Recap of Contributor Working Group’s Mentorship Chat on November 16th, 2023

In Attendance: @javiercasares @nao @josepmoran @kafleg @patricia70 @matteoenna @harishanker @oglekler @sumitsingh @webtechpooja @adityakane  @ratneshsonar @jeffpaul @mysweetcate @topher1kenobe @sereedmedia @courane01 @gusa @ninianepress @tobifjellner

Facilitator (EMEA): @adityakane
Facilitator (AMER): @harishanker
Notes: @ratneshsonar 


Meeting Start: 


Results of the Mentorship Program Survey and Contributor Story

Thanks to @ninianepress @sereedmedia and @nao, our working group shipped a post event survey which was sent to all mentees from the mentorship program. At the time of writing this recap, seven people answered the survey and the results are as follows:

Benefits from the program

  • Gaining confidence
  • Learning about CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress.
  • Understanding release processes
  • Better understanding of WordPress teams and release processes


  • Meeting a Core dev while they solve the ticket in the next program (shadowing contributions)
  • Expand to multiple languages
  • Have mentees “try out” different teams by making good first contributions
  • Clear expectations on mentorship timelines and meeting times
  • Confusion in welcome meetings
  • More social interactions and connections between mentees. 

In terms of achievements, we also celebrated the following wins from our past cohort:

  • One of the mentees – @josepmoran published a post about his journey on Spanish and spoke about it at WordCamp Madrid with his mentorEvent Supporter Event Supporter (formerly Mentor) is 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. @javiercasares.
  • @prikari went on to become a co-organizer 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. Mumbai 2023, barely a few months after our cohort concluded.

Detailed survey results were also shared privately with working group members for further analysis. Our group members shared the following feedback:

  • To have more shadowing sessions.
  • MentorsEvent Supporter Event Supporter (formerly Mentor) is 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. helping out mentees directly with the contribution process (matching mentors and mentees based on contribution interests)
  • Having a schedule beforehand and balance all activities amongst mentors and mentees.
  • Continue localized mentorships (mentors and mentees matched based on the languages they speak)
  • Offer clear expectations for the mentorship program, with better tracking of the mentorship progress in a public space (e.g. in a GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. project)
  • Implement some suggestions now and big ticket ones (like multilingual mentorship) later, based on availability.
  • Have mentees focus on one team first rather than have them bounce around?
  • Use the Make/Contribute landing page.
  • Getting feedback from experienced mentees on what particular things might make their onboarding more pleasant.

Mentorship Cohort #2 Schedule & Plans

Based on members’ feedback from past chats, we have put together a draft plan for the next mentorship program. Here’s a link to the draft plan document – updated to factor in the 6.5 release date (March 26, 2024).

Plan Summary

  • We are following a similar structure from the last program, but will be expanding it to include more mentors and mentees.
  • There will be a call for mentors and mentees this time, with the hope of prioritizing mentors who match the contribution interest/experience of mentees.
  • Lesser time on general project introduction and more time for specific team introduction and release shadowing.
  • Deeper integration into WordPress release process for 6.5
  • More actionable pre and post-event feedback loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. and check-in
  • Follow-up contribution plan for mentees after graduation

Tentative schedule of Mentorship Cohort

  1. Planning: 2 months (We’re currently in this phase, November – December 2023)
  2. Publish Call for mentees/mentors (late November; close at the end of the year)
  3. Cohort selection & program building: (Jan 16 – Feb 9)
  4. Announce selected mentees/mentors (Early Feb; give enough time for the cohort to prepare)
  5. Mentorship Program: 4-6 weeks (Feb 19 – March 29; 6 weeks leading up to the release week)
  6. Graduation & Retrospective: 2 weeks (April 1 – April 12)

We asked members to share their feedback on the program plan, and they shared the following with us:

Thoughts about the plan

  • There was general feedback that this program is a good next step from our past cohort.
  • @oglekler: “Highlight in a call for mentees and mentors the areas they can participate in. I want to make a point that it is fine not to be a developer to be an active and successful contributor.”
  • @jeffpaul asked any of the feedback items from the survey incorporated in the next cohort plans. @harishanker shared some of the key results that are incorporated into the new plan:
    • More hands-on sessions
    • Setting clear expectations on mentorship timelines
    • Being very clear on welcome meetings
    • Facilitating more connections with mentees
    • To have more mentors and mentees
  • @sereedmedia: “i wonder if the application dates being in the downtime holiday season will be a benefit or dampen interest? just hard to get people to pay attention during the holidays.”. Sé also suggested that the application period launch in January along the lines of “new year, new skills”. @mysweetcate suggested that if the program opens in December, we could keep the applications open until January 2024.
  • @patricia70 asked: “How do we mentor in areas we are not ourselves experienced in? would there be a short “mentor training” first? For example, I know a lot about community, DEIB, some of other areas, but not about Core or GitHub, bug scrubs, commits, etc”. Proposed answers include:
    • To have mentor training for this cohort.
    • @nao: “we should try to find a good match with top interest/expertise, but additional training & support from other mentors can also help mentors learn something new about the project.”
    • @harishanker: ” We could bring in mentees with some experience and train everyone on these basics, the ones that  – Core or GitHub, bug scrubs, commits, etc and also other program related areas.”
    • @adityakane: “in general a good overview of Core and Github usage as a learn course would be very helpful. For core specifically, I mean”
    • @javiercasares: “I think the Team Reps has a moment here… they know everything about their teams, the documentation and where to find material (and how to create it) so they should also be involved in some active way, supporting not only mentees, but mentors”
    • @josepmoran: “I totally agree and I join this interesting initiative, since since my presentation in Madrid, here in Spain a small movement has been created that I try to manage based on Javier’s teachings and explain my own experience.”
    • @adityakane: “About a learn course – I did suggest a Topic Idea: Getting Started with Github and Overview for WordPress Core Contributors — (it is still awaiting triage)
    • @glycymeris: “We are creating in Spain a Github handbook for non-experienced people that could be useful. It will be finished in a couple of weeks. If you want we could share it.”
  • @josepmoran: “Now not only am I and will be mentored, I am taking actions so that other collaborators are aware of these mentorships and I inform you of my learning and process of great progress as a more effective and continuous collaborator.”

Areas in the mentorship program that will help the program succeed

  • @oglekler: “I can cover several topics in online Zoom sessions and provide support via in-SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at meetings. I think we can have a brief overview of the whole ecosystem (I can do it, but I believe that there are people who can do it much better), second session is about how to start Core contribution (I already did this intro, but hopefully the second time it can be better), and some session with live example about how to create a patch and also another one about testing. I am just suggesting, and will be happy not to do everything I am proposing by myself.”
  • @ninianepress: “I think shadowing mentors is a fabulous and highly valuable idea and would help mentees a lot, I think. I think a graduation Zoom call is a wonderful idea and I think we should invite past graduates since we didn’t do so last time”
  • @harishanker: “I would pick release shadowing and finding ways for mentees to participate in any release related things. Testing comes to mind!”

Something to be included in the next cohort

  • @oglekler: “More feedback and visibility about mentees self learning. This part was sort of obscured for me. Making it more publicly organized and discussed will provide this visibility and give great feedback and insides.”
  • @harishanker: “We don’t have it covered, but I would like a sub-cohort of mentees (optionally) working on a group project. Perhaps something like a community blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. theme or a mini feature in core etc (which was suggested by @oglekler)
  • @ninanepress: “I would really love to see junior and senior mentees and mentors, and to have a mentorship chain”
  • @sereedmedia “love the mentorship chain. i think that is key to a sustainable program.”
  • @gusa asked questions on the mentorship program and highlighted the need for a broader culture of mentorship in WordPress. @ninanepress highlighted how the Docs Team has an onboarding guide. @gusus shared of his experience in the Drupal community and shared many excellent points which may be incorporated in WordPress. Some Community Summit sessions were also highlighted in the conversation:
  • @gusa also shared this task from the Sustainability team which highlights resource needs as well.

Contributing in the next session
Many working group members expressed interest in participating in the next cohort in different roles.

Contributor Mentorship Program Badge

One pending task from the past cohort is assigning badges to participants in the program. We had created a formal request for badges, but we recently received feedback from the metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. team that the program completion badge may not align with the other badges given to mark contribution achievement, leaving us in a bit of a conundrum:

  • Should we work on a broader change in the badging system?
  • OR would it be better to display/celebrate the completion differently?

The following ideas were shared in our chats:

  • @javiercasares: “yes, this is something that has been talked about… we should have two types of badges, the team ones, and “goals one”… but that’s something from Meta… Maybe the option is:
    • mentors: Community badge
    • Mentees: the badges from the team they participate (as they gain the badges for their participation)
    • this is something “for now”, but having in mind having “goals badges””
  • @harishanker: “Personally, I think our badging system needs an overhaul. But we do need to celebrate the achievements of our mentees. I’m not 100% sure how best we can do that before badging is overhauled””
  • @josepmoran: “I believe that the mentored badge, without downplaying its importance, can be relative. What really matters are the badges you get through the contributions you make thanks to the emntorias course. and I think those are the ones that are really relevant.”
  • @tobifjellner changed the ticket type from bug to enhancement.
  • @courane01: “Noting in the gaming world, badges are called achievements.  Sometimes in the edu space. I think we should explore other open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. projects and how they do likewise. Ex: Linux Foundation does give badges for course completions. I haven’t seen badging for other uses, yet. Nor have I looked though. I think continuing to differentiate team contribution from other areas is the central point, and terminology is the nuance to sort out first”
  • @tobifjellner: “I’d love for some badges to still remain as tokens of past contributions, even if we for safety remove some accesses when someone moves on (or even passes away…)”
  • @gusa: “I referenced some other projects with good badging/crediting systems in one of the #sustainability roadmap items/ideas”
  • @ninianepress: “What if we had team badges AND achievements? The latter being stuff like this mentorship completion and the #WP20 From Blogs to Blocks campaign badges”
  • @jeffpaul: “it seems like the response in that meta ticket is based on not understanding the mentorship program, perhaps restating how the program works will make it clear that the badges apply similarly as other team contribution badges do?”. To which @harishanker asked if we could still do the proposed badges without having to overhaul badging, to which, @jeffpaul agreed as there’s no limit to the number of badges, also the mentorship badge could be created for the community team. Jeff also went on to clarify: “yeah, my reading of the comment on that ticket was more confusion about the request than anything, so perhaps restating and giving some context/links out to make it more clear will hopefully help?”
  • @harishanker also clarified that as per this post, all working group members are eligible for the community contributor badge.

Group members were asked to share the feedback directly in TracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub.

Feedback Request from Marketing Team: Contributor Onboarding

The Make/Marketing Team continues their work to improve contributor onboarding experience and would like feedback on:

Group members were asked to share their feedback directly on GitHub.

#contributor-working-group #mentorship-program #wpcontributors #meeting-notes

#mentorship-chat, #mentorship-chat-recap