[Python-Dev] Python Core Mentorship program

Jesse Noller jnoller at gmail.com
Fri Mar 25 13:03:43 CET 2011

Hello everyone:

I wanted to take a moment to outline another idea which came out of
PyCon 2011 this year from numerous sources - a Python Core Mentorship
Program predicated on the idea that Python-Core, and Python as a whole
would be served by further lowering the barrier to entry of
contribution, and to provide a program to connect new programmers,
students, women, and others to experienced Python-Core developers

Brett's revamp of the Dev guide was part one of "secret plan to get
more people involved in python-core" - this is another part, but I'm
not sure of the numbering scheme.

The mission of the Python Core Mentor Program is to provide an open
and welcoming place to connect students, programmers - and anyone
interested in contributing to the Python-Core development. This
project is based on the idea that the best way to welcome new people
into any project is a venue which connects them to mentors who can
assist in guiding them through the contribution process, including
discussions on lists such as python-dev, and python-ideas, the bug
tracker, mercurial, code reviews, etc.

Additionally, mentors will assist in something incredibly critical to
maintain contributor interest: getting patches through the process and
actually *committed*. We all know - not everyone who is mentor will
have all the answers, so mentors also act as conduits to others who
will have the answer.

The project itself will (hopefully) be low in time-spent, and largely
self-managing. We will start simple with a mailing list
(core-mentorship at python.org) where mentors, and those who wish to be
mentored or ask questions may do so. This mailing list will have a
code of conduct which will help prevent flame wars, or other
counterproductive discussions - a code of conduct also makes it clear
to mentors what they''re agreeing to when they decide to participate.

The new list will also have a closed, members-only archive. After
consulting with other core developers, we believe it's easier to ask
questions when you don't have to worry about Google picking up your
words from a public archive.

We want to make this list a resource for people to be able to get
started, ask "silly" questions, and so on - our goal is to turn anyone
who wishes to be into an active, sustainable committer to Python.

Mentors will be asked to answer questions - but also assist people in
need of help with discussions on the mailing lists and bug tracker
(conversations on which could have become contentious or stressful)
and generally to be advocates for the people being mentored. For
example - if a person submits a patch to the tracker, the mentor list
may help them through initial code reviews, or discussions with other
core developers. The job is to act as an experienced proxy for them.

The first step to this project is to ask for volunteer mentors -
people who are willing to help answer questions on the list, and
generally guide people as needed being as friendly and courteous and
welcoming as possible.

If you are interested in being a mentor - or have feedback about this
plan in general, please feel free to reach out to me
(jnoller at gmail.com) directly. My goal, once this is setup, is to have
the project largely self-managing, with the PSF helping to market it
to the community as a whole.


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