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Information for Mentors

Providing help and directing newcomers in their first contributions is very important. Mentors for newcomers page serves as a list of friendly folks in GNOME who can both help newcomers get started anytime throughout the year and mentor Google Summer of Code participants during internships time. Because Outreachy projects are expected to be mentor-driven and not applicant-driven, mentors are expected to list projects directly on the Outreachy site without an applicant in mind during the time periods in February and September when Outreachy has a call for projects for mentors out.

Please make sure that the page with your personal info contains all the information necessary for getting in touch with you and learning about your work, such as your e-mail address, your IRC nick and the channels you usually hang out on, and a link to your blog.

If you are unavailable to mentor an internship participant at any particular time, and are contacted by someone interested in a Google Summer of Code internship, just be sure to point them to someone else in your project who could mentor an internship participant or ask them to select a different project.

Please provide people interested in an internship with a suitable introductory task when they get in touch with you. Having contributed to the project one is applying for is a requirement for internships in GNOME and is an important selection criteria. This is how we know the applicant has the willingness to learn and the ability to dive in into the work on the project.

Please discuss with the applicants the details of the work they'll be doing during the internship period.

For the Outreachy, we'd like the accepted participants to work as part of the team, starting with smaller tasks (i.e. bugs) and progressing over time to more complex tasks (i.e. features), with each task being suggested by you based on the current priorities of your team. So the applicants just need to know what areas of the project they are likely to work on and a tentative timeline.

For Google Summer of Code, a more specific timeline needs to be created and a project should have an overall theme. It's best if the project consists of manageable and relevant tasks that the student can land in the main module throughout the internship period. Even though Google Summer of Code is typically thought of as a stand-alone project proposed by a student, Google suggests making Google Summer of Code your own and is open to any format for the projects. Big feature projects are only suitable for already established contributors. Please try to avoid situations when students work on features that are not yet designed or agreed-upon, have too many moving parts, and would only land in the main module after the internship is over as a best-case scenario. This rarely works out. Instead, especially for new contributors, look for agreed-upon manageable bugs and small features that have a shared theme and would allow the student to feel the satisfaction of landing their code throughout the internship.

Best Practices

Whether someone has just reached out to you for guidance or you are mentoring someone in an internship program, these are the best practices for informal and formal mentorship.

  • provide feedback on the relevance of contributions your mentee is interested in working on
  • point your mentee to the relevant resources
  • discuss the code review workflow; use the workflow that is standard for the module that is being worked on and make sure the mentee learns to navigate it comfortably
  • be patient; allow your mentee to rewrite their own patches based on code reviews from you and others
  • encourage your mentee to communicate with you and others in public IRC channels and mailing lists
  • introduce your mentee to other people in the community
  • have regularly scheduled IRC office hours, preferably twice a week
  • provide feedback to your mentee on what they need to pay attention to and what they need to learn
  • discuss volunteer contribution opportunities and career planning with your mentee
  • suggest contributions your mentee can work on both before and after the internship
  • encourage your mentee to attend relevant local events and GNOME events
  • if during an internship you have any problems with an intern, including communication issues, that persist for longer than two weeks, please let the GNOME administrators of the internship know; they need to be aware of it and will do their best to help, especially because they likely have encountered similar situations before

Mentoring Resources


You can help newcomers in GNOME by


You can help with the outreach effort by

Outreach/InfoForMentors (last edited 2019-09-19 04:31:31 by MarinaZ)