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The Pattern community is unique in the individual mentoring we give to each other through shepherding. Many of us have learned a great deal from our shepherds. Many of us enjoy serving as shepherds because it is so rewarding to help others improve their patterns.

Shepherding requires commitment and follow-through by both the shepherd and the author. When you as an author submit a work to a PLoP conference, you implicitly promise to do certain things. Likewise, when you agree to shepherd a paper, you make promises as well. Here is what we expect from both:

The Author:

  • Respond to the Shepherd. The shepherd will be giving you help, free of charge. When you get comments, turn around a new draft of your patterns quickly. You don't have to get it perfect; it is better to be timely than complete.

  • Give two or three Updates. We know you are busy, but just one updated paper right at the end of the shepherding session just doesn't cut it.

  • Attend the Conference. When you submit a paper, you imply that you will attend the conference if your paper is accepted. While we recognize that things do come up, it is your responsibility to arrange funding, visas, etc., in plenty of time for the conference. At this time, no PLoP is asking for a deposit at the beginning of shepherding, but it could happen if people continue to abuse it.

  • Thank the Shepherd. Ok, this is kind of a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. The shepherd is donating time and expertise. The least you can do is thank your shepherd.

The Shepherd:

  • Contact your Author Promptly. Do it right away; the same day you get the paper assigned. It really takes no time at all, and it gets shepherding started on the right foot.

  • Give two or three Iterations of Comments. So plan your time accordingly. You don't have to get everything right; it's better to be prompt than complete.

  • Focus on Substance. This is shepherding, not proofreading.

  • Keep the Program Committee in the Loop. Don't forget to copy your mails to your PC member.

  • Have High Standards. It's ok to demand excellence of the author. At the conclusion of shepherding, you will be asked your assessment of the paper. Don't recommend acceptance just because the author is a nice person, or they really tried. If a paper is accepted, it will be workshopped by as many as ten people. Don't cause them to waste their time on junk.

Shepherds and Sheep:
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