Mentor Tools

During Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. at WCUSWCUS WordCamp US. The US flagship WordCamp event., I worked with @brandondove to scope out some improvements to the MentorsMentor Someone who has already organised a WordCamp and has time to meet with their assigned mentee every 2 weeks, they talk over where they should be in their timeline, help them to identify their issues, and also identify solutions for their issues. aspect of WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. sites. By the end of the day we had a pretty good outline and had started putting some code together. This post is to share our intentions and gather thoughts and feedback.

Here are the pain points we are aiming to address, as I understand them:

  • Contact information for a mentorMentor Someone who has already organised a WordCamp and has time to meet with their assigned mentee every 2 weeks, they talk over where they should be in their timeline, help them to identify their issues, and also identify solutions for their issues. is not used consistently across all of the camps they are mentoring. So for example, maybe Andrea is mentoring two camps, but each one has a different email address for her.
  • Camp organizers don’t always know how the Mentor fields are used, and end up putting incorrect information in them.
  • Camp organizers aren’t always sure what all the next steps are as they progress through the planning process. By the same token, mentors don’t always have a full picture of where their camp is in the planning (especially if they are mentoring multiple camps).

To address these issues, the project has two parts:

Part 1

For the first part, which is now mostly complete, we made improvements to how mentorship is tracked and managed across all the WordCamp sites. This mostly involved using a mentor’s The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. username to associate them with a camp, rather than their name or email address.

On the Edit WordCamp screen, we added a Mentor User Name field to go along with the Mentor Name and Mentor E-mail Address fields. We also made all the Mentor fields readonly, except to admins who manage the mentorship program.

On the Mentor Dashboard, we created an input for listing the usernames of all the currently active mentors. Then, the details of each active mentor are listed, along with the camps they are currently assigned to. Since this is now based on username rather than email address, the problem of the same mentor being listed multiple times with different emails is eliminated. A separate list shows which camps still need a mentor, sorted by their start date, so the ones coming up the soonest can be prioritized.

Other improvements in the works here are automating the introduction emails that get sent out when a mentor is assigned to a camp, and automatically adding the mentor as a user on each of their sites.

Part 2

For the second part of the project, our aim is to provide a shared tool for organizers and mentors to track the progress of a camp’s planning. This will consist of a series of task checklists, each focusing on a different aspect of the WordCamp planning.

Originally the idea was to have all of these checklists live in a widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. on each camp’s WP-Admin Dashboard, but it quickly became clear that the size and number of checklists would make this unwieldy. Instead, there will be a separate WP-Admin page showing all of these checklists. The tasks will have togglable checkboxes next to them, so that organizers and mentors can get a visual impression of where they are in the process.

One advantage of having these tasks live within WordPress is that they can be set up as translatable strings. This way, the organizers and the mentor can each view the tasks in their preferred language while staying on the same page about the current status.

One thing we definitely don’t want to do is end up building a full-blown project management app just for WordCamps. There are plenty of more robust tools out there that organizers can choose if task lists fit their organizational style. This is meant more as a lightweight overview or a starting point.

So that’s where we’re at right now. Thoughts and feedback welcome.