Outreachy report #14: October 2020

└─ 📂 Outreachy reports · November 9, 2020 · 3 minute read

Application review

We were able to review all applications by extending the review period. This also led to an unplanned experimentation with the contribution period length that we’re still trying to tune perfectly after the essay questions were implemented back in 2018. There’s a fine line between making it too long for projects that require simpler contributions and too short for those that ask for more complex ones.

Communication and planning

Sage and I had a “decompress” meeting to discuss what went right and wrong during this application/review period and to set up short and long term goals for Outreachy. For the first time in my two years working on Outreachy we were able to build strategies keeping in mind the long term health of the program, and I attribute that in part to the fact Sage and I have been sharing more responsibilities. Taking a lot of weight off Sage’s shoulders and transferring it to mine directly translates into more getting done and expanding the program’s horizons as never before.


I’m resuming my involvement with the development of Outreachy’s website. The project’s documentation has greatly improved since the last time I set up a local environment, as well as the automation of tests and scenarios to explore. I was able to test setting up a new environment in different systems (Fedora 32 and 33, Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10), writing down every single dependency needed to build the environment and explore it. Thanks to Jamey and Sage upgrading dependencies, I was able to overcome a specific issue I was running into in all systems (failure to compile psycopg2, a known bug with Python 3.8).

I’ve been focusing on understanding flows related to the mentor roles, which leads us to…

Mentor interviews

Sage and I have been discussing improving the mentor documentation for a few months, and one of the best ways to start thinking about that is interviewing new Outreachy mentors to understand how and why they took interest in the program, how was the onboarding process in their community, what issues they’ve ran into during the process to become a mentor, and which ways we can improve our own onboarding.

I sent an email to the mentors mailing list encouraging mentors to contact me to either an asynchronous email interview or a synchronous video or text chat. The response was better than I expected: I have 12 interviews in my schedule in the next 10 days. However, none of our volunteer interviewees are Outreachy alums–I’ll have to send emails to specific mentors to see if we can schedule interviews with those in that group too.


I accepted two invitations for live events this November:

  • LKCAMP, a Linux kernel study group, invited me to participate in LKConf to talk specifically about Outreachy internships from an alum and organizer perspective on November 17th.
  • Casa Hacker invited me to talk about free software as a whole on November 18th – we’ll discuss concepts, ideas, latest events. This is more of a generalistic livestream to help people understand free software communities.

Meet the writer

Anna e só is a technical writer and consultant based in Brazil. They love working with open projects and take pride in offering them a unique point of view. They currently maintain Open Collective's documentation and help organize Outreachy. ⌨️