Forum: Ruby Adopt-a-newbie? Based on actual experience.

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SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 22:03
(Received via mailing list)
Hello all,

Remember Samantha? She dropped by the list a while ago and was given the
idea to develop a Rails resume generator...

Anyway, yesterday she happened to email me about the Haifa RUG post
(only
reply this far and it was a false :/ ) and I happened to remember her
project and give her a bit of advice, and it developed into a
conversation
reminding a bit of a chat about her project, that seems to have pulled
her
out of a stuck position (I hope).

Well, she told me she's glad she can email me those questions since
sending
them to the list would be overkill and uncomfortable...

Now, remember the recent discussion about newbie questions plaguing the
list?

All of this has brought me to think of an Adopt-a-newbie model. Somehow,
every newbie that wants would get an email address of a volunteer from
ruby-talk, with whom he can correspond personally and who will answer
his
basic questions and serve to also encourage him to keep learning.

I could manage two-three active newbies at a time, I think, and they
would
greatly benefit from it if they are anything like me.


What do you think? Would you consider it a good idea? Would you
volunteer?
Is anyone up for infrastructure (preferrably on ruby-lang.org, though
anywhere is good)?



Aur S.
Samantha (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 22:11
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> out of a stuck position (I hope).
> ruby-talk, with whom he can correspond personally and who will answer his
>
>
> Aur S.
>

As a newbie, I think that would be awesome.  I've emailed off-list with
two
people so far, and the help has been tremendous.  I think that it's an
awesome idea.  Personally, I don't like putting stuff out there and
possibly
sounding like a moron ;) so, I get shy asking specific questions when I
know
that so many people are out there on the list.  It's a bit intimidating.

So, you get my newbie-vote.

--
Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk."
  --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Logan C. (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 22:20
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Feb 15, 2007 at 05:03:16AM +0900, SonOfLilit wrote:
>
>
> I could manage two-three active newbies at a time, I think, and they would
> greatly benefit from it if they are anything like me.
>
>
> What do you think? Would you consider it a good idea? Would you volunteer?
> Is anyone up for infrastructure (preferrably on ruby-lang.org, though
> anywhere is good)?
>
I would be interested, but I think it would depend on the adoptee not
just the adopter. I would not want to end up being the fount of
knowledge and turn into a crutch for the adopted person.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 22:23
(Received via mailing list)
Well, to potential adoptees we can only offer the service...

But I think many would gladly accept.


Aur S.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:00
(Received via mailing list)
Well, until further notice (and please read this thread to the end to
check
that further notice wasn't issued), I will coordinate this personally.

Any newbie who thinks he would benefit from such tutorship should mail
me
and will probably get ME as a tutor.

If I'm too swamped I'll ask Logan, and anyone else who volunteers, to
take
some new ones (and redirect them by email).

Just a very temporary solution.

Aur S.
Han D. (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:16
(Received via mailing list)
Well, it sound like apprenticeship or something like a pupil to a
teacher.


I guess mentors have the responsibility of being patient and newbies
have
the responsibility of being eager to learn.
Peter S. (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:18
(Received via mailing list)
SonOfLilit wrote:
> Well, until further notice (and please read this thread to the end to check
> that further notice wasn't issued), I will coordinate this personally.
>
> Any newbie who thinks he would benefit from such tutorship should mail me
> and will probably get ME as a tutor.
>
> If I'm too swamped I'll ask Logan, and anyone else who volunteers, to take
> some new ones (and redirect them by email).

I think this is a fabulous idea.

OK, I am also in if Logan will get swamped, too :-) I am far from being
a Ruby pro myself, but I guess I know enough (and still learning
everyday) to show the way to newbies...
I have learned a lot by answering some simple to semi-advanced questions
on the ML so I guess to have a 'personal newbie' could help a lot
(because of similar reasons)

We (the adopters) could maybe even share our experience and pull out the
most frequently asked questions and compile them into a 'newbie kickoff
FAQ' or something.


Cheers,
Peter
__
http://www.rubyrailways.com :: Ruby and Web2.0 blog
http://scrubyt.org :: Ruby web scraping framework
http://rubykitchensink.ca/ :: The indexed archive of all things Ruby.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:25
(Received via mailing list)
You don't need to be a pro.

I'm not.

The questions these... adopters... shoudl answer are those too
simplistic to
have the whole list look at them, and giving a direction on implementing
something.

If there's interest, I have permision from Semantha to quote the
discussion
that led to this. It was mainly showing her a lighter way to do
something
she was going, IMHO, too heavy about. In the process she learned stuff
about
YAML and that Hash is general (it turns out too many Hash examples are
only
symbol => symbol).

Aur S.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:32
(Received via mailing list)
Hmm.

I've just received private email from a volunteer, who is (self
proclaimed)
good enough to cover the basics (which is great and what we need here),
but
would also like it if someone would adopt /him/.

First, please send these mails to the list. That is what will generate
interest and hopefully turn this into more than an email-coordinated
project.

Second, when I think about it, I'd also be glad to be adopted (once
Calculus
is over and I have time for my Ruby project again). Tutoring is
something
that would work even better for those who know their stuff but aren't
too
strong on code foo.

Would any of the Ruby masters on this list be interested in mentoring
more
advanced users on their projects?

Here, by the way, I can think of perhaps demanding that those projects
are
open-source and benefit the community (also I hope not, since mine isn't
and
won't be for now).


Aur S.
James G. (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:40
(Received via mailing list)
On Feb 14, 2007, at 3:31 PM, SonOfLilit wrote:

> First, please send these mails to the list. That is what will generate
> interest and hopefully turn this into more than an email-coordinated
> project.

I like this movement and want to see it be successful, but I think
swamping the list with a match-up service is the wrong idea.  I
believe it's time to consider providing an external where parties on
both sides can express interest.

James Edward G. II
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:48
(Received via mailing list)
Indeed.

I asked for the volunteers to post to-list. That is also temporary.

Newbies should post directly to me (until someone sets up a matching
service).

Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to set up such a service and
that's why I asked in the first post if someone volunteers to.

In the meantime, I am your humble neighborhood match-up service.

James, do you have time to adopt a more experienced user or two
yourself?
It's not a very active position, just an email of advice once in a
while.


Aur S.
James G. (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:51
(Received via mailing list)
On Feb 14, 2007, at 3:47 PM, SonOfLilit wrote:

> James, do you have time to adopt a more experienced user or two
> yourself?
> It's not a very active position, just an email of advice once in a
> while.

I will consider it.

James Edward G. II
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:53
(Received via mailing list)
Thank you.
Pat M. (Guest)
on 2007-02-14 23:55
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> All of this has brought me to think of an Adopt-a-newbie model. Somehow,
> every newbie that wants would get an email address of a volunteer from
> ruby-talk, with whom he can correspond personally and who will answer his
> basic questions and serve to also encourage him to keep learning.

OOH!  I want a newbie!!

Seriously, this sounds pretty cool.  I'm lucky enough to write Ruby
all day long for my day job, and I could probably help some other
people out quite a bit I think.

Pat
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:06
(Received via mailing list)
I'm currently hand-spamming a few users at ruby-talk that lately started
a
thread that I think any of the regulars here could answer easily, about
this
thread.

I hope they don't regard it as what it is - spam - but instead think -
like
me - that it's an opportunity for a more fun and more straightforward
learning experience.

I also hope I'm not insulting anybody by calling them a newbie when it
is
undeserved (also I see no harm in this name myself).

Aur S.
barjunk (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:15
(Received via mailing list)
On Feb 14, 12:54 pm, "Pat M." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> all day long for my day job, and I could probably help some other
> people out quite a bit I think.
>
> Pat


I'm a newbie willing to be beaten ....ahh....helped by a more
experienced user. :)

I'd also willing provide time to a super brand new person wanting
install help and ruby basics.

What do we do next?

James' idea about moving this offlist has merit.

Mike B.
Jason Palmer (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:16
(Received via mailing list)
Sign me up!
Anyone who wants to email me with questions feel free.
removed_email_address@domain.invalid
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:19
(Received via mailing list)
As a newb wishing to be helped, please email me directly. That would
take
load off the list.

I still prefer volunteers to post on-list so we can see the scale of
this.

Aur S.
Vincent F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:41
(Received via mailing list)
SonOfLilit wrote:
> All of this has brought me to think of an Adopt-a-newbie model. [...]
> What do you think? Would you consider it a good idea? Would you volunteer?
> Is anyone up for infrastructure (preferrably on ruby-lang.org, though
> anywhere is good)?

  I very much like the idea, but I would like to mitigate a little the
points of view given so far. True enough, some newbie questions are
recurring and sometimes a little heavy on the list. But it often happens
that a newbie question triggers a whole bunch of completely different
answers on the list - and I've learned many tricks from 'newbie'
questions, though I hardly consider myself a newbie anymore. That would
be a pity to deprive ruby-talk reader from this interesting threads.

  To prevent that, why not change slightly the role of the 'mentor' : if
I understand right, an important part of the problem is about
self-censorship. So if the 'mentor' could act as a 'censor' (sorry, my
English is not that great and I can't come up with a more neutral term)
and redirect the newbie to the list when he/she thinks that it is likely
to trigger a rich thread ?

  Just my 2 cents...

  Vince
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:49
(Received via mailing list)
But of course!

This doesn't come to rid the list of discussions.

This comes to allow discussion on smaller details in a more comfortable
manner.

You know... Like when you ask the programmer next to you something over
his
shoulder while he is programming.


It also comes to have someone the newb can discuss program design with,
as
that is something that is hard to embody in a single list question.


Having one person familiar with what you are doing is sometimes superior
to
having ten experts, especially if they have other things to do.


Of course, interesting discussions should still go to ruby-talk. And if
I'm
predicting correctly, this will spawn MANY interesting discussions (as
that
is what cognitive resonance does).
Jim C. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:53
(Received via mailing list)
>> I would be interested, but I think it would depend on the adoptee not
>> just the adopter. I would not want to end up being the fount of
>> knowledge and turn into a crutch for the adopted person.
>> >
>> >
>> > Aur S.
As far as the adoptee taking undue advantage of the adopter's time and
willingness to help, I've been on teams where we use Social Contracts to
outline expectations and responsibilities from the start. This provides
a good framework for resolving clashes. For instance, if the adopter can
devote 2 hours per week yet the adoptee is asking eight detailed
questions per day, the Social Contract can be used to remind both sides
of the match to what they have agreed to.

Doing a quick search on Google for mentoring agreements, I found a
simple one at:
https://www-personnel.salford.ac.uk/docs/Code%20of...
where Appendix I was a simple example agreement, Appendix II was
'Periodic Mentoring Partnership Review' and Appendix III was 'Monitoring
and Evaluating the mentoring relationship'. Perhaps this is overkill and
people would prefer much more informal arrangements (if any) but I still
think it is a good idea to synchronize the adopter and adoptee's
expectations early on. I would hate to see the fallout of a bad match
overshadow the success of the remaining ones.

Regards,
Jim
Vincent F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 00:54
(Received via mailing list)
SonOfLilit wrote:
> Of course, interesting discussions should still go to ruby-talk. And if I'm
> predicting correctly, this will spawn MANY interesting discussions (as that
> is what cognitive resonance does).

  That would be good. Let's give it some time to see the outcome !

  Cheers,

  Vincent

PS: for the infrastructure, why not create a rubyforge project and setup
a wiki over there ? That should scale up to a reasonable size.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 01:03
(Received via mailing list)
This seems like psychological overkill to me - it would scare the hell
out
of newbies if they are anything like me.

I think the mentor should just know that he may always say "listen, this
is
too much for me, please find someone else who has more time" and it's
totally OK.

About Vincent's wiki suggestion, yes, that could work, only:

1) I don't have time to setup infrastructure.
2) The infrastructure I'd really want to exist is some form of recording
and
public display of all willing mentoring sessions. Perhaps an email
address
that both sides are asked to CC conversations they don't mind sharing to
(or
a gateway between the sides) and a nice website allowing anyone to
browse
the conversations.

That would make a GREAT learning resource.

What'd be even better is to provide recorded chatrooms for whomever
wills to
use them. Perhaps 37signals' chat system would do? Is it manageable with
it
in a free way?

Aur S.

I'd be really thankful if someone else takes up infrastructure
management,
as I really can't ATM.
Pat M. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 01:23
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, Jim C. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> As far as the adoptee taking undue advantage of the adopter's time and
> willingness to help, I've been on teams where we use Social Contracts to
> outline expectations and responsibilities from the start.

I hate the idea of a "social contract."

The obvious solution is mentor refactoring:

red: newbie asks question
green: mentor answers question
refactor: each person asks if they like the other guy, find someone
else if they don't

Simple, low stress, low obligation, no hard feelings

The whole point of this is to make it easy and comfortable to learn
the basics of Ruby.  Contracts?  Yuck!

Pat

p.s. I didn't read the contract, so I have no clue what it looks like.
 But I can just about guarantee you that anything called a contract
and delivered in .doc is of no interest to me :)
Steven R. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 01:25
(Received via mailing list)
barjunk wrote:
>> all day long for my day job, and I could probably help some other
>
> What do we do next?
>
> James' idea about moving this offlist has merit.
>
> Mike B.
>


I am in - as a Newbie and to help answer questions from new-er-bies.

I am the organizer of the Chicago Area Ruby Meetup - if y'all join (it's
free for you) you have access to forums, etc. It is not seeing much
traffic right now (user traffic - there are no ads, and I make $0 from
it - in fact, I pay to keep it).

Here's the link - join and email. I'll do whatever I can, within the
limited functionality of Meetup.com, to help coordinate.

Steve R.

http://ruby.meetup.com/77/about/

PS - I realize most of you are nowhere near me, so you'd be unlikely to
attend the meetings, but it would be cool to have people in Lebanon,
Nigeria, Germany, Australia, wherever as members...
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 01:26
(Received via mailing list)
+1
Olivier (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 01:38
(Received via mailing list)
I think this is a great idea ! I can't wait for being adopted by Matz ^^

Seriously, I'm interrested in trying the experience of adopting a
newbie, but
I'm not sure if my explanations would be clear enough, as my english is
somewhat poor. However, as it is a 1 to 1 relationship, it would be
logical
to take into account the prefered language(s) of the adopter and the
adoptee.
Did you already think about that ?
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 01:45
(Received via mailing list)
Well, since for now it's coordinated here and by email, just tell me
where
you are from and what languages you speak :)

This goes to anyone else.

Aur S.
Greg D. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 01:59
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, Olivier <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> I'm not sure if my explanations would be clear enough, as my english is
> somewhat poor.

Couldn't the pupil teach the teacher English as part of the deal?

Just a thought.
Olivier (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 02:17
(Received via mailing list)
> > Did you already think about that ?
> >
> > --
> > Olivier R.

> Well, since for now it's coordinated here and by email, just tell me where
> you are from and what languages you speak :)
>
> This goes to anyone else.
>
> Aur S.
>

Ok.
I speak french, and I live near Paris. I would be more comfortable
helping
someone whose native language is french. But, as Greg suggests, it may
be a
way to improve my english a bit, to help an english-speaking person.
Actually, I fear more for the pupil than for me, if my english
explanations
confuse him more than it helps !
Samantha (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 02:29
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, Steven R. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> limited functionality of Meetup.com, to help coordinate.
>
> Steve R.
>
> http://ruby.meetup.com/77/about/
>
> PS - I realize most of you are nowhere near me, so you'd be unlikely to
> attend the meetings, but it would be cool to have people in Lebanon,
> Nigeria, Germany, Australia, wherever as members...
>
>
http://www.rubynewbie.org is available.  Once I have gainful employment,
I'm
willing to buy the domain and put it to work for this purpose.

--
Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk."
  --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Jim C. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 02:30
(Received via mailing list)
Pat M. wrote:
> p.s. I didn't read the contract, so I have no clue what it looks like.
> But I can just about guarantee you that anything called a contract
> and delivered in .doc is of no interest to me :)
>
Agreements/contracts don't have to be long, ugly or scary (disclosure:
IANAL). I'll do some editing of the one I found but basically it boils
down to this:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
This agreement supports the mentoring partnership between:
Mentor:
Mentee:
Date:

Agreed objectives:
*
Mentee:* (What I hope to get from this mentoring partnership....)
*
Mentor**:*  (I will provide support in the following ways - email, phone
hours, etc. ............):

*The groundrules for our mentoring partnership are:* This should include
your agreed responses to issues of confidentiality, time commitment,
availability (when and where you can both be contacted), ...

*Reviewing partnership objectives:* (It is a good idea to review this
agreement and your objectives at an appropriate time).

We will review this agreement on: _____________

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

If people agree that this is too time consuming or unnecessary,
completely understood and I'll drop it. I just think that having
potential matches get to know each other a little better and discuss
some groundrules is not a bad thing.

-Jim
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 02:34
(Received via mailing list)
Well, I think such things should come AFTER they get to know each other,
if
it is needed, on a personal basis.

In general, both give away free time interacting by email.

I think grown up people on this list don't really need such a phase
before
every email they send.

If a certain case arises - handle as you will.


Just my thoughts, what do other people think?

Aur S.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 02:39
(Received via mailing list)
Oh, by the way, in the future, could volunteers list their topics of
interest in short? Not a long exact enumeration, just something like:

"I work with numeric calculations and Rails and would be more helpful
with
those." or "I do graphics with OpenGL and could help with that".

Especially Rails experience matters, since newbies tend to be separated
to
pure rubyists and railsists.
Daniel F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 02:53
(Received via mailing list)
I'll volunteer to be a mentor.

Dan
Olivier R. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 03:10
(Received via mailing list)
SonOfLilit wrote :
> Oh, by the way, in the future, could volunteers list their topics of
> interest in short? Not a long exact enumeration, [...]

I can help more specifically with Gtk, OpenGL and algorithmic.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 03:16
(Received via mailing list)
Say... Where do newbies look for help first?

A link here could do wonders.
Jim C. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 03:37
(Received via mailing list)
SonOfLilit wrote:
> Well, I think such things should come AFTER they get to know each
> other, if
> it is needed, on a personal basis.
But that is the point, the matches don't know each other is this is only
a starting point for them. I completely agree though that this is a
personal decision for them to decide if they need this or want to
formalize any of the points they discuss.
> I think grown up people on this list don't really need such a phase
> before
> every email they send.
Although I have only been lurking on this list for a couple of months, I
have been totally impressed with the expertise of the Ruby community,
the help offered and the lack of flames. None of what I have offered
today I think should get in the way of this.

I'll change the scope of when this agreement could be used by pointing
out that if potential mentors / mentees would fill out their respective
sections in advance when seeking a match, you would then have a starting
point to work with to make matches based on skills/needs,
locale/language, availability or anything else they wish to disclose.
Currently, people are volunteering but you don't know much about them.
When a match is made, both parties can decide if they want to make a
combined agreement or not based on their own comfort levels. I certainly
never envisioned this as a process that happens before every email sent.

Now to plagiarize Ed Borasky, it's my time to be <ducking>.

-Jim
|MKSM| (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 09:23
(Received via mailing list)
> Although I have only been lurking on this list for a couple of months, I
> have been totally impressed with the expertise of the Ruby community,
> the help offered and the lack of flames. None of what I have offered
> today I think should get in the way of this.

I agree with Jim. That is a fact in the Ruby community.

I wander a lot in Ruby's IRC channel at Freenode. I believe that the
easiest way of a newbie getting help is to just ask. If the person
doesn't want to just shoot the question out in the open, we could have
a few frequent IRC users that will help them through private messages.

Having a channel full of mentors is somehow better than binding a
newbie to only one person.

Regards,

Ricardo Amorim
Brian S. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 11:34
(Received via mailing list)
Hey I saw on the adopt a geek thread you were creating a resume
generator. I
was looking at doing the same thing. How is it coming?
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 11:39
(Received via mailing list)
I think emailing her off-list would be more proper :)
Brian S. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 11:53
(Received via mailing list)
Grr. Thats what I meant to do. Stupid non-mind reading computer.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 11:55
(Received via mailing list)
Since I've been asked a lot, a few guidelines for mentors:

* When you receive an email asking if you're OK hooking up with a
newbie,
you're just expected to wait until he asks something.
* It would be more advantageous, though, if you do send him an
introductory
email and try and get to know him, his code and his purposes in learning
Ruby. From there you can spawn a discussion on the design of his code,
offering him better ways to do things.
* As important as it is to teach Ruby, it is important to teach both
good
practices (from indentation through irb to testing) and how to find
information in the Ruby world (how to use documentation, when to ask on
ml,
what's on rubyforge...)
* Don't just spill information. Wait for it to be exactly relevant.
* Think of this whole things like a discussion in a computer lab where
the
programmer next to you asks you a question in a field you're better
at...
The sort of discussion that also happens a lot at conferences.

Aur S.

if anyone has a good tip to add, feel free!
Samantha (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 17:43
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/15/07, William S. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> Grr. Thats what I meant to do. Stupid non-mind reading computer.
>
>
Yours doesn't read your mind, either?   The nerve... =)

(btw, thread taken offlist to discuss the pitiful excuse for progress on
the
referenced project, or lack thereof.)

--
Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk."
  --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Vincent F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-15 18:21
(Received via mailing list)
I'd like to put myself up for adoption!.

Vincent F.
Go Montessori
1757 Woodside Dr., Suite 201
Woodland, CA 95695
1.800.331.5147 (Toll-free from the US and Canada)
530.661.1968 (FAX)

Visit: www.montessorijobs.com
Eric D. (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 02:45
(Received via mailing list)
SonOfLilit wrote:
> Indeed.
>
> I asked for the volunteers to post to-list. That is also temporary.

I would like to volunteer my help to mentor a person or two.  I have
been using Ruby for about two years now.  About 50% of my Ruby is with
Rails, the other 50% is general system administration stuff (e.g. file
management, calling external programs, etc).


Samantha wrote:
 > http://www.rubynewbie.org is available.  Once I have gainful
employment,
 > I'm
 > willing to buy the domain and put it to work for this purpose.
 >

I have ordered this domain for now, just to hold it.  I can transfer it
to someone else if we need to.  I also have a server we can use to host
the website on if someone would like to create one (or redirect it to a
RubyForge project page).

Eric D.
Samantha (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 03:20
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/15/07, Eric D. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> RubyForge project page).
>
> Eric D.
>
>
Awesome, Eric!

It's really cool to see such a great community!!!
-- Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk."
  --Ralph Waldo Emerson
CHubas (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 04:05
(Received via mailing list)
On Feb 15, 1:23 am, |MKSM| <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> a few frequent IRC users that will help them through private messages.
>
> Having a channel full of mentors is somehow better than binding a
> newbie to only one person.
>
> Regards,
>
> Ricardo Amorim



I agree with him somehow.

In my short (but pleasant) experience with programming, as a newbie I
started looking for resources, forums and sources of information. Ruby
was my first language, and what made it special is that, although
there are not too many libraries or information in English, this
groups made (my) learning experience good.

I cannot say I'm a total newbie, but I think part of that learning is
to search, to ask. That's what the forums are for, and to make that
process 'private' may benefit one person, but I think it will private
that information to others. I cannot say I'm a newbie, but a lot of
what I've learnt has been through this forum. (Yeah, I'm a lurker too)

Not that is not a good idea, but it has to be more focused on oslve
specific doubts or give more extensive help to someone. I find it a
great idea to be tutor of some people of the same language, for
example.

Probably I'm not the best person to say it, but it's my point of view.
Gregory B. (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 04:14
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:

> What do you think? Would you consider it a good idea? Would you volunteer?
> Is anyone up for infrastructure (preferrably on ruby-lang.org, though
> anywhere is good)?

I'd be willing to mentor someone as well, but as others have
mentioned, it should be expected that the adoptee is motivated to do
the heavy lifting necessary to learn.

But yeah, I'm in.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 17:49
(Received via mailing list)
It is focused on answering trivial questions and on the kind of dialog
and
guidance that will more often develop in 1:1 than in a group.

As I already said, issues which are fit for ruby-talk should still be
discussed in ruby-talk.

More than that, I would like there to be a system that records those
mentoring sessions who's participants agree to be public and allows
public
browsing and searching of them. With that, I think that instead of
decreasing, the amount of available material for Ruby
learners/practicers
will dramatically INCREASE.

Now if only someone had the time/will to build such a system...


Aur S.
Eivind E. (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 18:11
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> What do you think? Would you consider it a good idea? Would you volunteer?
> Is anyone up for infrastructure (preferrably on ruby-lang.org, though
> anywhere is good)?

I'll volunteer; areas of expertise is advanced pure Ruby hackery, and
generic Unix experience.  I'm a former kernel hacker on FreeBSD with
>20 years of programming experience, about 10 years of web/database
experience, about 4 years of Ruby experience, and I used to work
professionally with Ruby (though I don't at the moment.)

I can help with generic program design and use of Ruby; I do not
program Rails, nor have I worked with most of the special modules for
Ruby lately, just general Ruby programming (including use of
Test::Unit).

If it sounds useful, just throw me questions.

Eivind.
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 20:23
(Received via mailing list)
Premises:
(1) I believe that the list is the best way to teach.
(2) I know that I am a bad teacher (I love to teach of course).
(3) I understand that some newbies are afraid on posting even on the
friendliest ML of the world ruby-talk IMHO.

Conclusion:
Count me in but only if you are willing to accept, that
(1) I will ignore your mail if tired/overbooked or not interested.
(2) I will give strange answers
(3) I will act as a proxy to the list nobody will ever know who asked
the stupid question. <As a matter of fact I can now ask stupid
questions for free:)>

Cheers
Robert
Edwin F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 21:03
First, *my* definition of "newbie" just for this post:

A person who is generally inexperienced in computer programming, and
specifically inexperienced in Ruby programming.

Therefore, when mentioning newbies in this post, I do not refer to
people who are already adept at programming in another language but just
don't know Ruby. I believe most of such people would not hesitate to
post to a forum, and would not really want or need a mentor. They would
also hopefully know how to ask questions in a clear way.

I mentor developers as part of my job. Based on experience, I would say
that newbies as defined above should execute the following algorithm
(which contains polite versions of RTFM and STFW) to get maximum benefit
from a mentor:

newbie.read_the_manual or
newbie.search_the_web or
newbie.read_ruby_books or
newbie.ask_mentor or
newbie.post_to_ruby_forum # Last resort

It is unfortunately not rare to encounter people who will not exhaust
all other self-help possibilities before asking others for help. I will
not opine on why this is so. However, IMHO, help is given freely and
happily when the helpee has demonstrated sufficient gumption, and
consideration for other people's time, to try to find the solution using
the above algorithm.

Newbies should, in their email or forum post, clearly describe the
problem, and explain what they did, prior to asking for help, to solve
the problem. This will give the ones who are being asked the question
enough information to reduce or eliminate the need to ask the newbie
follow-up questions before being able to answer.

Although some people find the content at the following link to be
objectionable and rude, it does cut to the heart of the matter and is
worthwhile reading for all newbies:

http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

If they agree to adhere to the above conduct, I will volunteer to take
on a couple of newbies. This is dependent on time and workload, so
patience is a virtue; I may not be able to answer instantly. It does not
mean I am ignoring you.

My background is that I have been developing software for an
embarrassingly long time, mostly in C++ and Java, on various platforms.
I use Ruby on a daily basis to automate Linux- and Unix-based tasks such
as performance monitoring, graphing, data analysis, and as a replacement
for shell scripting when possible. I provided some Ruby extension code
for the ruby-informix and RubyWMQ projects. I also use Ruby at home on
Ubuntu Edgy x86_64; the last significant thing I did was reorganize my
MP3 collection's directory structure by artist and album, using the ID3
tags. I have been using Ruby for about 18 months, so IANARG (I am not a
Ruby Guru), but I have pretty much read all the books and manuals and
written a fair amount of stuff. I am a systems-type developer, so GUI
questions are not a great idea. I also don't know Rails (yet).

Finally, I don't think it is a good idea to post email addresses and
personal contact details on this or any forum. I would suggest using the
email links provided by this forum to contact me with your details.

Best regards,
Edwin F.
Patrick H. (Guest)
on 2007-02-16 22:30
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> What do you think? Would you consider it a good idea? Would you volunteer?

I would be happy to help out. I would also suggest that most user
groups have a mailing list and that can be a very comfortable place to
post questions that are "too basic" etc. As most everyone involved
tends be more acquainted with one another.

I was actually going to suggest that in the previous thread; however,
I did not want to in anyway diminish the community of the this mailing
list <grin>.

In any case sign me up -- and if you live any where near South Eastern
Michigan, checkout http://rubymi.org/ for details on our meetings and
mailing list as well.

pth
Ruben M. (Guest)
on 2007-02-18 03:32
Edwin F. wrote:
> First, *my* definition of "newbie" just for this post:
>
> A person who is generally inexperienced in computer programming, and
> specifically inexperienced in Ruby programming.
>
> Therefore, when mentioning newbies in this post, I do not refer to
> people who are already adept at programming in another language but just
> don't know Ruby. I believe most of such people would not hesitate to
> post to a forum, and would not really want or need a mentor. They would
> also hopefully know how to ask questions in a clear way.
>
> I mentor developers as part of my job. Based on experience, I would say
> that newbies as defined above should execute the following algorithm
> (which contains polite versions of RTFM and STFW) to get maximum benefit
> from a mentor:
>
> newbie.read_the_manual or
> newbie.search_the_web or
> newbie.read_ruby_books or
> newbie.ask_mentor or
> newbie.post_to_ruby_forum # Last resort
>
> It is unfortunately not rare to encounter people who will not exhaust
> all other self-help possibilities before asking others for help. I will
> not opine on why this is so. However, IMHO, help is given freely and
> happily when the helpee has demonstrated sufficient gumption, and
> consideration for other people's time, to try to find the solution using
> the above algorithm.


That's my point: for specific questions a newbie should exhaust as many
possibilities of solving a problem before asking to a mentor. However,
for the learning process of any people, a good technique is to learn
from other people's problems, hence the communities. I believe in
collaborative learning.

I agree with Aur, it can be possible to do this system and benefit the
community by doing it an open process, with browsable search and so
-which yields to a forum-. Or, extending the process and adopt a newbie
for a long time, would better make a course or a tutorial.

In short, I can see the benefits of this by changing the learning
process of the newbie in question. However, it would hurt the community
learning process. As a shy newbie myself, I can say I've learnt a lot if
things -that are not in any manual or book- by searching and posting,
and more important, by looking at other people's learning processes.

Ruben.
Samantha (Guest)
on 2007-02-18 04:33
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/17/07, Ruben M. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> -which yields to a forum-. Or, extending the process and adopt a newbie
> --
> Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
>
>
Just putting my two cents in... (or maybe a whole nickel, we'll see how
long-winded I get.)

I personally think that every newbie-mentor relationship is going to be
different.  Different people have different ways of communicating.  For
me,
there are a couple of people I've found myself emailing at different
points
over the last week or so.  Of course I Google for things I need help on,
but
if I have a program concept, or a thought about "would it be better to
do
something like this, or like that...  In this recipe (program) should I
use
basil (MySql) or oregano (files as databases...)... "  And then that
generates a discussion...

I haven't gotten to a stage yet where I'm saying, I'm stuck at place X
--
how do I get out of here???  I'm sure I will at some stage, at which
point,
I'll probably send that to the list... I tend to censor myself as I feel
I
need to.  (ie, while I know there are no stupid questions, I'd rather
remain
silent and be thought a fool, than open my mouth, er move my fingers on
the
keyboard, and remove all doubt.)

My # 1 rule for myself is not to take myself too seriously.  All I know
is
that I'm grateful for the few people who have reached out to me and
offered
to let me tap their experience and wisdom as resources, and that I'm
having
a blast learning new things.  It really can't get much better than that.
(Okay, so deploying my first incredibly wonderful program would be
better
than that, but ya'll know what I'm saying.)  :)
--
Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk."
  --Ralph Waldo Emerson
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-18 04:35
(Received via mailing list)
I think exposing the dialogs between mentors and newbies is essential,
and if infrastructure doesn't exist, it hsould be done manually.

Personally, I'm going to edit my conversations with Semantha a bit and
publish them since they are such a great learning resource in my
opinion (they just contain far too much personal information as-is, so
major editing is required - I don't think many Ruby newbies are
interested in Jewish prayers :) )


With these dialogs published, I don't think the community will be hurt.

There will just suddenly be a huge FAQ with the REALLY frequently
asked question, those too trivial and too abundant for an official
one, all answered until a real newbie approves and groks.

Besides, conversation is a great kind of teaching material, as anyone
who reads Creating Passionate Users (and everyone SHOULD! How much
resonance can begin with an article there) has read lately.

Aur
Samantha (Guest)
on 2007-02-18 04:42
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/17/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
>
> Personally, I'm going to edit my conversations with Semantha a bit and
> publish them since they are such a great learning resource in my
> opinion (they just contain far too much personal information as-is, so
> major editing is required - I don't think many Ruby newbies are
> interested in Jewish prayers :) )




Aur
>
>
HEYYYYYYYYYYYYY.  (just kidding)

So, am I a Ruby Jew-bie, as opposed to just a Ruby N.??

I think you've sparked a great conversation and am looking forward to
seeing
what comes forth from discussions between newbies and mentors.

--
Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk."
  --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Edwin F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-18 10:56
Ruben M. wrote:

> That's my point: for specific questions a newbie should exhaust as many
> possibilities of solving a problem before asking to a mentor. However,
> for the learning process of any people, a good technique is to learn
> from other people's problems, hence the communities. I believe in
> collaborative learning.
>
...
> learning process. As a shy newbie myself, I can say I've learnt a lot if
> things -that are not in any manual or book- by searching and posting,
> and more important, by looking at other people's learning processes.
>
> Ruben.

Ruben,

You make a very interesting point, and in doing so, expose a deficiency
in my thinking. I did not consider the different categories of learning
with respect to software development. If you will indulge me in a rather
long post, I would like to explore some ideas. I hope this isn't all
stating the obvious! Let's start by listing some of the many things that
we can learn about in the field of software development, in no
particular order:

* Object-oriented concepts
* Problem definition and analysis
* Software design
* Software implementation (coding)
* Testing (e.g. unit, integration, system)
* Software development process (e.g. agile, formal)
* Documentation
* Configuration management
* A specific programming language
* A specific operating system or environment

Many books have been written on each of the above topics. Clearly there
is a lot to learn. But what is the appropriate way to learn each of
these things? This is a critical question. Here are some of the ways of
learning to develop software that I can think of:

* Formal education
* Reading books, articles, forums, tutorials
* Doing it (designing, implementing, testing, and so on)
* Asking questions
* Reading existing code written by experts
* Working with an experienced person (mentorship)
* (Advanced) Reading poor quality code; learning what not to do

I'd like to venture a strong opinion here: there is no effective way to
learn abstract concepts such as analysis and design in a purely
theoretical manner.

First of all, a person has to have the innate capability to abstract; I
don't believe it can be taught. This is not to say that people incapable
of abstract thinking are unintelligent, only that they will never be
able to analyze and design software well, if at all.

Secondly, a person has to be able to solve problems. This requires a
combination of logical and intuitive thinking. I think problem solving
techniques can be taught, unlike the ability to abstract, but there
still needs to be a certain minimum level of logical reasoning to build
on.

Thirdly, a person needs to work with a good or great software developer,
preferably in an on the job capacity, and learn by watching the
"master", trying things out, making mistakes, and learning from them.
This is really an apprenticeship. For two great books on this topic, see
[1] and [2] below. I am sure that many people on this forum will have
read [2], which is co-authored by Dave T. of Pickaxe fame. Not
everybody will have this opportunity, which is why the online mentorship
concept in this thread is important.

The bottom line is that... I'm getting tired and need to wrap this up :)
The bottom line is that one progresses from novice to expert in an
iterative way, using multiple learning techniques. Of these, I think the
most important are:

* To be "apprenticed" to a "master".
* To paraphrase Miyamoto Mushashi, to practice, practice, practice -
write as much software as you can.
* Read as much good stuff as you can get your hands on.

Thanks to those who read this far :)

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." -
Confucius
"This can only be understood by practice" - Miyamoto Musashi
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in
practice, there is." - Unattributed
"Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad
judgment" - Unattributed

--------------
[1] Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative, Pete McBreen
(http://www.amazon.com/Software-Craftsmanship-Imper...)
[2] The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master, Andrew H. and
Dave T.
(http://www.amazon.com/Pragmatic-Programmer-Journey...).
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-18 13:18
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/18/07, Edwin F. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> > things -that are not in any manual or book- by searching and posting,
> stating the obvious! Let's start by listing some of the many things that
> * Configuration management
> * Doing it (designing, implementing, testing, and so on)
> don't believe it can be taught. This is not to say that people incapable
> preferably in an on the job capacity, and learn by watching the
> most important are:
> "This can only be understood by practice" - Miyamoto Musashi
> 
(http://www.amazon.com/Pragmatic-Programmer-Journey...).
>
> --
> Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
>
>

+1000

In my first few years of learning to program I could recognize this.

I saw that there is some kind of conceptual gap between me and
"professional programmers" and looked everywhere for someone who would
accept me as some sort of apprentice. I event got my mom to hire a
software developer as a 1:1 teacher for me (it didn't quite work out,
and now I'm glad for it. To understand how much of a newbie I was, he
was a VB developer).

That is why I set this up - because some things CANNOT be learned
alone, others require genius to reinvent.

"The Pragmatic Programmer", which I've read, was an attempt to talk
about this thigns a bit, and it progressed me A LOT. Reading open
source code is another method, but it is far less accessible at the
beginning, because you don't understand why the programmer does things
the way he does.

For years, I had trouble following multi-file C programs, and even
more so C++ programs. Only after I forced myself to write a few it
became better.


Aur S.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 01:25
(Received via mailing list)
We have a /temporary/ home:

http://rubymentor.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.pl?HomePage


Please take a moment to make a minor contribution to the
presentativeness of this page :-)



Also, coordination moves to the wiki (also I'd gladly help with
whatever, so you might as well mail me instead).

Aur S.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 13:13
(Received via mailing list)
Quoting Peter S.:
"Hello Aur,

Yeah, I think we are really doing fine. We wrote nearly 10 mails
already, and since my wife happens to be a Ruby newbie too, I just set
up a mailing list for the tree of us and I think everybody is enjoying
the whole thing a lot.

Thanks for the great idea! I hope the others are doing well, too.

Shalom,

Peter"


I must say I'm proud.

I also like the idea of working in groups of three. Why? Because three
people generate so little traffic that one can easily follow it
without feeling any burden, and listening to the problems of one
fellow newbie and their solutions can advance one a lot. A group of
three would also still feel personal, unlike a ML.

It's the same reason I subscribe to many low-traffic blogs but almost
never to high traffic ones. I don't have time for a whole lot of
traffic (e.g. reading everything in the ruby mailing list) but I can
afford reading a short post every two weeks that would teach me
something nifty.

This should be handled, however, by the mentors, if and when they
decide they want to do it this way. There's no need, currently, for
infrastructure to handle this.


Aur
Mark W. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 13:25
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 05:20:07 +0900, Logan C. wrote:

>> out of a stuck position (I hope).
>> basic questions and serve to also encourage him to keep learning.
> just the adopter. I would not want to end up being the fount of
> knowledge and turn into a crutch for the adopted person.
>>
>>
>> Aur S.

I've often thought about this but in a slightly different way.

As a newbie I think this is a great idea and I'd certainly be interested
in being mentored, but I'll throw my ideas in here anyway. I guess my
ideas are not for newbies on the first rung of the ladder, but a rung or
2
higher.

1. Last year at Uni I was part of a 4 student team given the task of
creating a project for a 'customer'. It was web based and used PHP and
none of us had any real experience with PHP. But by the end of the year
we'd learnt a lot. So, couldn't 4-5 newbies here start an open source
project using Ruby? Perhaps with a Mentor overlooking the project? This
would not only develop Ruby skills but requirements, teamwork, project
management etc. I've thought about joining a 'real' Ruby project but
would
feel like a preschooler going to University. This way we'd all be
preschoolers under the guidance of the Mentor.

2. Have some (progressively harder) newbie quizzes on RubyQuiz. ie have
a
series of quizzes that brings the (semi) newbie up to the level of the
quizzes that are there now.

3. I remember a while ago, although I can't remember the site, someone
was
organising a series of 'on-line lectures' from the 'Rute User's Tutorial
and Exposition'. Something along the lines of:
"In 3 weeks time we're going to start studying each chapter over the
course of a week. During the first week we'll study 'Computing
Sub-basics'
the second week 'Basic Commands', wk7 'Shell Scripting' etc
Again, could a small group of newbies under the watchful eye of a Mentor
do a similar thing with the 'Pickaxe' for eg?


cheers,
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 13:39
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/19/07, Mark W. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> we'd learnt a lot. So, couldn't 4-5 newbies here start an open source
> 3. I remember a while ago, although I can't remember the site, someone was
>
>
> --
> Mark


Hello.

I agree totally - this is my favorite way of learning/teaching.

Unfortunately, in my experience, such groups are very hard to keep
together.

If a group like this would be formed, I'd enjoy helping it very much,
and I'm pretty sure I can get someone who's more of an expert to take
up the project.



In the meantime - each to his own. But one of the mentors, for
example, set a ML for his to students. That's a step in the way there.

Aur
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 14:21
(Received via mailing list)
On Mon, Feb 19, 2007 at 08:25:11PM +0900, Mark W. wrote:
>
> 2. Have some (progressively harder) newbie quizzes on RubyQuiz. ie have a
> series of quizzes that brings the (semi) newbie up to the level of the
> quizzes that are there now.

I'd love to see something like that happen.  My first brush with
RubyQuiz was frustrating because I wasn't anywhere near familiar enough
with the language to make heads or tails of the quizzes -- despite the
fact that a bunch of quizzes would be an excellent way to build skill
quickly for a newbie.


>
> 3. I remember a while ago, although I can't remember the site, someone was
> organising a series of 'on-line lectures' from the 'Rute User's Tutorial
> and Exposition'. Something along the lines of:
> "In 3 weeks time we're going to start studying each chapter over the
> course of a week. During the first week we'll study 'Computing Sub-basics'
> the second week 'Basic Commands', wk7 'Shell Scripting' etc
> Again, could a small group of newbies under the watchful eye of a Mentor
> do a similar thing with the 'Pickaxe' for eg?

That's . . . almost ironic.  I rejoined the ruby-talk list today after a
long hiatus (it's too high-traffic for me to stay subscribed for more
than a few months at a time) specifically because I started putting
something similar together.  The idea, however, is not to organize Ruby
newbie groups, but to get a bunch of people interested in programming
languages and similar subjects to benefit from a sort of synergistic
community learning environment for one subject after another.  The first
such learning project for this putative study group will be the Ruby
programming language, using one of the several excellent online Ruby
books.  Next . . . probably some other programming language, depending
on what the participants in general want to do.  We might hit Rails or
another Ruby book, though, for all I know.

I think a "study group" model is one of the most effective means of
learning, when people are actually interested in the subject matter.
While mentors are nice, I don't think they're really necessary -- with a
small group of interested people working together and using each other
as resources, the group becomes the "mentor".  This helps keep the
learning process honest (nobody's going to be able to really use a
mentor as a crutch when the "mentor" is a bunch of similarly skilled
people who will also be seeking that person's help), and ensures that
people can come to someone when stuck without feeling like he or she is
imposing on an expert with better things to do.  Rather than feeling
impeded by an authority-figure relationship, peers can interact and
figure things out together.  That's the theory, anyway.

As such, it occurs to me that maybe what's needed is merely a study
group connection service of some kind, not a formal mentoring program.
Mentoring, I think, would be a far more appropriate system for
professional training than enthusiast autodidactic efforts (which means
that mentoring should be going on in the workplace, and study groups at
home or in coffee shops or online, or whatever).

At least, that's how it seems to me.  I'll let you all know how well it
works for the group I've decided to draw together, and how much
mentoring I end up doing with them.  (I'm sorta like a re-virgin here,
since I hadn't used Ruby enough for it to really sink in long-term
before setting it aside to do other things that needed doing -- so I'm
in the odd position of being both newbie and old hand at the same time.)
This could either prove me right or very, very wrong, by the time this
first study group project is done.

By the way . . . I also think that some familiarity between members of
such a group before it gets started is important.  Otherwise, one might
as well just learn on one's own and ask questions on a mailing list.
The problems that arise there with ruby-talk are the main reason people
show up every few months asking if there's a newbie list (or, at least,
they did so the last two or three times I was subscribed -- and I doubt
that has changed in the interim), I think.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 14:54
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/19/07, Chad P. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> quickly for a newbie.
> > do a similar thing with the 'Pickaxe' for eg?
> books.  Next . . . probably some other programming language, depending
> people who will also be seeking that person's help), and ensures that
> home or in coffee shops or online, or whatever).
> By the way . . . I also think that some familiarity between members of
> such a group before it gets started is important.  Otherwise, one might
> as well just learn on one's own and ask questions on a mailing list.
> The problems that arise there with ruby-talk are the main reason people
> show up every few months asking if there's a newbie list (or, at least,
> they did so the last two or three times I was subscribed -- and I doubt
> that has changed in the interim), I think.

I agree very much with the effectiveness of such study groups and
would love to join such a thing if it existed, but as I said -
organizing such a thing that would actually pull off is hard.

1:1 is easy - there are just two people involved.

So I did what I COULD do :)

Aur
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 15:11
(Received via mailing list)
http://rubymentor.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.pl?AurSa...

This is an edited transcript of my discussions with Samantha this far.

They speak much better than anything I can write now both in favor of
the project and in attempting to explain what exactly it is and should
be done.

I recommend mentors who have spare time to read some part of it.

It's also a good read for newbies, in my opinion, also a bit of a
waste of time since it's so long.


Aur
Derek T. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 16:12
So in order to get set up with someone to help you ... message
SonOfLilit?
And if so, how do you private message on these boards?
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 16:29
(Received via mailing list)
No. To set up with someone, go to the wiki, find someone that seems
good and email him.

The ruby-forum.com "board" is just a frontend to an email discussion
list, so to "private message", you email people.


Aur
unknown (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 18:59
(Received via mailing list)
I happen to be fairly new to ruby, and I think the idea of having a
mentoring system or outright being able to easily connect with fellow
n00bz to the language would be a great thing.

As Chad mentioned:
"I think a "study group" model is one of the most effective means of
learning, when people are actually interested in the subject matter.
While mentors are nice, I don't think they're really necessary -- with a
small group of interested people working together and using each other
as resources, the group becomes the "mentor".  This helps keep the
learning process honest (nobody's going to be able to really use a
mentor as a crutch when the "mentor" is a bunch of similarly skilled
people who will also be seeking that person's help), and ensures that
people can come to someone when stuck without feeling like he or she is
imposing on an expert with better things to do.  Rather than feeling
impeded by an authority-figure relationship, peers can interact and
figure things out together.  That's the theory, anyway."

This is the right idea by far. I most definitely manage to learn
better when I'm being lead by fellow people with the same goal, and
keeping the group really small (3-5) allows for the individual helping
of each other without eating your whole day. I also agree with Chad's
not liking actual mentors because of the potential for using them as a
crutch. Things like this give more gratification at the least when I,
as a group, figure something out. Makes for a great ego boost ("Hey, I
learned something!") and reinforces what you learn (since the problem
will be going through your head for at least 10 minutes, the solution
is more likely to stick).

Ahwell, just my own thoughts on this. I'd love to see it be done, so
please keep me in the loop! I think all we need is some mailing list
software and some like-minded newbies. And yes, I can help provide the
server.

 -
  node
Avdi G. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 19:26
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/19/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> No. To set up with someone, go to the wiki, find someone that seems
> good and email him.
>

Hi there.  I've been coding with Ruby for oh, 5+ years now, and I'd be
willing to take newbie questions.

However, if I can offer my $0.02, if I were a total newbie I think I'd
be at
*least* as intimidated by emailing some random person from a Wiki page
as I
would be by posting to a high-traffic mailing list.  I think it would be
good to have a single, well-known address that newbies can email to be
hooked up with a mentor.

Perhaps there could be a page on the Wiki where the available mentors
update
their current status (e.g. "Bored, send me newbies!", "Busy but
available
for one or two newbs", "Swamped"); and a coordinator who would take the
applications and assign them based on availability.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 19:39
(Received via mailing list)
Until yesterday, that was me.

Hopefully soon there will be a ruby program that will do that.

Do you think I should return to my role as coordinator instead of
letting business run alone in the wiki?

Aur
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 19:40
(Received via mailing list)
Like to see it done? Do it!

Sorry, just had to. I'm saying this because it really excites me, the
idea.
Edwin F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 19:59
SonOfLilit wrote:
> Like to see it done? Do it!
>
> Sorry, just had to. I'm saying this because it really excites me, the
> idea.

Well, so far I have not received any emails although my link is there on
the Wiki. Is there not enough interest yet, or maybe word has not gotten
around yet, or do I personally scare newbies off somehow? I don't bite
:)
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 20:06
(Received via mailing list)
There are many newbies already on the program, but since the ruby
community is so nice, we currently have more volunteers than users
requiring help, as far as I'm aware.
Avdi G. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 20:08
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/19/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> Until yesterday, that was me.
>
> Hopefully soon there will be a ruby program that will do that.
>
> Do you think I should return to my role as coordinator instead of
> letting business run alone in the wiki?
>


I think *someone* should do it, and no, I'm not volunteering ;-)

If you do go with a technical solution, a repurposed bug-tracking system
would probably do the trick.  The main thing is to make sure mentoring
requests don't fall through the cracks, which bugtrackers are pretty
good
at.  Maybe set it up so it emails all the people who have registered as
potential mentors whenever an application is made, and whoever decides
they
have the time can mark it "accepted".
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 20:13
(Received via mailing list)
Somebody is working on a Rails app.

For now, should I return to doing it myself or should I let the newbies
do it?

Aur
Edwin F. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 20:25
SonOfLilit wrote:
> There are many newbies already on the program, but since the ruby
> community is so nice, we currently have more volunteers than users
> requiring help, as far as I'm aware.

Wow! What a community! I've never heard of such a thing. The Ruby
Community should be proud.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 20:32
(Received via mailing list)
Indeed.
Ruben M. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 23:14
Edwin F. wrote:
> Wow! What a community! I've never heard of such a thing. The Ruby
> Community should be proud.

Yay for that!

And, to avoid quoting all way back -I'm too lazy to do that-, I'll just
say I find great the idea of small "study groups". Of course, the term
may seem scary for all of us who hate school, but enjoy programming :P ,
but the idea is to make it on a enjoyable, relaxed and productive way.

Should we let the newbies do it? Of course, that's the best way to
learn.

Edwin F. wrote:
> Somebody is working on a Rails app.

Finally, to start putting into actions all what I've said... I'm a Rails
newb... totally noob. But I'll be glad to work on the project with Mr.
Somebody :)
Alder G. (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 23:21
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/14/07, SonOfLilit <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> Hello all,
>
> Remember Samantha? She dropped by the list a while ago and was given the
> idea to develop a Rails resume generator...
>
> Anyway, yesterday she happened to email me about the Haifa RUG post (only
> reply this far and it was a false :/ )

Check your email, Aur ;-)

-Alder
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-19 23:25
(Received via mailing list)
"Somebody" is Alexandru (to whom I cannot express all of my thanks for
taking this up) and all of the relevant discussion is in this thread.

When there will be something running, I guess I'll afford to hack on
it myself, too.

And Craig B. and Steven Quinones-Colon also volunteered to help,
also I haven't heard from them yet.

What a great community!!!

Lately I've tried to learn a few languages and figured that Ruby was
so great and easy that it made my expectations rise to the point of
laziness. Well, today I understood that this refers not only to my
expectations from a language. It is true about communities too.

Thank you, Ruby users everywhere!

Aur S.
James G. (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 02:04
(Received via mailing list)
On Feb 19, 2007, at 5:25 AM, Mark W. wrote:

> 2. Have some (progressively harder) newbie quizzes on RubyQuiz. ie
> have a
> series of quizzes that brings the (semi) newbie up to the level of the
> quizzes that are there now.

removed_email_address@domain.invalid

James Edward G. II
James G. (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 02:19
(Received via mailing list)
On Feb 19, 2007, at 7:11 AM, SonOfLilit wrote:

> http://rubymentor.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.pl?AurSa...
>
> This is an edited transcript of my discussions with Samantha this far.

One of the downsides of a two-person chat, as opposed to asking a
question here is that you don't get as much input.  I'm not saying
that makes the mentoring idea bad, but I do think it's something we
want to keep in mind.

For example, in that transcript, Aur says:

"YAML is really like XML... You can, if you want, do whatever XML
thing you wanted but in YAML syntax..."

I know the Ruby community is very pro YAML and really down on XML,
but the fact remains that the have different purposes.  XML is a
markup language.  It is for marking up content.  YAML is a data
description language.  It's primarily used for serializing data into
a human readable format.  These are different purposes.

If you have trouble understanding the difference, try converting the
home page of your web site into a reasonable YAML format.  It's a
good exercise.

I would likely favor XML as a format for my résumé, though that point
is certainly debatable.

James Edward G. II
Steven Q. (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 02:29
(Received via mailing list)
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I spent the last couple of days
sending my daughter off to a D.C. school trip. I have a server that I
can volunteer but the problem is that I'm a noob when it comes to
rails apps and such, so I wouln't know what to do. But the physical
hardware is there for anyone that want to develop something on it.
SonOfLilit (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 02:52
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/20/07, James Edward G. II <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
>
> If you have trouble understanding the difference, try converting the
> home page of your web site into a reasonable YAML format.  It's a
> good exercise.
>
> I would likely favor XML as a format for my résumé, though that point
> is certainly debatable.
>
> James Edward G. II
>

I agree. But I think even when one is lead in the wrong direction
because of a mistake by the mentor, that direction might be a better
one than what he would get on the list.

I made a mistake there, but I gave her a template to think in, a way
to transition her thoughts from something she is familiar with. She
would have eventually found out exactly how wrong I was, but still it
would have taken her forward.

And when I opened our discussion, it was so that I would get such
feedback. I thought that I might have mistakes and although the
discussion itself is better in a group <=  4, it'd be great if someone
would later correct them :-)

So thanks :-)

Aur
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 03:14
(Received via mailing list)
On Tue, Feb 20, 2007 at 06:14:23AM +0900, Ruben M. wrote:
>
> And, to avoid quoting all way back -I'm too lazy to do that-, I'll just
> say I find great the idea of small "study groups". Of course, the term
> may seem scary for all of us who hate school, but enjoy programming :P ,
> but the idea is to make it on a enjoyable, relaxed and productive way.
>
> Should we let the newbies do it? Of course, that's the best way to
> learn.

An infrastructure for prompting the "study group" approach for Ruby
newbies would be (relatively) easy to set up.  All you'd really need is
a very simple bloglike and mailing list interface.  With the blog
someone starting a group can create a blog for posting something akin
to "progress reports" and otherwise archiving what's going on for
reference, including some "this is the task we should attempt to
complete by the end of this week" scheduling stuff.  There'd be one of
these for each study group, that lasts only as long as the group does,
so the software need not be very complex.  For the mailing list, there'd
be a mailing list created at the same time, with the list archives
attached to the blog, so that anyone registered with one of them is also
registered with the other, and can post to both.

Archives for both should probably be kept in perpetuity so that they can
serve as examples of how various study concepts work out, and so that
people too shy about their Ruby learning can use the example of study
groups to provide some structure to their own autodidactism* rather than
leaving them flailing about trying to sort out which online resources to
use, what constitutes a reasonable learning schedule, and so on.

I'd set up something like that myself for the Ruby community -- could
probably get it put together in about two days, with some web software
packages that are available so that little or no actual programming
would be required to set them up initially (thus speeding up the
process, though of course ultimately it should be written in Ruby for
maximum relevance to the community) -- but since I'm already putting
together something more centralized and less Ruby-specific, I'm afraid
my attention is directed elsewhere at the moment.

Wow, that was a long sentence.
Samantha (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 03:28
(Received via mailing list)
On 2/19/07, James Edward G. II <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> I would likely favor XML as a format for my résumé, though that point
> is certainly debatable.
>
> James Edward G. II
>

I agree, with a need for input that goes beyond the scope of a 1-on-1
chat.
I think that it's a situational basis; there will be times when I'm
going to
come to the list, times I'll go to someone off-list.

For example, I have been debating whether or not to post this here, or
on
the Ruby on Rails forum, because I'm not quite sure that this fits into
the
scope of just regular Ruby, although I'm sure it could.  It's more of a
database-thinking type of a deal... I consider this more of my home than
I
do the Ruby on Rails forum, having only posted there a time or two.

I'm working with a few concepts that would be dealing with databases.
(As
seen in the convo between Aur and I.)  I'm really struggling with
wrapping
my head around databases.  "What information should go into which
table,"
type of stuff.  That has led me to search on concepts dealing with
databases... I was going to ask if anyone could point me in the
direction of
some good newbie database conceptual type material.  I've got a couple
of
documents that deal with PHP and MySql, and some of them talk about
database
programming and application development.  While I know that I don't have
to
be the MySQLMaster, (or MySQLMistress, as the case would be), I think
that
if I'm going to be tinkering with databases, I need to have an
understanding
of them.

That request for a point in the right direction isn't exactly Ruby
related,
isn't exactly RoR related, but more database related.  Being that I feel
comfy here, I'm probably not going to go over to a MySQL forum and ask
for
resources (although it would probably help), because a) I'm here, and b)
the
Ruby community would probably be more likely to point me in the right
direction for MySQL resources that may relate more to Ruby.

In any case, as usual, I am rambling.  It's been a long day and I've
been
reading and studying for the past 8 hours.  My brain hurts. :)

--
Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk."
  --Ralph Waldo Emerson
degei (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 17:36
(Received via mailing list)
Hi guys, long time lurker, first time poster.

As a Ruby newbie I'd like to give a big thumbs up to the "study group"
idea, especially if a group of newbies got together to actually work
on some sort of project. Personally, while 1:1 attention can be great,
I find working in a group to be one of the best learning methods
around. Mix a group into a real-world project and I'm willing to bet
you're going to have a lot of newbies (including myself) hooked.

I think this idea would be especially beneficial to people like myself
who are interested in starting to contribute to existing open source
projects, but find themselves slightly overwhelmed, and unsure as to
where to start. I know that I've been looking for some kind of project
that I can start contributing to, not only to help make some
contributions to the community, but also to learn more about
developing code in such a large, distributed environment.

Just my $0.02

- Matt
degei (Guest)
on 2007-02-20 17:40
(Received via mailing list)
Hi guys, long time lurker, first time poster.

As a Ruby newbie I'd like to give a big thumbs up to the "study group"
idea, especially if a group of newbies got together to actually work
on some sort of project. Personally, while 1:1 attention can be great,
I find working in a group to be one of the best learning methods
around. Mix a group into a real-world project and I'm willing to bet
you're going to have a lot of newbies (including myself) hooked.

I think this idea would be especially beneficial to people like myself
who are interested in starting to contribute to existing open source
projects, but find themselves slightly overwhelmed, and unsure as to
where to start. I know that I've been looking for some kind of project
that I can start contributing to, not only to help make some
contributions to the community, but also to learn more about
developing code in such a large, distributed environment.

Just my $0.02

- Matt
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