We had a few people at the round table. We agreed that office hours have huge potential to help both experienced people and newcomers. It is an additional “tool” in the toolbox for people working on LLVM to be able to communicate, next to Discourse and Discord.
The experience so far from the existing hosts who have held office hours for a few months is that when people dial in, there is always a valuable conversation, both for the host and the person calling in. That strongly motivates hosts to keeping on being a host.
However, for quite a few hosts, often no-one dials in.
At the LLVM dev meeting, it was clear that even attendees at the dev meeting, who you could think of as “the inner circle of the LLVM community” didn’t know of the existence of office hours. If they don’t know about it, how many of the tens of thousands of people who look at using or contributing to LLVM for the first time also don’t know about it?
It seems clear that the most important issue to solve is how to spread the word more widely that Office Hours exists. We should spread the word not only on the channels that are frequently attended by the active contributors, but also on channels where we could reach potential newcomers.
A number of ideas we had to do so were:
- For hosts to more consistently and persistently post on Discourse when they’re hosting their next office hour session.
- For hosts to also post about their next office hour session on social media and for other hosts/other members of the community to like/share/retweet/… those messages to spread the message also to potential newcomers who probably wouldn’t regularly check Discourse.
- Should we ask Alex to put a section or extra line in the LLVM weekly documenting who hosts office hours in the coming week?
- Could we ask people who joined an office hour to share their experience to help spread the word? For example, tweeting or putting a single line in the Discord #office-hours channel saying something like “I just called in to LLVM office hours with (host) and we talked about (topic). It helped me (describe how it was helpful)”?
- Office Hours is designed to have a chat with a specific host. We also have online sync-ups which are designed to have a discussion on a specific technical topic. It became clear at the round table that also not all attendees at the dev meeting knew that online sync-ups exist. Should we advertize them more using the same tactics as we came up with for Office Hours in the above bullet points?