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From Dave Fisher <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Absent mentors
Date Wed, 28 Mar 2018 23:32:31 GMT
Hi -

Inline - responses to both.

> On Mar 28, 2018, at 4:15 PM, Ted Dunning <> wrote:
> I think the problem is serious. I also think that signoff rate is a better
> metric in practice than it seems it would be.

I agree that it is quite serious.

> Adding the additional metric seems like a small step that could help.
> Being aggressive about removing non-mentors is a very good idea. It is best
> if mentors remove themselves, but it is imperative that the incubator has a
> realistic idea about how many mentors there really are.
> On Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 17:20 Julian Hyde <> wrote:
>> The incubator has an ongoing problem with lack of mentor engagement.
>> Mentors are a crucial component of the incubation process. Incubation is
>> the time when projects learn the Apache Way, and they cannot learn in a
>> vacuum.
>> I’d like to discuss possible solutions to this problem. I’d like to hear
>> from both podlings (PPMC members) and from IPMC members.
>> (By the way, it’s not just a problem for podlings. As a mentor, I am
>> demoralized when I feel my co-mentors are not pulling their weight, and I
>> get a little closer to burn-out.)
>> How to detect deadbeat mentors? One solution that has been discussed
>> before is counting mentor sign-offs on podlings’ quarterly reports. Any
>> project that received one or two sign-offs was deemed to be doing just
>> fine. This is an imperfect metric.

Sign-off means that Mentors are doing the least they can do which is better than nothing.

>> Another remedy is to require podlings to be proactive: if they are not
>> receiving adequate supervision, they should reach out to the IPMC and
>> demand a change in mentors. The problem is, podlings have by definition not
>> been through incubation before, so do not know what to expect. They don’t
>> want to rock the boat.
>> I propose another solution. Let’s add a question to the podling report
>> template, as follows:
>>> Have your mentors been helpful and responsive? If not, describe what
>> advice or help
>>> you needed, or need:
>> It isn't too onerous for the podling, and only embarrasses mentors who
>> deserve to be embarrassed.

Mentors need to be careful of their workload. Having the correct mentors for the community
is also important. What I mean about correct will be below.

>> What to do about deadbeat mentors? The current thinking is that every
>> project should have three mentors, and if at least one of them is active,
>> that’s OK. I think that the “rule of 3” actually makes the problem worse.
>> It’s difficult to find three motivated individuals (or find enough work for
>> them to do), so a podling will inevitably have one or two inactive mentors.
>> It has become the norm that most mentors are inactive.

The rule of 3 was so that there were enough Mentors to provide the 3 +1 (Binding Votes) before
we get to the IPMC Vote. Thankfully we have a few experts on the IPMC who are doing the required
Voting and releases aren’t getting held up.

>> I propose that we get rid of the rule of 3. If mentors are not active,
>> they should be encouraged to step down, and if they don’t, the IPMC should
>> remove them. If this leaves the podling with zero or one mentors, then IPMC
>> can step in and appoint new mentors. A podling with two active mentors is
>> probably doing just fine.

We really need to have the correct Mentors. I feel uncomfortable as one of only two mentors
on Daffodil. It is an experiment of having Two.

>> Is this problem as serious as I think it is? Would my proposed solutions
>> help?

I think that we need to also discuss what voting +1 to accept a podling should mean. The value
currently is that everyone just +1s because the podling is “cool”.

I think we should discuss these ideas:

(1) Adding more questions to the podling:
- about the number of dependencies. If a lot then we want Mentors who like that part of the
- about any registered trademarks. If so then a Mentor with trademark experience is needed.

(2) Think about whether a +1 (binding) VOTE means the IPMC member is willing to Mentor. If
we can’t get enough Mentors then we can’t accept a podling.


>> Julian
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