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Friday March 23 is Drupal Core Mentoring Day!

on Mon Mar 19, 2012

Core mentoring day

If you're at DrupalCon Denver, join us on Friday, March 23 for a core contribution mentoring sprint ("Core office day"). If you want to contribute to Drupal core but aren't sure where to start, this is your chance to get in-person training and mentoring from friendly, experienced core contributors. If you've already started to work on core, this is your chance to meet other contributors, hang out in person, and work on manageable tasks in the Drupal core queue. The goal is to help you help with core.

We'll kick things off at 9:00a with an introduction and some training, and then starting around 10:00a we will sprint on core issues. Feel free to either drop by and work on just a couple tasks, or to stay and sprint with us all day! Note that core office hours will not be held at the regular times this week (4:00a UTC Tuesday and 4:00p UTC Wednesday) in lieu of the sprint.

What to bring

Come with a laptop, enthusiasm, patience, and an hour or two to spare!  (Leftover chocolates from the Truffle BOF are also welcome.) ;)

Most (but not all) of the Core mentoring day tasks will need a local development environment with git set up on your laptop, and many are helped by a code-friendly text editor.  You can save time by setting this up in advance, but you can also get help installing git and setting up a local web server at the sprint.  You're welcome to use whatever development platform you prefer, but we'll be suggesting the Acquia dev desktop and Sublime Text 2 for those who don't already have a preference.

Task documentation and how-tos

The ever-amazing Jennifer Hodgdon recently started a New contributor tasks section in the handbook. With her help, I've drafted some how-to documentation for the tasks we regularly do during office hours and created a helpful chart. Check it out:

Sessions not to miss

If you're interested in the core mentoring sprint or in working on Drupal core, here are two DrupalCon Denver sessions not to miss:

How you can help with the sprint

  • Participate in the sprint, or just stop by to say hi!
  • If you're an experienced core contributor, hang out in the sprint room with us and hack on issues in the core queue.
  • Tell people about it!  We need more word-of-mouth.  We have five sprint leads who will be available most of the day, so we can help lots of people at once. :)
  • Help us find target issues. We're prioritizing majors and criticals tagged for backport first, and normals and minors tagged for backport second. Take a look through the queue and see if you can find issues  that would benefit from any of our office hours tasks.
    • Find backportable issues missing the "Needs backport to D7" tag and add it.
    • Find issues that need tests and tag them "Needs tests".  
    • Find frontend and UX issues, and tag them with "Needs manual testing" and/or "Needs screenshot". 
    • Find patches that no longer apply and tag them with "Needs reroll".
    • Find issues with incomplete, unclear, or outdated summaries and tag them with "Issue summary initiative".
    • Find issues with patches that need straightforward cleanup or fixes (such as documentation, code style, or simple refactoring), tag them with Novice, and (in this particular case) tell me about them.  (Just post a link to the issue on the groups post).

More information

Myths and facts!

Here's a few common misunderstandings about office (mentoring) hours and the core mentoring sprint, along with the actual scoop! 

  • Myth: You need to be a programmer to come to office hours or to participate in the sprint. Fact: Anyone who works or plays with Drupal can help! We will have tasks broken into three skillsets: Level A (non-technical), Level B (some technical skill), and Level C (programmer). 
  • Myth: I don't have time to help with Drupal core. Fact: There are many manageable, self-contained tasks that need to be done in the core queue, tasks which might take between 15 minutes and a couple hours. Core office hours and the core mentoring sprint are all about helping you find and learn how to do these self-contained tasks. (Plus, each time you work on a task, the next one will go faster!) 
  • Myth: Core office hours is a time for Drupal rockstars like chx and webchick to work on core issues, so I wouldn't fit in. Fact: Office hours is all about mentoring for new contributors as well as organized work on the core issue queue. That said, you might meet a few rockstars at the sprint on Friday, and chx and webchick in particular (among others!) help with office hours on IRC, too. ;)


Because of the above myths and facts, we've tentatively decided to rename Core office hours to "Core mentoring hours." Please spread the word--tell your friends, coworkers, and fellow DrupalCon attendees that the Core office hour sprint this Friday is all about mentoring for working on core, and that the Core mentoring hours are the same Core office hours currently held twice a week.

Weekly office hours mentors and attendance

Back in December, I made a post on the status of core office hours that included some statistics on office hours attendance, the proposal for Friday's sprint, and also a plea for help. I said at the time that I needed two things to make office hours more succesful:

  1. More publicity and promotion for office hours (so that more people knew about it)
  2. More mentors to help (because sometimes I was completely overwhelmed, and one week that I was sick office hours didn't happen at all).

And it worked! Thanks to people like Angie (webchick) and Donna (kattekrab) and Brian Lewis (bjlewis2), local user groups and Drupal camps, a spotlight of me on the frontpage, and a Modules Unraveled podcast, attendance went way, way up.  Yay!

Lots of awesome people also stepped up and started helping mentor when I was unavailable, including:

  • davereid
  • beejeebus
  • webchick
  • timplunkett
  • ksenzee
  • chx

Extra special love and thanks to Andrea (zendoodles), who not only committed to helping me with the Wednesday timeslot each week, but helped me organize and coordinate the office hours process to make it easier for other mentors to jump in.  Andrea saved me from burnout. :)  And look!  I was sick again two weeks ago, but this time around lots of people participated and lots of issues were handled.  Yay again!

How you can help with weekly office (mentoring) hours

We still could use more experienced core contributors helping out as mentors, and the more participants we get, the more mentors we'll need.  Ideally I'd like to have a signup calendar so that mentors could sign up once a month.  (I haven't quite figured out how to organize that yet, but stay tuned.)  I also would really like to have someone to mentor the Tuesday timeslot (4:00a UTC, or Monday night in North America), because it is late at night for me and difficult for me to stay up week after week.

Finally, come participate!  If you're a developer, come and trade patch reviews during office (mentoring) hours.  Tell your local user groups and camps about office hours.

Thanks and I hope to see you this Friday or on IRC in future weeks!

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