2017-12-12 8:13 GMT+01:00 Ancor Gonzalez Sosa <ancor(a)suse.de>de>:
Last October I was honored to represent openSUSE in
the Google Summer of
Code Mentors Summit. With a huge delay (sorry, but real life got in
the way), here is my event report.
It was kind of fun to incidentally sit in the first
dinner next to
another mentor just to find out she was Bubli, one of my predecessors
at the YaST team, and to find we were not only connected by the past,
but also in the present since she works with another developer from my
island who ended up in Bubli's company through a Rails Girls workshop
that I mentored in Gran Canaria (together with my brother and also
current YaST developer) some years ago. Looks like the six degrees of
separation theory can be reduced to two in the free software world. :-)
3.5 according to Facebook ;)
Lasse Schuirmann also presented the Coala mentoring
page which a
similar philosophy to ours. I grabbed him in the bus after the event and
we discussed about the possibility of joining efforts in the technical
side of things of both mentoring pages. Something to keep in mind in the
He already opened an issue in our mentoring page some time ago,
but basically he wanted that we closed our project and joined his project:
Too be honest, mentoring is such a simple project that I think that
maintaining it doesn't require that much effort. And keeping it separately
allow us to customise it as we want/need.
Retaining students as long time contributors
Very interesting session. Check at  the full notes taken by the
moderator. My own notes follow.
The most important take away: take into account that students usually
don't stick around the project right after GSoC, they rather return
after some time. So keep contact at a "personal" level not related to
the project development itself (social networks, mail, etc.).
Another important thing that we all know but we have to reinforce.
People don't get hooked only by the technical challenge, but rather by
the fellowship feeling. The whole experience should be personally
rewarding and there are two very easy steps for that: provide
recognition and SAY THANKS. Loud and often. Reward them with thinks that
means recognition and responsibility, like committer access to the repo.
I came with the idea of doing some kind of Alumni initiative and turns
out some organizations are already trying something similar.
What do you exactly mean with the Alumni initiative?
We also discussed how to select students that are more
likely to stay.
In short, the students skills is the less important criterion in this
regard. Look for students that feel identified with the mission of the
project and ask as many personal questions as needed to find out that.
On the other hand, experience says that choosing younger students work
better in terms of long relationships, even if they are less skilled and
have less chances of succeeding in GSoC. Youngest students tend to stay
even if they fail and don't get all the money.
Choosing students because of their age, does seems to me like an objective
reason and it is totally discriminatory.
UX round robin
The idea of this session was to use another attendee as "guinea pig"
exposing him/her to the UI of our tool almost with no guidance or
explanation and observing the situation, followed by a brief explanation
to show them features they failed to discover (if any) and get feedback
about why that happened. It was done in a round robin fashion with
developers and guinea pigs rotating and changing their roles.
That's sound really cool
How to manage project spam
I attended this session because we always get several proposals that
looks like a clear copy&paste from some generic template or that comes
from students we have not ever heard about (students are encouraged to
contact the community before sending a proposal document). But I found
out we are far from having a spam problem.
Looks like many organizations receives more than a hundred of such spam
proposals. The most common solution seems to be to establish two lines
of defense, with a group of people doing some screening just to discard
spam, without really comparing the acceptable proposals to each other,
and a second line of real evaluation do decide which proposals to pick
or which students to contact. No better solution was presented and I
hope we will never have such problem.
I remember reading one proposal like that this year, but it was only one and
after 2 minutes reading I had already realised of it. So I also think it is not
That's mainly all. Feel free to ask any question about the event or any
of the sessions or to open the discussion about how to continue any of
the initiatives or relationships bootstrapped during the event.
Thanks a lot for the detailed report! ;)
Ana María Martínez Gómez
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