In-person meeting summary: Onboarding

Onboarding new people to the community

April 20, 2024 - Samantha Wittke

In order to provide newcomers to the CodeRefinery community a good experience that inspires them to stay we need to create a welcoming atmosphere and provide a good onboarding.

CodeRefinery onboarding

Currently, our onboarding procedure varies from case to case. The team at in-person meeting are mainly in-kind contributions to the project that joined the project on own incentive (usually after a workshop) or by being sent by their managers. Everyone got at least one personal meeting with the project manager, which introduced them to whatever was needed at the time. One thing that many of the team mentioned was that they wish they had gotten more introduction to the Zulip chat. ( More on improvement suggestions in the "community" blog post).

Team members generally agreed that active participation an interest in strategy and availability to help/teach makes them part of the CodeRefinery team. Everyone present felt well onboarded.


We currently have a few different roles a community member fits into:

  • team (mostly in-kind contributions and highly motivated individuals, onboarding via team meeting and personal chat with the project manager),
  • instructors (Workshop team leader onboarding or personal onboarding by co-instructor or the workshop organizer, often no further community engagement),
  • helper / team leader (onboarding before each workshop, often no further community engagement),
  • "everyone in chat" (no specific onboarding, unless they use #new-members stream; info from website)

Where to find information

We discussed what information potential future community members should get from the website and what should be made available later:

  • What do I get in return?
  • How do I get started, show me the steps
  • What kind of responsibilities/roles are there in the community
  • How can I help or "I have only half a day this month, where can I help which will be meaningful?"

All those are very good points which we will make sure to inlcude on the website, our project board and the chat redesign (see community blog).

The perfect onboarding

We also asked the question: "In a perfect world where everything is possible, money and time is not an issue, how would onboarding look?" to see what the ideal onboarding for participants of the meeting would look like. These were the answers:

  • Join community call -> We have more community calls and better advertising of them planned in the future
  • One manual page which gives overview -> We since created:
  • A video that explains how to join
  • Each new member gets a mentor/buddy who mentors for a while and is their main contact and who connects them to other people
  • In person event
  • Co-teaching with a mentor (as one option)

The mentor system we will try to implement better in the future also beyond the workshop.

New roles

We also asked if we need to add more roles in the community and what those would be. Most CodeRefinery team members do not have specific roles unless they decide so themselves. Roles that we do not currently have in the community:

  • Ambassadors; people that could already be called ambassadors are local organizers of teams to watch the CodeRefinery workshop stream and do the exercises together and training coordinators in organizations or projects that help advertising the workshops -> We have since started to implement the CodeRefinery ambassador program and plan to invite our known suspects soon. If you want to become an ambassador, please check out the ambassador section on our website.
  • Board; in order to continue working on CodeRefinery after the project funding ends we need to define who can make decisions
  • Contributors; e.g. lesson material contributors need to acknowledged better (citation file format (.cff) in progress) and
  • Heroes.

We are currently working on fleshing out what it would mean to be a CodeRefinery ambassador, what they can get out from it and how we can support future ambassadors. This could be similar to onboarding a new team member, e.g. via a community call, mentoring or some kind of a welcome package. Whenever we reach out to different research communities and during our workshops we could advertise this role. In the end it should be easy to become an ambassador and people should be able to make it whatever they need it to be.


CodeRefinery is a project within the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC). NeIC is an organisational unit under NordForsk.


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