Being a Drupal contribution mentor

This week is DrupalCon Prague, and although I’m not at this event, I’d like to write about some my experiences at DrupalCon - in particular about being a contribution mentor.

My first DrupalCon

The first DrupalCon that I attended was in 2013, also in Prague.

I was enjoying the session days when I stopped at the mentoring table to find out more about the contribution sprints that were happening on the Friday.

I didn’t have any commits in Drupal core but had already worked on and released some of my own contributed modules, so I was familiar with the tools and the Drupal.org contribution workflow. In short, I was signed up to be a mentor during the sprints.

I remember being involved in the preparation too, sitting in a hotel lobby, identifying potential issues for new contributors to work on, alongside people who I’d previously interacted with in the issue queues on Drupal.org.

On the day, I helped new contributors get their local environments up and running, select issues to work on, and perform tasks like creating and re-rolling patch files and submitting them for review.

One of my highlights at the end of the day was the live commit, when a patch that a new contributor had worked on that day was committed to Drupal core live on stage!

Whenever I’ve attended DrupalCon events since, I’ve always volunteered to be a contribution mentor, as well as mentoring and organising sprints at other Drupal events.

The Five Year Issue

One of the most memorable times mentoring was whilst working with a group of contributors at DrupalCon in May 2015.

Someone was working on a Drupal core issue that was very similar to one that I’d looked at a few years before.

We focused on the original issue that I’d commented on, reviewed, tested, and re-rolled the patch, fixed a failing test, and marked it as “reviewed and tested by the community”.

A few days after the conference, and just over five years after my original comment, the patch was committed - giving my contributors their first commits to Drupal 8 core, and also one of mine.