This contains planning hints for Debian-NYC's Novice Nights.
Where to outreach
If you have ideas of specific email addresses to advertise to, send them to Richard Darst (rkd zgib.net). Include: organization, contact person name, email address, if you are willing to be the interface to relay announcements to the group. This list can't be made public...
- CS at NYU
- CS at Columbia
- Various high schools
- Work with the Community Free Software Group to advertise
We need to focus on advertising to underrepresented groups, not just the status quo who always comes to our events. General ideas: non-profits, specific ethnic/religious groups, small businesses, local government, active-duty military, unions, political organizations
- We need to make sure that no one coming slips through the cracks and doesn't get the help they need. One person should be assigned to make sure that everone who comes in is greeted, made to feel welcome, and is helped an has a chance to help someone else
- Everyone should work to keep this a welcoming atmosphere.
- Try not to "drive". Let the owner do the work. It may be slower, but much more educational. We want to help people learn to help themselves, and be able to come back and help others. By the same token, encourage experimentation and figuring out how to fix things, not just reinstall.
- Try to seat people in "Hack teams" who are working on similar problems. Some common tasks:
- New installations (of many different arches)
- Debugging of various sorts (e.g. ebian-installer)
- Hardware help: Help with driver and hardware issues (common: getting wireless drivers working)
- Software help: Help configuring or using programs.
- Try not to sit people too densely, so that when people come in later they can sit in the middle, instead of on the edges.
- Ethernet cables (tends to be lacking)
- Power strips
- A backup wireless AP
- Black CDs / DVDs / USB drives for install images.
- Permanent marker for labeling burned CDs. Also perhaps paper for making signs.
- Make sure that someone will have a CD/DVD burner.
- Debian Mirror
- i368, amd64, and powerpc are common arches
- CD images: 1st CDs, netinst CDs, boot.img.gz for netboot. Don't forget the multiarch CDs.
- debian live images:
- Reference card with debian-nyc contact info
- Link to debian-nyc wiki page
- debian-nyc IRC and mailing list info and how to subscribe
- link to help sites: mailing lists, ask.debian.net, forums.debian.net, ...
- Try to have one person greeting people coming in, and helping to connect mentors and mentees. They should also sort of be aware of who is doing what, since people are often working on the same problem without knowing it. They should also be able to escalate problems up to to the best experts for it.
- Don't stress out too much about making sure people talk to the "right people", things will sort themselves out.
- Remind people to change the sources.list back to a public mirror after you leave.
- Everyone will learn things! Thus, you'll attract a lot of non-novices, too.
- Be aware that there are a lot of different desktop environments. Perhaps try experimenting with them or learning from someone how to most easily do various tasks in them:
Third, I think the group of leaders (myself included) would do better to become more familiar with the myriad desktop environments available in Debian. I was asked to help troubleshoot a wifi problem but the user had a KDE desktop and I had no idea how to use it since I've become accustomed to Gnome and the core Debian networking configuration files. I realized a lot of the leaders were reflexively calling out shell commands. "apt-get install m-a" or "open etci slash apt slash sources dot list in an editor". There were even some beginners that did not know where their terminal application was located, let alone how to operate the computer with bash.
Perhaps we could encourage people to start an IRC client and connect to #debian-nyc before they leave, so that they'll know what to do later to get help.
- Also, ask people if they want to sign up for the mailing list before they leave, and do it.