future rounds if it's of any use in the context of our outreach programs.

When it comes to this page, it hasn't been useful for many rounds already...

Well, for the time being, I've split the page into "Possible Mentors" and "Emeritus" sections. (And removed the "bench" analogy I never understood.) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

@Aklapper Emeritus, really? too hard word :P

@srishakatux: Be bold and edit! :) (Thanks!)

For the records, I've sent out an email to most folks listed on that page:

[ACTION NEEDED] Mentoring in Wikimedia Outreach programs: Still available?
I am contacting you because your name is listed on https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Outreach_programs/Possible_mentors . We'd love to make sure that the list is up-to-date and useful.
If you are still available as a mentor:

  • Please check if the description lists projects which still interest you and that it includes links to more information or to corresponding tasks you'd be willing to mentor.
  • Please reply to this email with a short line, like "still available".
  • Please consider mentoring young students in Google Code-in which will start soon: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Google_Code-in/2017

If you are not available anymore as a mentor:

  • Please either move your name to the "Inactive" section below on that page, or reply to this email with a short line like "not available anymore".

Thanks for being (or having been) available to help new contributors!

For the records, I've sent out an email to most folks listed on that page

Results one month later: Lacking replies from yurik, jan, Nischayn22, Antika, saper and Abdeali. Going to ping again (and move to "inactive" at some point if no reply)

I sent a second email to those six folks.

I sent a second email to those six folks.

In https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=Outreach_programs%2FPossible_mentors&action=historysubmit&type=revision&diff=2677988&oldid=2630581 I moved those mentors to the "Inactive" section who did not reply to my emails sent on 27 Oct 2017 and 05 Dec 2017.
I don't think I can currently do more here.

Passing this task to @srishakatux as per T174843#3620108.

Qgil removed a subscriber: Qgil.Dec 27 2018, 9:46 AM

@Aklapper For GSoC/Outreachy, this list is rarely used. In mind, we point potential candidates to this list if they come looking for someone to mentor them on their own idea. But, we've mailing lists as well for that.

If for GCI, we don't use this list a whole lot and it is too much work maintaining it, I don't mind archiving it.