mail[Wesnoth-dev] Wesnoth Summer Scholarship

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Posted by Noy on May 04, 2010 - 23:35:
Hello all.

With GSOC on its way its time to discuss our other scholarship efforts. Last year we had our Wesnoth Summer of Art Scholarship, which was judged as being very successful. Our two candidates, Kitty and TheSpaceInvader, produced a number of great art pieces which benefitted the game. I think the administrators also got a better handle of what works and what doesn't, which will assist us in future scholarships.

We're somewhat in a different position this year. First off we're now an incorporated not for profit organization, which aids in the implementation of this project by providing an institutional backbone. Second, we have a significant financial windfall to provide scholarships. This is largely due to profit sharing with Kyle Poole's Iphone/Ipad efforts.

There are a few things we need to discuss. Financially we're probably able to support between four to six 5000 dollar scholarships, depending on a few variables like future sales and the location of the candidates (Non-US candidates cost more due to witholding tax.) The number of scholarships isn't so much an issue, but how we allocate them can be. In discussions with Dave and some of the other developers we'd like to broaden the range of the scholarships. As with last year we should have a significant number of art scholarships. In addition, Dave has also suggested we offer a WML specific scholarship to promote new UMC game content. I think this is an excellent idea, which should add more game content and exploit some of the technical improvements that have been made on the programming side.

Now I'd like to consider a third type of scholarship, which I know maybe slightly controversial but I think could be quite beneficial for the program. I'd like one of the scholarships to be offered to female developers. I believe one of the most attractive aspects of wesnoth's development community is its inclusiveness. The program is translated to a number of languages and we offer development opportunities to a wide range of skills sets and different levels. That was partly the intent behind the art scholarship last year; we attempted to draw in greater contributions from individuals not typically involved in open source development (artists.) A examination of open source community shows that women are highly underrepresented in the field, which is unfortunate. I believe that we're well placed to work on this area. We already have some excellent contributions from women developers, such as kitty, and I'd like to build on that.

I think its also important to note that I think we should retain strong standards on quality and organization for this scholarship. I don't think we should lax our standards, but instead offer a strong incentive towards women developers to come and contribute to our game. As Wesnoth is already a fairly inclusive and positive environment and this would be an easy way to show that to the world. I think its also important that we state that we're looking for someone who would be interested in long term participation with the program, not something that will end after they are paid. This program would also benefit the open source community in general by promoting women developers in general.

Some nuts and bolts issues. To attract candidates I propose approaching some of the women programming organizations and blogs and informing them of what we're trying to achieve. I'm sure most would be willing to post about it. There is one issue with my proposal which needs a bit of work; we're bereft of mentors due to GSOC. I'm hoping that someone who isn't part of GSOC might be able to help. Alternatively we might make this less of a mentorship scholarship (like GSOC) and simply a straight scholarship with minimal supervision. I have a suspicion that this will attract quite a bit of attention and we'll get a good slew of high quality candidates. The Mentorship group will judge these candidates and make a decision. Obviously we'd encourage these individuals to participate on IRC and I'm sure our community will help them where possible. I know this maybe a controversial subject but I think if we do this right it will be a major benefit for our program.

So there you have it. Obviously comments are welcome.


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