Is it time for a newbie-hacker mentor for PostgreSQL.org?

At PostgresConf US 2018, Bruce Momjian, Grant Zhou, and I had a meeting to discuss potential opportunities for the Chinese PostgreSQL community to participate in the wider International community, including submitting patches to PostgreSQL.Org. Then at Postgres Open China the International Consultants Committee had a meeting to discuss more opportunities in depth. Between the two meetings there were a lot of ideas but one opportunity that was considered needs further discussion:

Volume

There are many volumes within the PostgreSQL community. Email volume (over 3000 emails to -hackers alone in the first 6 months of 2018), side channel volume, idea volume, and, arguably most important, code volume. The investment someone has to make in order to submit a feature to the community is large. In man hours you could burn months (sometimes years) trying to get a major feature accepted into the code base. The upside is that PostgreSQL as a whole has a quality of software that is higher than most, if not all, other competing projects. The downside is that the investment can be draining to the point where you sometimes ask yourself if it is worth it. (Tip: It usually is.)

We have a commitfest manager, we have a release committee, we have a funds group, a core team, and a sysadmins teams. It seems the next logical step for maturing the community is to remember that it is people that make the community and people need leaders, coordinators, and mentors. So why don’t we have official mentors?

A newbie-hacker mentor could be rotational, which is similar to how the commitfest manager works. How would it work? Do we have a team that signs on for a major release and guides new hackers through the process? Perhaps it is just one person that signs on for each year in a similar manner to the GSOC process? What does the community think? Could we work through a process to submit a proposal to -hackers?

I am not sure what the answer is but I know that Silicon Valley Postgres is holding a workshop on August 15th addressing some of these exact concerns. It is 100% free and a large team of people is going to be available to help anyone interested in learning how to get through (some may say “survive”) the rigorous PostgreSQL patch review and submission process.

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