Summary of Enabling New Contributors Brainstorm Session

Photo of Video Chat
So today we had a pretty successful brainstorm about enabling new contributors in Fedora! Thank you to everyone who responded my call for volunteers yesterday – we were at max capacity within an hour or two of the post! 🙂 It just goes to show this is a topic a lot of folks are passionate about!
Here is a quick run-down of how it went down:

Video Conference Dance

We tried to use OpenTokRTC but had some technical issues (we were hitting an upper limit and people were getting booted, and some folks could see/hear some but not others. So we moved onto the backup plan – BlueJeans – and that worked decently.

Roleplay Exercise: Pretend You’re A Newbie!

Watch this part of the session starting here!
For about the first 30 minutes, we brainstormed using a technique called Understanding Chain to roleplay as if we were new contributors trying to get started in Fedora and noting all of the issues we would run into. We started thinking about how would we even begin to contribute, and then we started thinking about what barriers we might run up against as we continued on. Each idea / thought / concept got its own “sticky note” (thanks to Ryan Lerch for grabbing some paper and making some large scale stickies,) I would write the note out, Ryan would tack it up, and Stephen would transcribe it into the meeting piratepad.
Photo of the whiteboard with all of the sticky notes taped to it.

Walkthrough of the Design Hubs Concept Thus Far

Watch this part of the session starting here!
Next, I walked everyone through the design hubs concept and full set of mockups. You can read up more on the idea at the original blog post explaining the idea from last year. (Or poke through the mockups on your own.)
Screenshot of video chat: Mo explaining the Design Hubs Concept

Comparing Newbie Issues to Fedora Hubs Offering

Watch this part of the session starting here!
We spent the remainder of our time wakling through the list of newbie issues we’d generated during the first exercise and comparing them to the Fedora Hubs concept. For each issue, we asked these sorts of questions:

  • Is this issue addressed by the Fedora Hubs design? How?
  • Are there enhancements / new features / modifications we could make to the Fedora Hubs design to better address this issue?
  • Does Fedora Hubs relate to this issue at all?

We came up with so many awesome ideas during this part of the discussion. We had ideas inline with the issues that we’d come up with during the first exercise, and we also had random ideas come up that we put in their own little section on the piratepad (the “Idea Parking Lot.”)
Here’s a little sampling of ideas we had:

  • Fedorans with the most cookies are widely helpful figures within Fedora, so maybe their profiles in hubs could be marked with some special thing (a “cookie monster” emblem???) so that new users can find folks with a track record of being helpful more easily. (A problem we’d discussed was new contributors having a hard time tracking down folks to help them.)
  • User hub profiles can serve as the centralized, canonical user profile for them across Fedora. No more outdated info on wiki user pages. No more having to log into FAS to look up information on someone. (A problem we’d discussed was multiple sources for the same info and sometimes irrelvant / outdated information.)
  • The web IRC client we could build into hubs could have a neat affordance of letting you map an IRC nick to a real life name / email address with a hover tool tip thingy. (A problem we’d discussed was difficulty in finding people / meeting people.)
  • Posts to a particular hub on Fedora hubs are really just content aggregated from many different data sources / feeds. If a piece of data goes by that proves to be particularly helpful, the hub admins can “pin” it to a special “Resources” area attached to the hub. So if there’s great tutorials or howtos or general information that is good for group members to know, they can access it on the team resource page. (A problem we’d discussed was bootstrapping newbies and giving them helpful and curated content to get started.)
  • Static information posted to the hub (e.g. basic team metadata, etc.) could have a set “best by” date and some kind of automation could email the hub admins every so often (every 6 months?) and ask them to re-read the info and verify if it’s still good or update it if not. (The problem we’d discussed here was out-of-date wiki pages.)
  • Having a brief ‘intake questionnaire’ for folks creating a new FAS account to get an idea of their interests and to be able to suggest / recommend hubs they might want to follow. (Problem-to-solve: a lot of new contributors join ambassadors and aren’t aware of what other teams exist that could be a good place for them.)

There’s a lot more – you can read through the full piratepad log to see everything we came up with.
Screenshot of video chat discussion

Next Steps

Watch this part of the session starting here!
Here’s the next steps we talked about at the end of the meeting. If you have ideas for others or would like to claim some of these items to work on, please let me know in the comments!

  1. We’re going to have an in-person meetup / hackfest in early June in the Red Hat Westford office. (mizmo will plan agenda, could use help)
  2. We need a prioritized requirements list of all of the features. (mizmo will work on this, but could use help if anybody is interested!)
  3. The Fedora apps team will go through the prioritized requirements list when it’s ready and give items an implementation difficult rating.
  4. We should do some resarch on the OpenSuSE Connect system and how it works, and Elgg, the system they are using for the site. (needs a volunteer!)
  5. We should take a look at the profile design updates to StackExchange and see if there’s any lessons to be learned there for hubs. (mizmo will do this but would love other opinions on it.)
  6. We talked about potentially doing another video chat like this in late April or early May, before the hackfest in June.
  7. MOAR mockups! (mizmo will do, but would love help :))

How to Get Involved / Resources

So we have a few todos listed above that could use a volunteer or that I could use help with. Here’s the places to hang out / the things to read to learn more about this project and to get involved:

Please let us know what you think in the comments! 🙂

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