#147 Make Fedora-Join default entry-point to help newcomers join the people of Fedora before jumping into tasks/teams
Opened 3 months ago by ankursinha. Modified 5 days ago

We're always working on how to make it easier for new people to join the community. While all teams do have their on-boarding processes, it seems that helping newcomers form links with the people in the community makes it easier for them to then join teams and contribute. So, here's a first draft of a proposal that focuses on helping newcomers become part of the community by meeting its people before they head to join teams, learn what they need to, and contribute.

Welcome-to-fedora.odg
Welcome-to-fedora.png

The general idea is that we funnel all newcomers to the Fedora Join SIG. Let's say Jane wants to join the community and help out!

  1. Jane goes around looking for what they can do. More often than not, Jane will be sent to wcidff and fp.o/join since these pages provide lots of information on what Fedora does.

  2. Instead, we'd like Jane to first head to the Join-SIG and get in touch using any of the communication channels.

  3. Jane introduces themself informally to the Join SIG.

  4. The Join SIG asks Jane to create an FAS account. When this is done, the SIG opens a "Welcome to Fedora, Jane!" ticket for Jane.

  5. Jane is required to introduce themselves on the Join SIG mailing list.

  6. The Join SIG will maintain a tracker FAS group "welcome". The Join SIG adds Jane to this group so they have wikiedit access (and fedorapeople too so they can add their blogs to the planet and so on).

  7. The Join SIG will periodically ping the tracker ticket to check on Jane's progress, and help them when needed. So, instead of the Join SIG being passive as it is now---we wait for people to come ask us for help---we move to a somewhat more active model where we go out and ask people how we can help.

Work that needs to be done:

  • a new FAS group for newcomers
  • a new pagure project for ticketing for newcomers
  • we effectively take over the current "wikiedit" system from infra---one less thing for them to worry about
  • fp.o/wiki/Join to direct newcomers to Join SIG (instead of them reading the page etc---we'll request them to do that after they've spoken to us. Maybe the content of the page can be moved to fp.o/wiki/Join/Roles).
  • the new model, once tweaked and agreed on needs to be dissemintated to the community---we need more folks ready to help out in the Join-SIG
  • maybe an introduction e-mail template for newcomers (I think we already have a few of these)

Hi Ankur, I think it's a fantastic idea. I can say it because, I also want to join fedora community and contribute. But I couldn't because I don't know from where should I start. I tried to start from easy-fix as lot of my know told me to do, but when I tried to do it I feel a bit disconnected, low enthusiastic as if I don't know what I am doing, to whom it may concern.

@ankursinha I love the idea. The work that needs to be done is easy enough for us to do. I was thinking if we can have a separate section for students who will be more willing for GSoC ,GCI, Outreachy, GSoD. Those are specific things that wont interest all others who aren't students. This can be added on the template or somewhere on Join SIG.
Yes, we can probably also say contributors to check out previous Classrooms and let them know about the upcoming classroom by then sending an email where we can reach out to all newcomers.

WDYT?

@ankursinha I love the idea. The work that needs to be done is easy enough for us to do.

+1 I wanted to make small tweaks that are manageable rather than large plans that need lots of resources.

I was thinking if we can have a separate section for students who will be more willing for GSoC ,GCI, Outreachy, GSoD. Those are specific things that wont interest all others who aren't students. This can be added on the template or somewhere on Join SIG.
Yes, we can probably also say contributors to check out previous Classrooms and let them know about the upcoming classroom by then sending an email where we can reach out to all newcomers.
WDYT?

A separate section for students would be good, but I think it'll be better to make "focusing on students" phase 2 of the plan. I.e., we set up the general workflow first, get it working well, and then once that's self-sustaining, we can move on to the special case that is students.

How does that sound?

PS: sorry---I wasn't looking at IRC when you pinged. :(

Hi Ankur, I think it's a fantastic idea. I can say it because, I also want to join fedora community and contribute. But I couldn't because I don't know from where should I start. I tried to start from easy-fix as lot of my know told me to do, but when I tried to do it I feel a bit disconnected, low enthusiastic as if I don't know what I am doing, to whom it may concern.

Please e-mail the list if you haven't already. Lots of us are waiting there to help. Feel free to hang out in the IRC/Telegram channels also. That's where lots of discussions happen that you can jump into and learn from :)

Hi Ankur,

I completely agree with your model. As you know, I'm having some "bumps on the road" to join Fedora Team and your solution is a lot more easier to get in touch with the current team in order to help those newcomers who need some help to settle everything in place.

Hope your idea takes place very soon! ;)

Miguel

Just to add some thoughts to the discussion.
The fact that a person joining the community can't edit the wiki, the feeling is like an obstacle. The first, as soon as he joined the community: "so who tells how many other obstacles there are?" Gaining the right to edit the wiki is pretty simple: file a ticket to infra team on pagure. But for a newcomer it is not so obvious. In addition it is not a well known process. And someone has to tell to file such ticket, like a delegation: you are on your own. Having the possibility for the Join SIG to be more reactive could be a good thing.

I agree that before going to work, a newcomer could feel him/herself more involved and comfortable if he/she start to know people, to talk to someone, to feel free to ask, then he/she start to know the teams, the processes, what's happening around. Indeed, in the case that someone would like to contribute, but he/she doesn't know where, when and how, it is a great thing to stay in a group even if he/she doesn't know what to do. Then, with time, there is always something to do and where someone could be involved.

Thanks for opening this discussion @ankursinha. I am +1 to this idea but I have some feedback on the suggested approach.

We should encourage more 1x1 interactions for folks entering the Fedora community. This helps answer the question of "what now?" in #145. However, I believe there is a balance between formalizing a mentorship process and allowing informal mentorship and guidance to happen organically. My feedback is divided in three parts:

  1. Get more data about entrypoints into community
  2. Preserve Join wiki page with better pointers to Join SIG
  3. Assume one size does not fit all

Entrypoints into community

The flowchart assumes all newcomers to the Fedora community enter through the Join wiki page, but does this accurately capture how people discover and join the Fedora community? Our brainstorming would benefit with more data.

Where do people get interested in contributing to Fedora in the first place? Is the Fedora Join wiki page a catch-all or are there other places to consider where people are introduced into the community? Perhaps a 2-3 question survey sent out on social media could be useful to gain feedback.

Preserve wiki page with better pointers

The Join wiki page and WCIDFF websites are useful for two reasons to me:

  1. Independent exploration for newcomers about how to contribute
  2. Useful for experienced contributors to navigate the community

A 1x1 approach works for some people, but others value this information as a "directory" of the community. Some folks are shy. A text resource like the Join wiki page offers a chance to explore the community before making a serious commitment. I believe text resources should remain visible and accessible for people to discover, but with more emphasis and pointers to the Join SIG to ask a real person for guidance. So once something interests you, the Join SIG is a clear option to ask a friendly group of folks for a tip or guidance.

One size does not fit all

Mailing list introductions and Pagure ticket can be intimidating. Asynchronous chat platforms have something to offer to make joining Fedora less intimidating. There are fewer barriers to entry in saying hello in an IRC/Telegram channel versus writing to a mailing list or Pagure ticket. Who is on the other side of a mailing list or a Pagure ticket tracker? It's a mystery until you hear back. On the other hand, you can hang out in a chat channel without actively participating right away and get to know the active folks in the group.

I have not yet seen many introductions on the Join SIG mailing list over the past couple years, so I wonder if we are creating a process before we have content or people. What are more organic ways to make connections in the community? What about having a conversation with someone over IRC or Telegram?

What do you think?

I love this idea, but have a few minor questions:

  1. Can we drop the "all newcomers" language and instead talk about this being the default entry path. I don't want people to feel like everyone MUST complete this path.
  2. I love making sure that wcidff and the join pages get someone somewhere useful. I have a personal strong feeling that we should eliminate ALL wiki pages in this process. The wiki is full of lots of out of data material. Lets please keep people on docs.fp.o for information so there is less confusion at the beginning.
  3. It is unclear to me why they need a fas group or fedorapeople access. I don't think brand new folks necessarily have to be able to edit our wiki or post to the planet before they have made some decisions about how they want to contribute. This doesn't mean that there won't be exceptions, but I think the default should be for the ticket and ML/etc. contact to help someone connect with the team they will work with, not just grant them access to resources.
  4. I LOVE the idea of creating a welcome ticket for the person. This ticket can help guide them on next steps. Like @jflory7 , I think that intro emails are intimidating (I still hate writing them today). I'd rather see us work toward them doing that by encouraging them to reply to emails first. As an example, many reddit groups have a daily discussion post that tries to encourage newcomers to reply. is this a model that might work that could be shared in a tick list of possible next steps in the welcome ticket? (The love for the welcome ticket is that we train the newcomer in one of our primary task management systems early on.)

Sorry, my English is bad, so I'm unsure if I express my thoughts the right way.

First of all I think that people don't have to mandatory pass through this process.
I mean, if someone is more or less already able to package software, and he want to join the packagers team, or somebody else would like to join the QA team, maybe reading some docs (maybe on wcidff) or because a friend or a colleague is already involved, they could easily jump on the appropriate mailing list and follow the related process to being sponsored and so on. All that without passing through the Join path. It is legit, right?

It is also true that there are people that would like to contribute, but they don't know how, and they have no idea where (the famous statement "I would like to contribute"): here the Join path comes into play.
I also think that it's ok to not just grant them access to resources. But sometime it could be a good sign of welcome. Many times people just want to create their personal page on the wiki, or improve some page (even if the right way is to focus on docs.f.o, and this could be the next step to suggest to a new contributor) even if they don't know where they want to contribute in the near future. Deny this possibility could be frustrating or it could be understood like a "this community is too harsh". So: one step at a time. Let them to join a "temporary" FAS group is a way to show that they are welcome, a little encouragement.

In addition it comes to my mind a couple of examples where people would like to join the translation team, but it seems that many local groups are a little bit inactive (and this is another story) so their request to join the translation team didn't receive any reply for many time. They know where to contribute and they would like to start contributing. But they are stuck waiting, without the ability to do anything, even creating their personal page.
This is another example on how the Join team comes into play: explaining and reassuring (e.g. it's not true that Fedora doesn't want your contributions), contacting the right people, supervising the situation: avoiding that a potential contributor lose interest and passion. Showing that behind all the work there are people and not only tools (wiki, zanata, sites) and machines. Fedora is not only the O.S. but we are a group of people.

Hi Justin,

Thanks for the feedback. Comments inline:

Thanks for opening this discussion @ankursinha. I am +1 to this idea but I have some feedback on the suggested approach.
We should encourage more 1x1 interactions for folks entering the Fedora community. This helps answer the question of "what now?" in #145. However, I believe there is a balance between formalizing a mentorship process and allowing informal mentorship and guidance to happen organically. My feedback is divided in three parts:

We're not looking at any formal mentorship process here. This is basically
because we don't have the man power to run one. Neither do we have the mentors,
nor do we have the man power to administrate such a program.

Get more data about entrypoints into community
Preserve Join wiki page with better pointers to Join SIG
Assume one size does not fit all

Entrypoints into community
The flowchart assumes all newcomers to the Fedora community enter through the Join wiki page, but does this accurately capture how people discover and join the Fedora community? Our brainstorming would benefit with more data.
Where do people get interested in contributing to Fedora in the first place? Is the Fedora Join wiki page a catch-all or are there other places to consider where people are introduced into the community? Perhaps a 2-3 question survey sent out on social media could be useful to gain feedback.
Preserve wiki page with better pointers
The Join wiki page and WCIDFF websites are useful for two reasons to me:

Independent exploration for newcomers about how to contribute
Useful for experienced contributors to navigate the community

A few points to note here:

  • the flow chart does not assume that newcomers enter the community through the join wiki page. I am suggesting that we try and make it so.
  • we do not have the man power to do a survey. Even if we did, who fills it out? Community members---then it wouldn't represent the right population? People outside the community---but then they're first timers and I'm not sure that'll help either.

I like WCIDFF, but I've honestly never been a fan. First, it's unmaintained, as
in the information is not kept up to date. Second, while it's designed to be
fun, I don't think it includes enough information on meeting the people of
Fedora. It takes people to the standard onboarding links for various teams, and
I no longer believe that is the best way to help newcomers to join the
community. WCIDFF is now "just there".

A 1x1 approach works for some people, but others value this information as a "directory" of the community. Some folks are shy. A text resource like the Join wiki page offers a chance to explore the community before making a serious commitment.

But that is the whole point of this proposal: lets forget about them exploring
the tasks of the community using a web page, and lets forget about making people think about making a commitment. Instead, lets just let them hang out with the people of the
community. By doing so, they learn from the people---about tasks, about the
time it takes, about how much fun it is. I think that's a much better way of
learning how Fedora ticks.

We've tried the static pages to document Fedora's roles etc etc. It doesn't
seem to work very well.

I believe text resources should remain visible and accessible for people to discover, but with more emphasis and pointers to the Join SIG to ask a real person for guidance. So once something interests you, the Join SIG is a clear option to ask a friendly group of folks for a tip or guidance.

I don't want to get rid of them, but, I'd like to reverse this order.

First: find the people, get to know them, hang out and have fun.
THEN: find tasks, explore interests, make commitments, learn skills,
contribute.

So suggested narrative: dont' come to the Join SIG to ask how to join a Fedora team. Instead, come to the Join SIG simply because you're interested and would like to hang out to chat. If it interests you enough, maybe you can look at how to join up and contribute.

One size does not fit all

It never does, but given our resources, we cannot provide multiple size options to fit every foot.

Mailing list introductions and Pagure ticket can be intimidating. Asynchronous chat platforms have something to offer to make joining Fedora less intimidating. There are fewer barriers to entry in saying hello in an IRC/Telegram channel versus writing to a mailing list or Pagure ticket. Who is on the other side of a mailing list or a Pagure ticket tracker? It's a mystery until you hear back. On the other hand, you can hang out in a chat channel without actively participating right away and get to know the active folks in the group.

Sure, they don't immediately have to file pagure tickets and send
introductions. These are bits that come into play when they are ready to do
things. They don't need access to any of this until they do.

But, when they do, they need to learn the processes that Fedora users and while telegram is great for chatting, tickets and mailing lists are still the primary tools used to get stuff done. So, it's good to expose newcomers to these early as part of the learning process.

I have not yet seen many introductions on the Join SIG mailing list over the past couple years, so I wonder if we are creating a process before we have content or people. What are more organic ways to make connections in the community? What about having a conversation with someone over IRC or Telegram?

This is what we are trying to address. In spite of the Join SIG being around
for a while now, the current approach is passive---we wait for people to find
it. I'd like to move to a more active approach. Hence funnel people to Fedora
Join.

I love this idea, but have a few minor questions:

Can we drop the "all newcomers" language and instead talk about this being the default entry path. I don't want people to feel like everyone MUST complete this path.

Sure. I'll update the ticket title.

I love making sure that wcidff and the join pages get someone somewhere useful. I have a personal strong feeling that we should eliminate ALL wiki pages in this process. The wiki is full of lots of out of data material. Lets please keep people on docs.fp.o for information so there is less confusion at the beginning.

Sure, but before we discuss this can you clarify what information we're referring to here that we want to keep on docs for new people?

It is unclear to me why they need a fas group or fedorapeople access. I don't think brand new folks necessarily have to be able to edit our wiki or post to the planet before they have made some decisions about how they want to contribute. This doesn't mean that there won't be exceptions, but I think the default should be for the ticket and ML/etc. contact to help someone connect with the team they will work with, not just grant them access to resources.

Sure. As I've replied to @jflory7's comment, all of this only comes in after people express an interest to join. When they do, we'd like to let them create their user page on the wiki for example---that requires CLA+1. CLA+1 currently also gives people access to fedorapeople which is how one gets their blog on the planet. The second isn't as important, but I personally think having a user page on the wiki is quite a critical requirement.

I LOVE the idea of creating a welcome ticket for the person. This ticket can help guide them on next steps. Like @jflory7 , I think that intro emails are intimidating (I still hate writing them today). I'd rather see us work toward them doing that by encouraging them to reply to emails first. As an example, many reddit groups have a daily discussion post that tries to encourage newcomers to reply. is this a model that might work that could be shared in a tick list of possible next steps in the welcome ticket? (The love for the welcome ticket is that we train the newcomer in one of our primary task management systems early on.)

Sure. The welcome ticket can be the starting point with checklist of next steps. Having discussion posts that folks can reply to is great, and we've begun working on this already via welcome e-mails whenever someone joins the ML. However, it'll become a lot easier if we have more community members hanging out in the channels/on the ML. So (looks like I forgot to mention this), an important aspect of this system is encouraging community members to hang out in the join sig. If we don't have enough of them there, no process will help newcomers---not people centred, not task centred.

How does Mindshare work? Are there regular meetings where these tickets are discussed?

Can we timebox this? I know Flock is coming up so everything is very busy. Would first week of September be enough time? That's 5 weeks from now.

@ankursinha I think that timebox is more than reasonable. I suspect there will be conversations at Flock around this and we will be able to move quickly after that.

Regarding user pages .. I am mixed on those but won't block on it.

Regarding docs pages - basically anything that the join sig produces and uses should be on docs.fp.o, imho, not in the wiki. I don't expect Join to own moving every team.

My only concern is about the FAS group, the wiki edit FAS group was created to help newcomers and avoid spam in the wiki. Also, I think this group don't count for the cla+1 process (I need to check) but if this FAS group was designed for this purpose maybe we need to ask for some sponsor privileges unless make a new FAS.

I'm +1 in this ticket

We're entering the last week or so of the timebox. What needs to be done here to proceed? Will mindshare discuss this in a meeting?

My only concern is about the FAS group, the wiki edit FAS group was created to help newcomers and avoid spam in the wiki. Also, I think this group don't count for the cla+1 process (I need to check) but if this FAS group was designed for this purpose maybe we need to ask for some sponsor privileges unless make a new FAS.

We'll make a new FAS that the Fedora Join SIG will look after. We want to take this task away from the infrastructure team and let them focus on the important bits as the CPE team are now trying to do. The "wikiedit" method will be closed.

I'm +1 in this ticket

Regarding docs pages - basically anything that the join sig produces and uses should be on docs.fp.o, imho, not in the wiki. I don't expect Join to own moving every team.

The Join SIG doesn't have any docs really. The only "doc" that we're looking at here is fp.o/wiki/join page.

The Join SIG doesn't have any docs really. The only "doc" that we're looking at here is fp.o/wiki/join page.

What do I point someone at who wants to talk to a human about joining Fedora. They may or may not have an idea yet. If the idea they have is for a group that has a well documented join process, this could be a doc that points them at that. For groups that don't, is join helping here?

The Join SIG doesn't have any docs really. The only "doc" that we're looking at here is fp.o/wiki/join page.

What do I point someone at who wants to talk to a human about joining Fedora. They may or may not have an idea yet.

Under the proposals of this plan, you would point them to fp.o/wiki/Join where this information will reside:

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/SIGs/Join?rd=Fedora_Join_SIG#Communication

If the idea they have is for a group that has a well documented join process, this could be a doc that points them at that. For groups that don't, is join helping here?

No, commops is/was helping groups improve their onboarding processes. The join SIG is mainly targeted for the first user you mentioned---the one that does not have an idea.

Got it.

@ankursinha has the requested approval changed from what we started with? I think we are being asked to approve:

  • a new FAS group for newcomers
  • a new pagure project for ticketing for newcomers
  • Join SIG managing the wikiedit system

Is this right?

Should we add a Join SIG member to Mindshare?

Got it.
@ankursinha has the requested approval changed from what we started with?

No, doesn't look like it.

I think we are being asked to approve:

a new FAS group for newcomers
a new pagure project for ticketing for newcomers
Join SIG managing the wikiedit system

(by deprecating the wikiedit FAS group and using the new FAS group for newcomers instead)

Is this right?

One more:

  • permission to move fp.o/wiki/Join to fp.o/wiki/Roles and put the join sig's info etc on fp.o/wiki/join

Should we add a Join SIG member to Mindshare?

@bt0dotninja and @x3mboy are on the mindshare committee and active in the Join SIG too, so we already have some representation. Were you thinking of a dedicated slot?

@ankursinha
But our seats are about CommOps and Marketing, I think than Join SIG it's very important and needs a seat in Mindshare.

It's not clear why this process requires a new FAS group. Since there's essentially no cleanup that ever happens in FAS, why not just add them to wikiedit? Is the idea to drop people from the welcome group after some time?

I do like the overall idea of a more active approach. It's hard to scale, but I think it will be much more effective at retaining new contributors.

Please note: these are just thoughts.
The result could look the same, but I think that a group name different from wikiedit and dedicated to the newcomers is more compelling. In the sense that wikiedit looks like something merely technical, while something like welcome looks like a group that sounds open: "Hey! Are you lost? Don't worry, you will find your path. If you need help, here we are, in the meanwhile: welcome."

Since this is a mindshare ticket, it's worth talking about something I've spotted with some newcomers: they follow some wiki page or doc in order to join a team/SIG, they introduce themselves to the team (usually in the mailing list, as stated in the Join the whatever team wiki page), but... people are busy, people think that it is not their responsibility to answer to newcomers, people are careless, the team is a bit inactive (many l10n local teams are pretty inactive and FAS admins are no more involved). What happens now? The newcomer waits. Time goes by, and the newcomer could think: "hey! This is an inactive project. People don't consider me. This community doesn't need my contribution."

So, it is true, it is not important to be part of a FAS group, to have access to fedorapeople, to have the right to edit the wiki. First of all, the newcomer contributor needs to learn many things before starting to work on something. But how a newcomer could be tempted to contribute, if the first impression is: "people don't consider me? What I'm doing here?"

It's not clear why this process requires a new FAS group. Since there's essentially no cleanup that ever happens in FAS, why not just add them to wikiedit? Is the idea to drop people from the welcome group after some time?

Yes, the idea is to provide a temporary group for newcomers to get started with---while they learn the Fedora way of doing things and join the teams of their choosing and become "full" contributors. At this time, I wouldnt want to formalise a timeframe after which people would be removed from the temporary group.

I do like the overall idea of a more active approach. It's hard to scale, but I think it will be much more effective at retaining new contributors.

I'm hoping we'll manage to make the process self-sustaining---as is the goal with all our teams, but we'll have to wait and see how that goes and tweak things as we go.

Hello,

What would the next step here be from the Mindshare side of things? Should we (Join) begin working on the related tasks?

@ankursinha
But our seats are about CommOps and Marketing, I think than Join SIG it's very important and needs a seat in Mindshare.

Yes, sure. We intend to report to Mindshare (and the community in general), so this fits with the idea very well.

Cheers!

I think the next step is "blessing". I suggest Join get started - I've not read anyone trying to stop this idea. I am not even sure it needs a vote. Let's discuss just that tonight.

I think the next step is "blessing". I suggest Join get started - I've not read anyone trying to stop this idea. I am not even sure it needs a vote. Let's discuss just that tonight.

Thanks. Should I write up the proposal as a commblog post or something to give the wider community a chance of peeking in?

(Ideally, since this affects the whole community, it should be announced as a "system-wide change", where "system" implies "community" instead of "software")

even if I'm not sure if this ticket needs a vote, I'm +1

So, I've started working on it:

I now need to write a commblog post explaining the new system that we're trying, and write off an e-mail to the mailing list

The landing page that we want to direct newcomers to is here: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Welcome

This should not speak about roles and tasks and tickets. It should speak about the people that make Fedora.

I've drafted a commblog post announcing this to the community. Please take a look to see if I've written it right:

https://communityblog.fedoraproject.org/?p=8223&preview=1&_ppp=0fa8698e28

I've drafted a commblog post announcing this to the community. Please take a look to see if I've written it right:
https://communityblog.fedoraproject.org/?p=8223&preview=1&_ppp=0fa8698e28

I've started a thread in Discourse and will leave comments there as I review the post.

Any additional action needed here? What is our next step?

We are ready, right?
We have this pagure repository: https://pagure.io/fedora-join/Welcome-to-Fedora
Maybe do we have to invite people from different teams to have a look to fedora-join communication channels, in order to eventually provide more detailed answers to people asking for information?

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