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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: Past the First Post!!
Date Mon, 16 May 2011 11:08:46 GMT
On 16/05/2011 11:04, Rory MacDonald wrote:
> Hi All,
> Scary first posting to the list!!
> I would like to work with the ASF on improving access to the foundation
> and encouraging participation, that simple really.
> You guys do some fantastic work, and think it has massive potential for
> helping a lot of people, who would in turn help drive the ASF - if they
> only new about and understood it.
> I have discussed with Ross Gardler and Nick Burch, the idea of creating
> "teaching packs" for various different levels of academia and,

My own interest is for these "packs" to be less about "teaching" and 
more about signposting for potential community members regardless of 
their background. That being said, I already have some materials created 
specifically for students that could be reworked (I'm pretty sure the 
author of these is here on this list although she has not posted yet).

> longer-term, I have a personal interest in helping:
> 1). People with special educational needs to benefit from meritocracy
> without stigma.

Interesting. I'm working with a project here in the UK called REALISE. 
This is trying to communicate open development models to the Assistive 
Technology community. Much of what they have done is modelled on the ASF.

It's a very early stage project, but is starting to get legs. See

> 2). Talented individuals (which is everyone in my book) isolated and in
> disenfranchised communities.
> I guess, the first stops are the following:
> - Does anyone object?

I certainly don't object. Of course the ASF is primarily about 
developing software. We are not about addressing the broader needs of 
the specific communities you mention. However, where such work can help 
ASF projects I don't see any issues.

> - Does anyone have any ideas or want to help?

The biggest problem newcomers to the ASF have is being lost. It's a very 
big place and most of what we do and how we do is not clearly 
documented. There are docs all over the foundation that explain most of 
the key issues, but they are difficult to find and often difficult to 
read (even if English is your first language).

Making it easier for people to engage with the ASF and its projects is 
the primary goal of the Community Development project. I have always 
wanted to see some clear signposting documents that will help orientate 
newcomers. Our newbie FAQ goes some way towards doing this, but it's a 
long way from perfect.


> - Is there anything in existence which I can build on or should at least
> look at before going ahead?

Yes, it's all over the site and its projects. I think the 
best thing to do is focus on a specific issue that newcomers face and 
then address this.

Once issue that has come up a couple of times with GSoC getting underway 
is that the students feel that there is no "place" for them. There is, 
the list is the right place. Maybe we need a 
"welcome" document for these people that will point them at key 
resources and invite them to the list.


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