Back in December while starting to scurry about to pull together the competitions framework which I was hoping would make a few splashes, I was already thinking ahead to after the competitions, thinking of ways to kick the mentoring programme in to gear through which the target audience attention could be catalysed to participation.
A few weeks ago, as Alan Bell was poking me wondering about the code we’d used for the competition voting polls, it dawned on me. The result of that epiphany is my new pet project, Pollka, a php project that aims to build a quickly deployable, standalone, simple polling web application.
Pollka is not part of Ubuntu, and is not an Ubuntu project. It is however a real project which intends to partner with the Ubuntu Women Project to mentor interested members in the purposeful use of tools such as bzr, launchpad tools and packaging, and concepts such as reporting bugs and documenting. The aim being to give prospective women contributors a chance to gain confidence in methodologies that will ease their integration path in to activities that are considered “contributions to Ubuntu”.
I believe this real world project sandpit concept is a missing link in the current UW mentoring structure. Jumping straight in to a massive project with commercial responsibilities like Ubuntu is daunting, especially so for inexperienced people who feel an extra burden in proving themselves. I want UW to be able to help interested women break out of that self-fulfilling prophecy cycle.
I am proposing that a mentoring partnership framework be established to compliment the current UW mentoring pathways, and I intend to use Pollka as a proof of concept partner project. I’ve added the blueprint to the next UW meeting agenda and hopefully we can use this as a deliverable for the Natty cycle.