Beginner

September 2010 Community Report : Beginners

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This report is being put together by: Jorge Castro

This report is here to satisfy the following use case:

Sam is completely new to Ubuntu and is unsure of how, where and to what extent he/she can participate.

The goal of this assessment to identify what typical experience Sam may have and areas in which it can be approved.

Assessment Process

To perform this assessment we would like to ask those involved to perform the following steps:

  1. First put yourself in the position of Sam who has no idea how to participate within this area. How does find out about to participate, where our resources are, which communication channels they can use etc? Please enter your findings into the Discoverability section below.

  2. How does Sam learn the skills to participate in this area? Enter your findings in the Learnability' section below.

  3. How does Sam know what to work on and how to contribute? Enter your findings in the Doability section below.

  4. Find five community members who are very new to the community and ask them to answer the questions in the New Community Member Feedback section below.

  5. Finally, review all the findings you have notes down here and propose a set of improvements that are concrete things we can work on. Note these in the Recommendations For Improvement section below.

Findings

To ensure our work is as useful as possible, please ensure that all findings are factual and not based on opinion and perception, and where possible, backed up with links to resources that outline the findings.

Discoverability

Items to consider:

  • How do new community members typically start learning about the community?
  • What is the primary web pages and points of contact when new community members get involved?
  • Are there magazines, other websites and other resources that often act as on-ramps for community members to get involved?

Learnability

Items to consider:

  • What documentation/resources are available?
  • What support channels are available to help them learn?

Critically - from the perspective of someone completely new to learning the skills in this area of the community, are our resources easy to follow and understand?

Doability

Items to consider:

  • How does someone know what to work on?
  • How do they contribute their work back?
  • How easy is it for Sam to understand how this works?

New Community Member Feedback

Within this part of the community, look at which community members are new (such as new MOTUs in the Packager assessment or those newly participating in LoCo teams in the Advocacy assessment) and pick five community members to answer the following questions on this page. They should include their answers below.

Name (blank of they want to be anonymous)

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

Name (blank of they want to be anonymous)

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

Name (blank of they want to be anonymous)

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

Name (blank of they want to be anonymous)

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

Name (blank of they want to be anonymous)

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

Recommendations For Improvement

The goal of this effort is to make practical changes that improve our community. Please place these recommendations here, and make sure every suggestion is a practical achievable goal.

  • PROBLEM:

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION:

  • PROBLEM:

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION:

  • PROBLEM:

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION:

  • PROBLEM:

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION:

  • PROBLEM:

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION:

Commentary

This section is for those not involved in the report to leave their feedback.

Good Day Beginner's Team,

I would like provide some feedback for this section being a beginner myself. Some brief background about me. I moved to Ubuntu Jan 2010 and after a few days really needed some help and started looking for answers. I’m was very fortune to find a strong and thriving LoCo in my city of Vancouver, Canada. Once I got on my feet, I began to express my concerns to my Community Manager. They were that getting Ubuntu installed is actually fairly painless but migrating from a Windows environment with very little direction was some what difficult and frustrating. I began to call the ‘mistakes’ I learned New User’s Pit Falls: common holes that new user keep falling into. I was recently directed to Jono’s blog and from there found this wiki looking for input. I’m happy to see that the Ubuntu community is starting to acknowledge many of the difficulties new users are facing.

I'll start by going through the question/headings listed above

How do new community members typically start learning about the community?

When I first converted to Ubuntu I had no idea there was a community. What happened was after a few days I had questions and google wasn’t doing a good job in answering my questions effectively so I thought maybe I can find someone or group near me and can ask someone in person. I found the Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo which eventually taught me that there is a community online.

If I didn’t find the LoCo I probably would have found out through other people (eg Free Geek - In Vancouver this organization is quite established and well known and was the first place that I went to learn about Ubuntu. Although, they are not a training organization they do promote Ubuntu) that there was a community I could get in touch with.

The short answer is through word of mouth and most likely through a current user or friend.

What is the primary web pages and points of contact when new community members get involved?

The first point of contact I was the Ubuntu Vancouver Loco and from there I was sent to Launchpad then I was directed to the Wiki. However, being a beginner I find both of these my least favorite places to go.

My first instinct is to try to find someone local preferably in person to answer my question because it will be answered more quickly and effectively then on the net. Generally, it takes a while to really understand what a person is asking but in person it’s faster because the feedback is immediately. In addition, I have been directed to Launchpad by my community as the #1 place to get answers if I can’t wait to get in touch with someone. I have used Launchpad but honestly, I don’t like it because I seem to never find the answer to what I’m looking for.

Wiki for me is the same problem as Launchpad – I haven’t found an effective way to get the ‘right’ answers to my questions using the Ubuntu Wiki.

Are there magazines, other websites and other resources that often act as on-ramps for community members to get involved?

For me it was the LoCo, if that wasn’t in place, I’m quite certain I wouldn’t get involved with the community.

Why? Well, I tried to help with the documentation of 10.04 New User’s Manual as a way to give back. I was so frustrated and confused as to how to contribute since I was continuously being push to IRC channels and other tools that were not a natural migration for my abilities. I spoke with the Community Manager and he tried to show me and then said you have a steep pre-learning curve before you will even be able to contribute. Members who want to contribute but are not computer/programming/developer-based are essentially hitting brick walls to entry because there is no way for them to contribute without overcoming this difficult learning curve.

At this time, the developer community is a closed club because if you don’t have the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter then you won’t enter and thus won’t contribute.

I currently contribute to the Ubuntu community but only through my Vancouver LoCo team doing marketing and other tasks that match my skill set. I’m more tuned in with the local community because that is currently more accessible to me.

What documentation/resources are available?

Currently, I know of 10.04 but that is more a technical user guide for the software. It doesn’t really introduce you to the community or how to get involved. I’m working on a project with a local College to address what we are calling ‘Hit the Ground Running with Ubuntu.’ Its not a documentation that replaces or even duplicates the User Manual but introduces you to the community and the tools available to you. This doc will be completed late November 2010 and at that time we’ll be releasing it into the Ubuntu Community for review and feedback. This document is tailored for the Ubuntu Vancouver Community but but can certainly be "localized" by other community teams. This was one of the things I felt was sorely needed and helps to address my concerns listed in the previous question.

What support channels are available to help them learn?

Again for me it’s the LoCo community but other than that I don’t find it very supportive in Launchpad or Forums. The way I see it a new user doesn’t have the patience and time to accept a new way of learning something they’ve been doing for years. If we can find a way to lessen that learning curve there would be huge growth in grabbing those that were formerly inaccessible.

How does someone know what to work on? How do they contribute their work back? How easy is it for Sam to understand how this works?

I can’t directly comment on these question because as I stated in the previous questions, its difficult to get through the door to participate.

Beginners Barriers to Participating in the Community - Summary

1) Awareness of the community in 'offline channels' is low and knowing that they can participate is even lower. Those that aren’t fully tuned in to net happenings and tech have an even lower chance of discovering that there is Ubuntu or a community around it. And a good example of this is was this Lavender Farmer we met at the Farmer's Market who was very interested in the project but wouldn't normally encounter us in his 'regular' day.

This summer in Vancouver, I participated in a Marketing Awareness Campaign where we literally hit the streets and started talking to people. You can find the details in my blog listed below.

2) The community is built towards and caters to those that have certain technical background and knowledge. It isolates all those that wish to contribute non-technical skills. Majority of tools used have an underlying assumptions about the person which blocks out a vast majority of people.

3) Guiding a new user into the community is quite confusing and disorienting for that person as they have to ‘unlearn’ many things they originally thought to be true.

4) Forums, Launchpad, Wiki are not sufficient resources to help the beginners get their feet wet. Essentially you are thrown into these and told to swim – if you are beginner you will probably sink and eventually drown.

This has been my personal experience and I’m doing what I can in my local community to change it but I feel a major shift needs to happen in the global community as well. One that is much more welcoming to those that are non-technical. I’m open to all comments and suggestions.

I have also included my recent blog post about the Farmer’s Market Marketing Campaign we had here last summer. And soon I will be posting on OpenIdeo and Brainstorm about how can we increase public awareness.

To date my experience with Ubuntu and the Community has been a pleasant one and I look forward to following the growth of this project.

Sincerely,

Charlene Tessier

frenchfortunecookie@gmail.com

http://frenchfortunecookie.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/learn-grow-share-ubuntu/

CommunityReview/Sep2010/Beginner (last edited 2010-10-07 21:38:48 by cmmtessier)