Welcome to Mozilla Science Lab's Study Group Orientation!


1.2 Assignment: Write a README file to Welcome All Members

The README file (whose name by convention is written in all-caps, and represents a request to one and all--- “read me!”) is one of the first things that potential members will encounter when learning about your Group. This file will live on the web, as part of a collection of working documents on your Group, called a “repository” (you'll set this up in Section 3).

The aim of the README is to welcome, orient, and encourage newcomers to participate. You’ll likely start out with a few members you know well, people from your lab or department. It’s fine to start in familiar territory-- most groups do. But your Study Group should welcome anyone who’s interested and shares your goals of learning to code together, and improving research through open practice.

If you make your group welcoming to researchers in other departments, labs, and disciplines, you’ll likely find that researchers of all stripes want to learn the same or similar tools, and share the same kinds of research problems around data analysis and visualization, data management, collaborative workflows, and much more. Don’t feel limited by your field or area of expertise-- this is a great opportunity to make interdisciplinary connections! As you write your Group's README, keep a diverse audience in mind.

Write your README

IN your README, Be sure to:

  • Say hello! Welcome people to the Group. It’s great to introduce yourself here, so people know they’re dealing with a person or group of real people. Let potential members know you’re excited that they’re here to learn more.
  • Write a SHORT group description. In your own words. Try to phrase this so it’s understandable and appealing to a wide variety of people, not just those in your field. Maybe add sentence or two about your focus for the semester or year, etc. If you're having trouble getting started, here's some basic text-- feel free to copy-paste and edit: "This Mozilla Study Groups is a fun, informal meetups of friends and colleagues to share skills, stories and ideas on using code for research, and exploring open research practices. The goal is to create a friendly, no-pressure environment where people can share their work, ask for help on a coding problem, and learn and work together with their peers."
  • Include some key details. Note any regular meeting times and places, contact people, etc.
  • Ask for what you need! If your group wants to learn or work on a certain topic, but doesn't have the expertise, mention that here-- that way, perspective members can see if their skills are needed!
  • Test your README for jargon When you’re working in any field, whether it’s software engineering or astrophysics, you’ll learn and use jargon -- terms that have a special meaning to your field but likely won’t make sense to anyone who isn’t part of that field. Too much jargon can confuse newcomers, so use simple langauge and define all potentailly confusing terms here.
  • Spread the word about the program While you repo will be used mostly by your own Group's members, some visitors may be interested in starting a group of your own. We'd appreciate it if you'd include the following text, or something like it, to encourage new groups to form. "If you're interested in starting a group of your own, you can check out the Study Group Repository on GitHub or our Study Group Orientation Guide."

Hang on to the README you just wrote! You'll use it in Section 3, when you get your Group's Website and Repo online.