The CPAN buddy system

CPANBuddyculturecommunity Fri 16 August 2013

This is an idea for encouraging new contributors to CPAN. When someone uploads their first ever module to CPAN, a volunteer buddy would be assigned. This would be a more experienced CPAN author who would email them "hi, saw your just uploaded your first module — awesome! Let me know if you have any questions, in the meantime here are some good resources about modules, CPAN and the perl community". Of course that could be done automatically, but the human connection would make a lot of difference, I believe.

This was prompted by an experience while working on my quest to fix up Changes files. I noticed it was their first upload and put a slightly longer cover note, explaining about it. I got a nice message back, which made me think that we could be more welcoming to new authors.

First impressions really do count, and this could give an even better first impression of the Perl community. It might help new young blood stick around. It's also an opportunity to gently nudge in good directions.

I'm intentionally using the word buddy here rather than mentor, as mentor tends to imply some sort of hierarchy and might feel patronising.

This wouldn't take much work to create:

A quicker approach could be set up with an email responder, where you email We could be more proactive and identify potential buddies and email them, asking them to volunteer.

How many buddies would we need per month? Or put another way, how many people upload their first module to CPAN per month?

First time uploaders per month

Or looking at the monthly average, by year:

First time uploaders per month

So slightly more than one per day. If we had about 150 people volunteer, they'd be called on about 3 times per year.

What are the first things we should tell a freshly minted CPAN author?

This started off as a random idea, but now I'm working on building it ...

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