dc11 - 1.0


Asheesh Laroia
Day DebConf Day 4 (2011-07-29)
Room Round room
Start time 15:00
Duration 00:45
ID 777
Event type lecture
Track Debian ⁄ Society
Language en

Reports from changing the debian-mentors culture

You win some, you lose some

The debian-mentors list is most of what new contributors see in Debian; it is where they send "Request For Sponsorship" emails and get help with package questions. This talk discusses the culture of that mailing list, and the past year's successes and failures in improving package review and decreasing unanswered threads. It also includes suggestions based on review processes used by other projects.

In the past year, I have been attempting to improve the culture of the Debian mentors email list in a few ways:

  • With Niels Thykier, we attempted to answer all debian-mentors emails within four days.
  • With a team of contributors like Andrey Rahmatullin, I have been working on the Debexpo software replacement for mentors.debian.net.
  • Debian-Women organized a "Build it" event to make people aware of their opportunities to contribute to Debian.

These strategies have had some success. I will discuss specifically:

  • Mailing list metrics that show the "Four days" experiment worked, and then dropped off; and how we can create lasting change,
  • The highly transparent and participatory Maemo package review system,
  • What to celebrate about "Build it" (such as the attendee count), what other outreach events we can run, and ideas on how to retain those participants.

I am also quite interested in feedback from other participants in the debian-mentors list as to what cultural aspects need change, and how we can make that happen.