Mentorship Program for New Members

In the sequence of events caused by changes on the Developer Forum entry process, developers have brought up concerns on how New Members (especially those who got in through this new process) may misuse the platform.

Among the issues mentioned:

  • Low-quality posts, development support requests that could be solved with a Google lookup, etc.
  • Lack of “Developer Culture”, or whatever you call it with low quality offers on Collaboration sections.

While it’s not impossible that those kind of “bad content” was intentional, it’s also likely that they simply don’t know the unwritten rules that we follow here on the Developer Forum. And that is natural, because if nobody told them, how are they supposed to know it?

Some have suggested to restrict New Member’s post/reply permissions even further, others creating another Trust Level (which I think we can’t create a Trust Level 0.5), and others wanted to revert the change to keep post quality.


While those are all backed up by valid reasons, keeping them behind a pre-approval process in 90% of the sections (90% might be an hyperbole) is a burden for Lead Top Contributors and also a bad thing for the New Members themselves, as they got to wait until their post is approved, and while this is the old quality vs speed debate, at the moment the speed factor needs to be improved, hence why the changes happened in the first place.

It doesn’t mean however that we need to compromise the quality of the forums this far. The idea being proposed also involves participation of our fellow Members, which can go right or not.


The Mentorship Program

The idea behind this name is that upon joining, the New Member will be assigned a mentor, who will accompany, monitor, work with and help the New Member on their first weeks in the Developer Forum.

The Mentor

Mentors will ideally be volunteer Members, that are also able to work with the Top Contributors (those who are currently monitoring the New Members).

This said, the program should be opt-in, with some constraints (this is a draft):

  • Can’t be a Top Contributor/Lead Top Contributor (so that decisions are not biased);
  • It should be specified how many mentorees a mentor can handle at the same time (From two or three up to a dozen, it’s up to the mentor to decide);
  • The mentor cannot “choose” his mentoree, they should be assigned randomly.
  • The mentor should act as a link between the New Member and the Lead Top Contributors and Dev Engagement Team.
  • Cannot drop their ongoing current mentorship “sessions” (six to ten weeks, or 1.5 to 2.5 months, may be adjusted as results come in)

The mentor will then be someone who the New Member can contact for any question regarding the Developer Forum, and ideally have a special trust to.


Goals and Duties

While we have tools to flag and send feedback messages to the users, I believe that “welcoming” them with those might not be the best approach. They will definitely commit mistakes, but forcing them to go the hard way can demoralize them to try again. That’s how I see this. (albeit it won’t happen with everyone)

The Mentor also should be able to convey the Developer Culture to the New Member (recognizing the offers, percentages, “unwritten” rules, using the DevHub, etc.), and this is the part that should be focused on.


For Mentors

In order to aid mentors with their goals, I propose the current set of “perks”:

  • A channel specifically designed for them: Whether it is through this forum or a Discord server, it should be a place so that they can discuss their methods, cases, and ultimately help eachother doing their job on making the DevForum a better place.
  • Not strictly needed, but a role in the DevForum would also help signalling other Mentors if there’s an issue where the assigned mentor is unable to help, etc.

A similar program was implemented at my college and it seemed to drastically reduce the amount of students that failed the modules in their first year. While it works there, I admit that they don’t have the problem of scalability that we have (but we’ll never know if we never try, right?), plus the sucess of it would essentially rely on the Members giving away part of their time for New Members.

I’ll leave this topic open for the discussion of the idea. What are your insights on this?

24 Likes

Maybe a required tutorial on top?

9 Likes

It also helps, but we have also those who straight ignore the tutorial and therefore a more personalized approach is generally better.

There are also New Members that don’t really need a mentor, where the tutorial does suffice.
If that’s the case, we can assign mentors to an user in the case he/she hits a flag treshold. It’s more scalable and more targeted.

3 Likes

While I really like the idea behind this, I’ve some concerns:

Out of all of the members of the developer forum, there might only be a small percentage that would be willing to mentor a few new members. If that’s the case, would those few members really be enough to mentor all of the new members that are coming in due to the new system? I personally don’t think there would be anywhere near enough members as time goes by, and a lot of these new members might not even be interested in contributing to the forum, which could potentially just waste some of the members’ time. Perhaps a poll for members would be useful, to determine how manh people would be interested in helping with this.

In addition to this, not all members would be a decent mentor to the new members, due to lack of experience or interest in helping. If there was an approval process or a smaller group of members assigned to individual new members, such as the top contributor group, there would be even fewer members available to mentor the huge amount of new members that are coming into the forum. This could therefore affect the personalised feel to the mentoring, as each member would have such a large amount of new members that they’re responsible for.

4 Likes

In my opinion, it’s a bad idea or at least needs tweaking because of a few things:

  • Not many actual Members have the time and/or patience to let’s be honest about it babysit a bunch of newbies when they have lots of ongoing projects/commissions on their heads.
  • I don’t think that many people will be focused on learning about the forum when the mentor will be a well-known person from the RBXDev/RTC.
  • There’s a high possibility that once a new member completes the mentoring program, they’ll simply start uploading low-quality posts.
  • There’s a chance that mentors would also face consequences of their mentoree’s actions (which most of them probably doesn’t want to).
  • Mentors can end up befriending their Mentorees which can cause bias.

I have 2 suggestions that involve the beginners tutorial which surely aren’t really possible to implement or are too complicated coding-wise:

  1. Expanding @discobot’s tutorials by showing what kind of posts are/aren’t welcomed in the community.
Pros
  • Users can go back to that part of the tutorial at any time.
  • Can be updated at any time and the bot can notify you about it.
Cons
  • Users may simply just ignore the bot and keep posting low-quality content.
  • Not everyone knows how to trigger the tutorial.
  1. Requiring the Liscened badge in order to post/reply to any forum threads.
Pros
  • It’ll let people get familiar with how the forum works before actually posting anything.
Cons
  • It may affect normal Members of the forum that don’t own the badge.

The possibilities are endless and as a community, we should be working together to create a solution to this, quite troublesome, problem.

Also, if I may, I want to share my opinion on the whole situation which surely can be avoided. It would be a lot easier for us, New Members, to adapt to the quality requirements of the forum if the normal members actually tried to help us, instead of labeling all of us as “bad apples” and trying to run away from us by asking for a completely new forum for them. I do understand the concern of the dropping quality but if we moved aside the toxic thinking about the Dev Forum as a place “for the elite” and instead thought of it as a way to connect as a developer to other equally or more passionate developers, we’d make this place return to its quality before the change in the long run. All we got to do is cooperate.

Sorry if I made typos here and there, my English isn’t really perfect… :sweat_smile:

6 Likes

Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help.

EDIT: but please do so in a private message to me. :wink:

50 Likes

Omg, is this supposed to be here?

Bots have been one of the most painfull things in the game history, from spamming my Friend requests, to Spamming Plugins Commentaries, Spamming Broken Plugins, Spamming on the groups commentary section…

Or maybe it is a good thing?

3 Likes

Oh, God… I didn’t mean to actually call you here. Go back to being with us in DMs :neutral_face:

7 Likes

It’s just a native bot that provides tutorials. Feel free to talk to it in a DM to find out.

6 Likes

Oh interesting.

As I said in the OP, the scalability of the project is definitely an issue:

But the same way we can’t have mentors for everyone, fortunately, not everyone needs a mentor. If we restrict the assigning to those who show that really need a mentor (either by continuous 0-strike flagging or even by the request of a chunk of the community), it should be more doable.

I didn’t want to use the term “babysit” because, contrary to what you may think the point is not being watching them 24/7 (mentors shouldn’t view this as full time) - instead, one is expect to accompany as needed. If a mentor realizes the New Member is walking on their feet, they can step back or even determine the end of the session as it’s not needed anymore.

Generally those will, as you said, not have the time to do it. Plus, most of them are Top Contributors already which puts them in a position where mentoring isn’t best suited for them.

By analogy, anyone who would complete the mentoring program in my college and passed all modules in the first year would most likely fail almost every module in the second year. If that happens, then we can assume that the mentoree wasn’t interested at all.

As I said earlier, the point isn’t for the mentor to become a virtual parent. “Responsability” only goes up to a point. If the New Member goes on trolling and such, that has nothing to do with the mentor (unless the mentor was abusing their position).

Moreover, Mentors shouldn’t have any deliberative power when it comes to moderation so that bias should not be too worrying as the mentorees will be viewed as equal by the moderation team.

2 Likes

This just isn’t feasible due to the fact that you can’t guarantee that there will be enough willing full members who are willing to dedicate their time to helping new members read the rule post.

4 Likes

As a new member I do like these ideas of changing it to what the old system used to be. I make allot of mistakes and I feel pressure of if I am following the rules which I don’t really know to well. But I’m trying my best to make a major effort to learn. Thanks from John.

2 Likes

I do agree that can be a barrier, but in my opinion the exact same could have happened with the Top Contributor program, and yet we’re here. We won’t know if we don’t try.

With the right set of perks we can have enough people to cover that chunk of New Members that still didn’t fully understand the rules of the Forum, as that is the one that can drive the most issues and would benefit more from this.

i don’t think that’s what I meant (read the OP again!). making someone reading a rule post doesn’t take weeks. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I feel like this kind of program is demeaning to new members and makes them feel like children. Having a “mentor” hold a new member by the hand and treating them like they don’t know anything about the forum just isn’t fair to the new members who know what they’re doing. A lot of the new members have been perfectly fine, it’s just easier to notice the people who make lots bad posts than those who don’t post very frequently.

This is a better solution, but sometimes people just need a warning and they’ll be fine after that. I don’t see a lot of people repeating the same mistakes over and over, and if they do then I think that more action should be taken than just giving someone a mentor.

3 Likes

To sum up what you said in the first paragraph:

And I do agree with you on the “treating like kids” thing. Most of the people that got into the DevForum since the new update are in fact users that have months of experience here as people who go through threads and saw how members acted in every reply/post. Altho we never really know if the mentor would actually ask about ones experience on the forum before proceeding to mentor.

2 Likes

No mention of sorting posts by quality? That’s too bad, I was really hoping that suggestion would stick more.

Either way, considering Roblox had trouble keeping up with applications already, I doubt there is even enough mentors available for mentor-ships, even in an optimal situation. It would be a huge undertaking to set up the communication streams required, and I’m not sure it would have a large enough impact to really work.

I’d at least need to see some analytics to really get on board with this idea.

3 Likes

To keep it short. I’m against this change. With the concerns of the amount of people getting let in, the availability of members being able to be a ‘mentor’, and how it’d be implemented.

The mentor should act as a link between the New Member and the Lead Top Contributors and Dev Engagement Team.

Any New Member can PM the Lead Top Contributors at any time if they have any concerns, go through post approval, or even general questions. I don’t understand why a “middle link” is needed.

It should be specified how many mentorees a mentor can handle at the same time (From two or three up to a dozen, it’s up to the mentor to decide)

This’ll be a problem given the amount of people getting accepted into the forums now, and to mention that I’m assuming only Members would be able to mentor someone
While you explained some solvable issues in a reply of yours. I just don’t think this type of thing is needed for the forums.

3 Likes

It’s a good idea in theory, but in reality, not many people would want to mentor others, nor do some people want to be mentored. The solution to “devforum problems” is as simple as forcing them to google before posting, and in my opinion, this request is reaally unnecessary.

2 Likes

As a new member myself, I quite like this idea and would find it very useful for me and other new members who are just joining the DevForum.

2 Likes