Is there a possibility of creating a mentor program where an experienced user helps one or two specific users to get used to the site and its operations? When I had signed up, the complex reputation system and tight quality control(Read:Quick, brutal downvotes) (Edit: of any SE site) were quite daunting, so I'd like to see new users being helped until they are used to the operation of Ask Ubuntu.

  • 1
    Isn't that what meta is for?
    – ish
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 11:44
  • 1
    @izx Not specifically--It is daunting for users to jump into the site, and a one-on-one or a few new users to an experienced user(keeping the same mentor) would help these new users.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 11:46

4 Answers 4


I have seen just this week on other SE sites: someone with reputation of 1 ( therefore taking their first steps into a new community ) asking their first question and getting hit with three down votes in quick succession with no comments or answers.

I believe that this happens less often on AskUbuntu and, as many other do, comment when people on low rep get down votes to explain why.

It is a core strength of Ubuntu that the community help each other. For some newcomers it can be difficult finding out how to use the site and how to ask the right questions and how to sort of fit in to how things work here. I don't think it can be assumed that using Ubuntu implies a knowledge of IRC.

I am not sure how a mentoring system might be implemented but I agree with ObsessiveFOSS that it is a good idea to have a way to support people who need it whilst they learn the ropes. I'd be happy to volunteer for something like that.

  • 3
    I agree that we are a fairly genial lot here on AU; users on some of the other sites can be particularly brutal with downvotes :)
    – ish
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 23:08
  • I have to agree and I will definitively help in great amounts over the summer. Maybe permanent, private "chat-rooms" that you can use even with 1 rep can be used to help mentor, along with something like collaborative "session-sharing", where the mentor works with the new user at the same time, whiteboard-style.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 17:54

We've had a few IRC tutorial sessions. Maybe we could run some intro classes in chat?

Either way, I recommend hanging out in the chat room if you can, there's plenty of people always hanging out and doling out advice.

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    For new Ask Ubuntu users, they should ask questions on Meta. Since there's a 20 rep requirement for chat.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 13:29
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    What I'm thinking is more one-on-one. Some people have trouble getting even the neccesary 5 rep for meta.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 16:36
  • @ObsessiveFOSS I'm having a hard time thinking how we could do something like this and scale out to the level of new users that we have, perhaps start proposing some ideas as an answer and we can work on them? Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 16:53
  • @JorgeCastro Maybe have new users that need help ask for a mentor in some automated system, where they will be assigned a willing mentor? This shouldn't burden the mentors as they won't be helping constantly, just being a person to contact who "knows" the mentoree...
    – nanofarad
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 20:02

As a final solution, feel free to add/edit to this community wiki answer.

ObsessiveFOSS states: Maybe permanent, private "chat-rooms" that you can use even with 1 rep can be used to help mentor, along with something like collaborative "session-sharing", where the mentor works with the new user at the same time, whiteboard-style.

  • I also feeling a necessity of chat-rooms with rep 1 users. I was in a situation once where i cannot figure-out what OP was telling. excessive comments get the moderation alerts and i was warned.
    – Anwar
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 2:10

I don't think organising training events or specific 1-to-1 mentors is really that required.

Maybe just video/audio of someone for practical intents and purposes reading the Faq(not literally, but you get the point). People tend to disregard anything called faq, but don't mind pushing play.

Good point in the already having videos in the comments, the list of videos is here.

I suppose the underlying point in my response was the way the user has to get there. I don't know of a better way than clicking FAQ, but I think novice users of anything avoid FAQs like the plague.

  • We must do youtube videos. Might do that soon :D
    – Amith KK
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 4:47
  • We have videos already, they might just need to be updated. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 18:16

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