Friday, March 7, 2014

Becoming a Drupal Core Mentor

t's finally time to start doing something I should have done long ago: mentoring new core contributors! I've spent a small chunk of time as a mentee, setting up my own development environment (dev env), finding issues in the mentoring queue and on (d.o), and interacting with other core contributors. While writing documentation and doing rerolls has been a great way to learn Drupal, the real rewards have come from working with other contributors. It's been a great comfort to know that I can ask for help on IRC, and can always find a mentor online during the core mentoring office hours.

And the bonus is that teaching others is the best way (for me) to learn things! So I went to YesCT for some advice on where to start. Here are a few resources she pointed me to (in addition to this big page o' mentor resources):

First of all, the most important thing to remember for everyone in the Drupal community is that "we are all mentors." This blog post from YesCT is pretty much what I was trying to say in para #1, but she says it better. Being friendly is the best way to encourage new contributors to come back! See also: WebChick's comic about her first encounter on IRC with "the Drupal Community on a Bad Day."

Next we have a key component of being a mentor: reviewing new contributor's work. This requires knowing how to review the contributor's work, and how to review a patch itself (to check that it was done correctly). Sticking with the theme of constructive criticism, gentle reminders, helpful pointers and other supportive input here. Teaching contributors how to interact and communicate with others is a great way to keep everyone positive and engaged.

As a side project, I'd like to help update dm.o and d.o to merge issue task instructions with the regular issue queue, essentially add functionality to the d.o issue queue. Todo for me: read through these related core mentoring on d.o issues. I had just recently noted that having contributor task instructions linked on d.o as they are on dm.o would be much easier than googling them every time I start work on a new issue. Turns out there's an issue for that! (there's also a google doc I won't link to here, but, note to self...)

Then we've got resources for planning a sprint, which I'd really like to do at a Drupalcon in the near future, but am currently lacking a topic to sprint on. If anyone needs a sprint co-leader, I'm happy to help!

Part of sprinting of contributing is going to be getting everyone set up with a local environment to work with. At an event like Drupalcon, or even something on a smaller scale, this can become problematic if everyone is downloading new software etc at the same time. So here are the Drupal Community Tools Download Instructions (dctdi. Tech is almost as bad as gov't with the acronyms). We've also got an Austin specific Core Mentoring page here and of course the perennial dev env setup page here.

Phew. So far I've had a look at most of those pages, but I need to go back and read the issues for dm.o->d.o as well as go through the mentor resources links thoroughly. It's just really great to have a specific goal and project to work on! I enjoy contributing on issues, but with the current D8 beta push it's been hard to find anywhere I fit in lately. Tallyho.

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