Sharing an Experience - What could I do better?

Hello all! :smile:

Last night we had the first post in the Buddies forum of a new contributor after the re-launching of the Buddy Program. The new contributor (trainee) is Kat A. Klettke located in Germany. She posted in the forum as per the New Contributors - Start Here! thread.

I want to share my experience with the rest of you asking for your feedback. Here are the steps I made (with some comments/thoughts of mine):

  1. I posted a response to her post welcoming her and promising that I would send her a PM with more info/details. (This automatically made me her assigned “Buddy”)

  2. I studied her post and extracted any info I could from it, to make my response PM to her as personalized as possible. (I have a standard template of “Welcoming New Contributors” which I modify, to tailor it to the needs of each contributor, which I can share with anyone interested).

  3. In her post she said that she was interested in Translation, Support and Coding.

  4. I sent her the PM offering her as possible ways of interaction:

  • Responding to my PM (asynchronous)
  • Meeting me on IRC channels where I spend most of my time (#AoA, #Buddies) (synchronous)
  1. She, soon after, came online IRC and we had a long friendly chat (chat log is available here).

  2. She started by saying she felt “lost” because she started doing exploration on her own (about localization) and she ended up on pages that were dead-ends for her. She was kind of confused as to if a Mozillian and Persona is the same thing. She said that she started a new Mozillian profile which needed to be vouched.

  3. When we started talking about what she was interested in, I offered the following info:

  • Localization: She informed me that she had already sent a PM to the German Localization Team Leader. I told her I could get her in touch with the Localization team for them to give her help in her first steps.

  • Support: I gave her a link to the great video by Jay (@iamjayakumars) about how to post in the Support Forum. I’ve also asked her if she would like us to work together in the Support Forum.

  • Coding: She was mostly interested in coding. I gave her a few links about coding I knew like:
    Writing Code
    Contributing to the Mozilla codebase

  1. She felt she had enough information to get herself started and we said good night. :smile:

  2. I entered all the info available to the New Contributors spreadsheet

**My Comments:**
  1. I should’ve asked her how she got to know about SuMo and what made her join us. Information like this can help us improve our service in the future.
  2. The synchronous interaction is a winner. My experience with Kat (as well as with my involvement with AoA) tells me that the more “face to face” interaction there is the better it is, especially for newcomers.
  3. I wish I had contacts in the 4 Contribution Areas of SuMo. I still believe that Buddies shouldn’t deal with the training of new contributors but should guide them to the “expert trainers” of each area for them to take over. Buddies’ task, IMHO, should be more like tour guides of SuMo and let the real trainers do the training job.
  4. We definitely need some way for new contributors to learn how to contribute in coding. I have met many new contributors who are interested in coding (some of them experienced coders). When we all know that we are very short on coding people, we should establish some easier way for new contributors to get into coding without them having to do “searching and begging” to be accepted.

My Request:

I would be most grateful if you all, especially the older and more experienced Buddies, posted your comments / thoughts on what I did wrong , what I may have omitted, and how I could improve myself as a Buddy. I’m not asking for positive comments. I am begging for criticism / negative comments because this is the ONLY way I can improve myself!

Thank you! :slight_smile:


First of all… bad job! You were nice to her?! And how dare you PM her? :stuck_out_tongue:

If you can’t tell by this point I’m joking. :wink:

That’s a fine start. Really. IRC is the best way to get the most information out of someone in my opinion. Much better than email! And the buddy can ask as many questions he/she can think of rapid fire. :smile:

Anyway, you can’t address everything in one PM or even one IRC chat. It’s impossible. Expect followup chats. :wink:

The biggest problem with coding is people’s experience level and familiarity with the many different coding languages. If you’re referring to SUMO, it’s primarily made up of Django and Python. And no, I have zero experience with either language in case you were wondering. :stuck_out_tongue: But I’ve been told they’re both hard languages.

This is a good starter guide to show people who are interested in coding for SUMO:

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[size=18] Et tu, Brute?[/size] (And I thought you were a friend :()

You spoiled it! :wink:

I agree with everything you say! (Well… maybe not the “bad job” part… :P). IRC is so much more personal than a post or a PM. And yes, we chat on IRC almost on a daily basis since our initial contact (and she is a fun person to talk to, too! :)). She keeps asking questions and I either have answers for her or do research to find answers for her (which helps me, as well, become a better Buddy).

The link you posted there is a jewel! Thanks! I didn’t know about it! :smile:

I think this is a great example of how a little care and attention can mean a lot to someone new to our little community.

If you have similar experiences in the coming days, please share them in the same thread, so we can all learn and share ideas on how to onboard people better.

ORGANIZATIONAL NOTE: this thread does not need a steward

So, has anyone had any positive/negative onboarding related experiences in the last few weeks?

I’m chatting more and more with people on IRC (both in channels and in /query), so I may be sharing some notes about that, too :slight_smile:

I will repeat once again what I said before: The more personalized and the more in-person the contact with a new contributor is the higher the chances of success of the Buddy Program. A simple PM or a reply post with reading material for a newcomer are IMHO not much of a welcoming. Buddies have to be enthusiastic and convincing in what they do. A tired Buddy is not a good Buddy! :wink:

As a note to other/new Buddies: Let the newcomers know of your passion for what you do! Talk to them about what makes you spend your time volunteering for the concept called Mozilla! Share with them all the reasons that make you enjoy contributing! Then and only then you will be convincing and a successful Buddy.

I agree with you @CAKCy, having that personal touch goes a long ways. Hopefully we can start soon contacting them 1:1 when they are contacting the buddy group.

Hey Robert! :smile:

You can start contacting them now, if you want to. New contributors are already posting in the New Contributors Forum and you can respond to their posts, if you wish. :slight_smile:

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@CAKCy Sounds like a plan!

If you’ve helped out a new contributor recently… thank you! :slight_smile:

If you haven’t had a chance… remember that you can subscribe to the threads on the SUMO forums: