Discussion:
Q to Chris: create our own outreach initiative
(too old to reply)
Lucas Nussbaum
2017-03-16 10:48:28 UTC
Permalink
Hi,
Thirdly, I will create our own outreach initiative. The Outreachy project has
been incredibly successful both in involving new developers under-represented
in free software but also as a marketing coup for the GNOME project. Whilst a
Debian-specific enterprise could not be as comprehensive, it would give us more
flexibility in the manner of contributions as well as underline Debian's
dedication to "universality" in all its forms with the public at large.
Could you give more details? How would that work? How much would you be
involved as DPL?

I must say that I have a lot of doubts about such programs. One thing I value
in Debian is that, when working on Debian, we can mostly forget who is the
employer of contributors, and focus on doing what's right for Debian (which is
also a way of ensuring that our actions are aligned with our priorities). It
might kill a lot of fun for me if other contributors were Debian employees.

What kind of limits or safety mechanisms do you think should be implemented to
ensure that this program does not turn into Dunc Tank 2 ?

I'm also a bit surprised that you qualify Outreachy as a "marketing coup for
the GNOME project". Could you elaborate on that? Surely in OPW times, GNOME was
prominently mentioned, but they also did a lot of work. I'm really not sure
that Debian should "fork" Outreachy. Also, I wonder what blockers you have in
it would give us more flexibility in the manner of contributions as well as
underline Debian's dedication to "universality" in all its forms with the
public at large."
and whether getting Outreachy to change to address those blockers would be a
better option.

Lucas
Chris Lamb
2017-03-17 17:33:50 UTC
Permalink
Dear Lucas,
Thirdly, I will create our own outreach initiative. The Outreachy project has
been incredibly successful both in involving new developers under-represented
in free software but also as a marketing coup for the GNOME project.
I wouldn't want to set in stone nor dictate exactly how a program would work
without further input and consultation but I see no reason why it could not
follow the generally established pattern of matching mentors and candidates
with some modest stipend available for the student.

This would certainly be an area where delegation would be incredibly useful.
Indeed, I've already had private offers of help from both inside and outside
the Debian project on this area.
One thing I value in Debian is that, when working on Debian, we can mostly
forget who is the employer of contributors […] It might kill a lot of fun
for me if other contributors were Debian employees.
I understand your concern. I, too, would feel a lot of fun disappear from
Debian in such a environment. :/

However, I think such fears are overblown; the number of students would never
be so great to swamp others' work and the scope of the individual projects
would naturally limit any real change in the balance as would the level of
renumeration. The mentor/student relationship would also set the tone of
interactions with the rest of the project. Futhermore, Debian has had years
of experience incorporating GSOC and Outreachy students without it coming
close to feeling like a Dunc Tank 2.
I'm also a bit surprised that you qualify Outreachy as a "marketing coup for
the GNOME project". Could you elaborate on that? Surely in OPW times, GNOME was
prominently mentioned, but they also did a lot of work.
You might actually be raising a good point in my favour without realising
it :) Outreachy is not even affiliated with the GNOME project anymore. As
I understand it, there's no GNOME branding affiliated with it anymore
except for the infrastructure, which Conservancy working to move away
from… yet the general perception IME is that it's "GNOME Outreachy",
showing how being the title/original sponsor is extremely powerful and,
perhaps, worth a slight overlap of efforts.


Best wishes,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
Lucas Nussbaum
2017-03-17 20:53:25 UTC
Permalink
Hi Chris,
Post by Chris Lamb
One thing I value in Debian is that, when working on Debian, we can mostly
forget who is the employer of contributors […] It might kill a lot of fun
for me if other contributors were Debian employees.
I understand your concern. I, too, would feel a lot of fun disappear from
Debian in such a environment. :/
However, I think such fears are overblown; the number of students would never
be so great to swamp others' work and the scope of the individual projects
would naturally limit any real change in the balance as would the level of
renumeration. The mentor/student relationship would also set the tone of
interactions with the rest of the project. Futhermore, Debian has had years
of experience incorporating GSOC and Outreachy students without it coming
close to feeling like a Dunc Tank 2.
You use "students" here. This word wasn't in your platform (well, not
in the context of the outreach initiative). GSOC has a requirement that
mentees are students. Outreachy doesn't.

Outreachy has a requirement that you can only participate once. GSOC
doesn't (TTBOMK).

One requirement that was discussed in the past (but never agreed on) was
that Debian GSOC students should not already be Debian contributors, or
Debian Developers.

The bottom line being, it seems, the question of whether those programs
should be used mainly to recruit new contributors, or mainly to get
things done.

I'm wondering where you stand on these questions. I welcome the fact
that you want to keep an open mind, but at the same time, it would be
useful to know your gut feeling about those before electing you as our
Leader :)
Post by Chris Lamb
I'm also a bit surprised that you qualify Outreachy as a "marketing coup for
the GNOME project". Could you elaborate on that? Surely in OPW times, GNOME was
prominently mentioned, but they also did a lot of work.
You might actually be raising a good point in my favour without realising
it :) Outreachy is not even affiliated with the GNOME project anymore. As
I understand it, there's no GNOME branding affiliated with it anymore
except for the infrastructure, which Conservancy working to move away
from… yet the general perception IME is that it's "GNOME Outreachy",
showing how being the title/original sponsor is extremely powerful and,
perhaps, worth a slight overlap of efforts.
I see your point, but I'm more of the opinion that if GNOME, and then
Conservancy, are doing something well, it might be better to join forces
and help them make it even better, rather than duplicate efforts. But
well, OK.

Lucas
Chris Lamb
2017-03-19 09:16:16 UTC
Permalink
Hi Lucas,
Post by Lucas Nussbaum
the number of students would never be so great to swamp others' work
You use "students" here. This word wasn't in your platform
Apologies for the lack of clarity; I was meaning students in the more
general sense of a teacher-student relationship, not that they are
enrolled as a student at a school or university.

(Whether we would copy the GSOC restriction of requiring participants to
be "true" students is an open question, although my gut feeling is that
it is not necessary.)
Post by Lucas Nussbaum
The bottom line being, it seems, the question of whether those programs
should be used mainly to recruit new contributors, or mainly to get
things done.
My strong feeling is that they should be used to recruit new contributors.

I believe this approach is superior as it is more likely to frame the
interaction between the project and the student as an ongoing relationship,
rather than a shorter-term or transactional affair limited only to the
scope of the proposal.


Regards,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
martin f krafft
2017-03-25 12:09:12 UTC
Permalink
Mehdi, there's a question stemming out of context below

Post by Chris Lamb
yet the general perception IME is that it's "GNOME Outreachy",
showing how being the title/original sponsor is extremely powerful
and, perhaps, worth a slight overlap of efforts.
The canonical website for mentors and students is also
https://www.gnome.org/outreachy/ 


I am not writing this to back up Chris' point. I've only caught
a glimpse of what outreach work entails, and I'd be really careful
just forking that. Instead, I'd hope to see us (a) embracing
outreach more throughout the project (not just making a sub-project
for it), and (b) then working with Outreachy to ensure that our
cooperation reaches the level of flexibility required for Debian.

Relating to this, I have a few questions, and if Mehdi is reading
along, I'd love to hear his thoughts too:

- What does "outreach" mean to you?

- Let's not ask "why is it important", but rather: what potentials
are there for Debian in furthering outreach initiatives?

- Can you identify areas in Debian where we're already doing
a good job?

- What are the obstacles that keep us in other areas?

- What do you think are the low-hanging fruits regarding outreach?

- What are some concrete steps you'd like to see happen ASAP?
--
.''`. martin f. krafft <***@d.o> @martinkrafft
: :' : proud Debian developer
`. `'` http://people.debian.org/~madduck
`- Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems

"one should never do anything that
one cannot talk about after dinner."
-- oscar wilde
Chris Lamb
2017-03-26 15:48:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by martin f krafft
What does "outreach" mean to you?
I fear I have a pretty mainstream interpretation of outreach; ie.
specifically "targeting" (or at least calling the attention of) groups
we perceive to be under-represented in our community and streamlining
their initial involvement in our project.

However, in Debian I believe this extends beyond gender etc. but also
with respect to geographic location, race, socio-economic background
and political outlook. It might be fair to say we remain somewhat of
a European project in both senses of that word.

Including folks that our outside of our norms are a huge potential for
Debian, not only in crude terms such as the untapped humanpower and the
technical ideas that were potentially outside of our point of view, it
simply makes the project more social, fun and enjoyable. Not only that,
how many times have you heard of Debian being (ab?)used in a some
unexpected context and thought "Huh, I feel pretty proud to have had a
small hand in that…".

I think we're doing a pretty good job already and this is helped by
being a rather anarchistic project to begin with — we appear to attract
a wider mix of people who like our approach to building things versus the
more "top-down" distributions.

We do, however, lack clear "next steps" in this area which cause me some
concern. As an illustration of this, I remember attending a Debian BoF
where there was universal agreement that diversity was a good thing but
when prompted with a question of "OK, so what shall we do?" there was
little advice beyond being welcoming, etc. being exchanged.

Without addressing this, we could end up simply paying lip service to the
concept to the detriment of all.


Regards,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
Laura Arjona Reina
2017-03-26 16:48:58 UTC
Permalink
Hi Chris
Post by Chris Lamb
Post by martin f krafft
What does "outreach" mean to you?
I fear I have a pretty mainstream interpretation of outreach; ie.
specifically "targeting" (or at least calling the attention of) groups
we perceive to be under-represented in our community and streamlining
their initial involvement in our project.
However, in Debian I believe this extends beyond gender etc. but also
with respect to geographic location, race, socio-economic background
and political outlook. It might be fair to say we remain somewhat of
a European project in both senses of that word.
Sorry I didn't understand the "both senses" of European. I can imagine
geographically and... culturally? Could you clarify?

Thanks
Post by Chris Lamb
Including folks that our outside of our norms are a huge potential for
Debian, not only in crude terms such as the untapped humanpower and the
technical ideas that were potentially outside of our point of view, it
simply makes the project more social, fun and enjoyable. Not only that,
how many times have you heard of Debian being (ab?)used in a some
unexpected context and thought "Huh, I feel pretty proud to have had a
small hand in that…".
I think we're doing a pretty good job already and this is helped by
being a rather anarchistic project to begin with — we appear to attract
a wider mix of people who like our approach to building things versus the
more "top-down" distributions.
We do, however, lack clear "next steps" in this area which cause me some
concern. As an illustration of this, I remember attending a Debian BoF
where there was universal agreement that diversity was a good thing but
when prompted with a question of "OK, so what shall we do?" there was
little advice beyond being welcoming, etc. being exchanged.
Without addressing this, we could end up simply paying lip service to the
concept to the detriment of all.
Regards,
--
Laura Arjona Reina
https://wiki.debian.org/LauraArjona
Chris Lamb
2017-03-26 16:57:18 UTC
Permalink
Hi Laura,
Post by Laura Arjona Reina
It might be fair to say we remain somewhat of a European project in
both senses of that word.
Sorry I didn't understand the "both senses" of European. I can imagine
geographically and... culturally? Could you clarify?
Geographically and culturally indeed. :) "Western", might be another way
of saying it.
Post by Laura Arjona Reina
Even promoting fortnightly social meetups that are more — how can I put
it? — "IPA" than "ITP" would be really beneficial to the project.
What do IPA and ITP mean in this context?
ITP is "Intent To Package", ie. the prefix and categorisation of bugs we
send to debian-devel prior to uploading a new package. IPA is India pale
ale, a style of beer.

In other words, promoting meetups that are more social than technical; we
don't always have to have our heads in a laptop. Apologies that this was
unclear in my original message.


Regards,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
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