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[tc] The future of the "Help most needed" list


Updating the thread since we talked about this quite a bit in the -tc
channel, too [0] (sorry for duplicating across communication mediums!)

TL;DR the usefulness of job descriptions is still a thing. To kick start
that, I proposed an example to the current help wanted list to kick
start what we want our "job descriptions" to look like [1], if we were
to have them.

[0]
http://eavesdrop.openstack.org/irclogs/%23openstack-tc/%23openstack-tc.2019-02-14.log.html#t2019-02-14T16:53:55
[1] https://review.openstack.org/#/c/637025/

On 2/14/19 7:29 AM, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> Colleen Murphy wrote:
>> I feel like there is a bit of a disconnect between what the TC is
>> asking for
>> and what the current mentoring organizations are designed to provide.
>> Thierry
>> framed this as a "peer-mentoring offered" list, but mentoring doesn't
>> quite
>> capture everything that's needed.
>>
>> Mentorship programs like Outreachy, cohort mentoring, and the First
>> Contact SIG
>> are oriented around helping new people quickstart into the community,
>> getting
>> them up to speed on basics and helping them feel good about
>> themselves and
>> their contributions. The hope is that happy first-timers eventually
>> become
>> happy regular contributors which will eventually be a benefit to the
>> projects,
>> but the benefit to the projects is not the main focus.
>>
>> The way I see it, the TC Help Wanted list, as well as the new thing,
>> is not
>> necessarily oriented around newcomers but is instead advocating for the
>> projects and meant to help project teams thrive by getting committed
>> long-term
>> maintainers involved and invested in solving longstanding technical
>> debt that
>> in some cases requires deep tribal knowledge to solve. It's not a
>> thing for a
>> newbie to step into lightly and it's not something that can be solved
>> by a
>> FC-liaison pointing at the contributor docs. Instead what's needed
>> are mentors
>> who are willing to walk through that tribal knowledge with a new
>> contributor
>> until they are equipped enough to help with the harder problems.
>>
>> For that reason I think neither the FC SIG or the mentoring cohort
>> group, in
>> their current incarnations, are the right groups to be managing this.
>> The FC
>> SIG's mission is "To provide a place for new contributors to come for
>> information and advice" which does not fit the long-term goal of the
>> help
>> wanted list, and cohort mentoring's four topics ("your first patch",
>> "first
>> CFP", "first Cloud", and "COA"[1]) also don't fit with the long-term
>> and deeply
>> technical requirements that a project-specific mentorship offering
>> needs.
>> Either of those groups could be rescoped to fit with this new
>> mission, and
>> there is certainly a lot of overlap, but my feeling is that this
>> needs to be an
>> effort conducted by the TC because the TC is the group that advocates
>> for the
>> projects.
>>
>> It's moreover not a thing that can be solved by another list of
>> names. In addition
>> to naming someone willing to do the several hours per week of mentoring,
>> project teams that want help should be forced to come up with a specific
>> description of 1) what the project is, 2) what kind of person
>> (experience or
>> interests) would be a good fit for the project, 3) specific work
>> items with
>> completion criteria that needs to be done - and it can be extremely
>> challenging
>> to reframe a project's longstanding issues in such concrete ways that
>> make it
>> clear what steps are needed to tackle the problem. It should
>> basically be an
>> advertisement that makes the project sound interesting and
>> challenging and
>> do-able, because the current help-wanted list and liaison lists and
>> mentoring
>> topics are too vague to entice anyone to step up.
>
> Well said. I think we need to use another term for this program, to
> avoid colliding with other forms of mentoring or on-boarding help.
>
> On the #openstack-tc channel, I half-jokingly suggested to call this
> the 'Padawan' program, but now that I'm sober, I feel like it might
> actually capture what we are trying to do here:
>
> - Padawans are 1:1 trained by a dedicated, experienced team member
> - Padawans feel the Force, they just need help and perspective to
> master it
> - Padawans ultimately join the team* and may have a padawan of their own
> - Bonus geek credit for using Star Wars references
>
> * unless they turn to the Dark Side, always a possibility
>
>> Finally, I rather disagree that this should be something maintained
>> as a page in
>> individual projects' contributor guides, although we should certainly be
>> encouraging teams to keep those guides up to date. It should be
>> compiled by the
>> TC and regularly updated by the project liaisons within the TC. A
>> link to a
>> contributor guide on docs.openstack.org doesn't give anyone an idea
>> of what
>> projects need the most help nor does it empower people to believe
>> they can help
>> by giving them an understanding of what the "job" entails.
>
> I think we need a single list. I guess it could be sourced from
> several repositories, but at least for the start I would not
> over-engineer it, just put it out there as a replacement for the
> help-most-needed list and see if it flies.
>
> As a next step, I propose to document the concept on a TC page, then
> reach out to the currently-listed teams on help-most-wanted to see if
> there would be a volunteer interested in offering Padawan training and
> bootstrap the new list, before we start to promote it more actively.
>

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