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How i work as a Maintainer/Mentor

Hello 👋

I wanted to write a relatively short post about how I like to work and interact as a maintainer and mentor (and probably as a technical lead too).

Over time I realize that many are in a position where they speculate on the right behavior to have with me (when they contribute or ask me for help). That's why I feel I have to write an article so I can build on it and avoid confusion.

What many think 👀

Many people have a very different approach and opinion on this kind of thing. For example, things that come up often in the mind of developers:

  • Never expect an answer or time for free 💰.
  • Wait for an approval, work by yourself before taking the time of the maintainer etc.
  • Speculate what the maintainer want or think.

Some maintainers/mentors are colder than others too. I personally hate these approaches and they don't suit me at time.

To be clear: I am not making any judgment here.

My way 💃

First of all I am a very accessible person 😇 and it is always with pleasure that I answer your questions... No matter what your level is (junior or more experimented).

Those who know me know that I love to spend hours helping (or even discuss more ordinary things). It is frequent that contributors or mentee do not ask me anything by fear of disturbing me. For contributors, it is sometimes the fear of being judged or of not being up to the task.

Some will think that if I'm not the one making the effort to interact... then I'm not interested in them. That's wrong. Unfortunately, I have too many people and things to deal with. Whether as a maintainer, lead or a mentor, I hate micromanaging relations because it take me to much time and energy.

Personally I see it more as "if you don't ask anything it mean you don't want to be involved/don't need me". The more I know the person, the more we have in common, the easier it will be for me to initiate the conversation (this is a two-way relation).

Helping juniors 🐤

I am always willing to take a lot of time to support juniors who have motivation and who prove it by actions.

It is the same in the context of open source. Sometimes this can take time and be difficult for you. Sometimes you will fail but it's really not a big deal and I will never blame you.

Some approach me in the hope of getting a job easily. I only help beginners who I know well and who have proven their motivation and skills.

Do not be afraid to make mistakes

Mistakes will be frequent when making contributions. Wanting to achieve perfection is not realistic so feel free to send something incomplete. I will work with you to complete what is wrong.

That's my job and my responsibility as a maintainer. So don't ever think that I'll be disappointed that you're missing something (or that you might not have understood).

That's all 😊. To sum up I am someone who loves to help and build projects with other developers 👯. I don't particularly chase money and for me gratitude will always be much more profitable in the long run.


Top comments (1)

birbamanuel profile image

Nice mindset