The Emacs Buddy initiative

Andrea (

In this talk, Andrea shares how to connect with an Emacs Buddy for one-to-one peer mentoring. Afterwards, he will answer questions over IRC.

00:00.000 Introduction 00:27.900 Why Emacs Buddy? 01:32.720 What can you expect? 02:17.040 Why not just mailing lists or Reddit? 02:58.960 How do you get in touch with a buddy? 03:47.960 How did it go? 04:14.760 Example 05:48.360 What if you want to be a buddy?


Emacs is a cryptic marvel of usefulness: who else can help you solve its riddles if not a buddy?

The Emacs Buddy initiative [0] aims to help you find somebody that can support you in your Emacs exploration.

No matter if this is the first (or second?) time you start Emacs or if it is decades you use it: everyone hits a wall behind which there is progress. More often than not somebody else (sometimes a younger sometimes an older one but always with a different context) can help us move past those walls towards new discovery.

So come and listen about how to stand on the shoulders of your Emacs buddies!

In this short talk I will give an idea of how to request a buddy, how to become a buddy yourself and how the initiative worked out so far!



Notes and feedback

  • I am totally into emacs buddy!!
  • noticed the program name in Andrea's Emacs window title? ;-)
    • "This Text Editor is just Too Cool :)" in the fram title
  • The "Buddy System" has already helped me with Emacs and Gnus. Thank you Andrea!
    • oh, you are welcome danisanti :D Hope you keep sending encrypted mails: thanks for the GPG exercise :)
  • This buddy system is a great idea, by the way. I could see how this might really benefit people trying to learn more or spread their skills
  • I think the usergroups page on the EmacsWiki is fairly well maintained..


  • Q: OFF TOPIC and not a question but a remark: is constantly blocking more and more smaller email servers (for valid but also dubious reasons) and many administrators are frustrated enough not to try to get off Microsoft's blocklist any more. So your email address might not be reachable by a substantial set of people especially people who do not use the big email players such as Google.
    • A: oh what do you suggest? I can use/make a different one
      • Karl: I'd recommend not to use Microsoft email servers in general as I've realized in too many situations that admins gave up fighting Microsoft. For example, my Mastodon instance can not be used any more by people using hotmail for that reason. Sometimes, admins do have to pay real money in order to get unblocked by Microsoft. This is a pattern I'd not support myself. YMMV.
        • The worst part: users of Hotmail do not realize this until they really need to contact a company or a person who got blocked.
      • Ah didn't know that, I will look into it then. Thanks!
      • Have a look at e.g. (using renewables), (partly), (if you don't require an own domain...)
        • For people who focus on mobile apps and webmailers, protonmail might be a good idea. They are Swiss-based and focus on a very high level of privacy and security. AFAIR IMAP is only for payed plans and for for the free plan.
      • interesting, thanks!
  • Hi Andrea-- great talk. I hope your idea can scale. Are you looking at other models such as mentorship networks etc. What are your thoughts on real-time collaboration? Also, should this buddy network be a slack or discord channel? Would that help?
    • I will just scale it up if necessary pulling more people as facilitators in case
  • Hi, just missed the talk, but as a beginner who just enjoys tinkering with emacs, I herewith warn you that I might reach out to you :-)
  • Q: would you consider creating a IRC channel for your buddy initiative?
    • A: I didn't think about it: how would that be? I was thinking email/calls was more personal ;)
    • a permanent IRC is great for me
    • email and calls are good too
    • for IRC there already is #emacs
      • emacs is a pretty big channel. I can see where having a dedicated channel would make sense.

    • something like jitsi might be good if you want that. I think you can protect them w/ code to keep weirdos out?
    • email is more personal and it doesn't need to be connected all the time to get an answer
    • yeah, async vs. sync communication styles.
    • FWIW, to create a channel simply /join #the-channel
  • quiliro: I want to be a mentor and also would like to be mentored
    • A: just drop me an email and we can get on from there
    • dto: hey `none can you pm me your email? i could do some mentoring sessions this year for sure


[00:00:00.000] Hello, welcome to my talk, the Emacs Buddy Initiative. Who am I? I'm Andrea. I work as a Clojure Software Engineer somewhere in the middle of the UK. And I started with Emacs during my PhD, thanks to my PhD supervisor that introduced me to this tool. And from now and from then, I am basically using it for everything. You can find more about this everything at, that is my blog. So let's get into the talk.

[00:00:27.900] Why Emacs Buddy? Emacs Buddy is an initiative to bring us together. And the reason is because Emacs is a limitless tool. So you can keep learning about it, you can keep expanding it, and also takes time to get up to speed. So you may actually extend Emacs or you may actually get introduced, start using Emacs, but you could fall into all the traps or all the wasted times that other users have already gone through. And so, since there are a lot of amazing people in the Emacs community, why do every time redo the same error? So let's bring us together. And it would be amazing to get a one-to-one relation. So I have somebody that actually knows what you want to do, what you want to achieve with Emacs, and supports you because they have done a similar path to yours. And so they can remove some of the obstacles for you.

[00:01:32.720] So what can you expect? The main thing is guidance on your Emacs journey, because the Emacs journey is infinite, it doesn't really end. But the farther you go, the more value you get from this amazing tool. And that helps you save time. And at the same time, you can meet like-minded people. And so you can learn about Emacs or about your context, if they are in, for example, if you are a physicist, they are physicists or they are interested in the field. You may not only learn about Emacs, but you can learn also something about the field. And anyway, the idea is that you can move forward together.

[00:02:17.040] Somebody asked, why not just mailing lists or Reddit? Well, the point is that mailing list is many people can help you solve one issue that you have. And that naturally doesn't become a discussion of where you are from, what are you trying to achieve, and where you want to move forward with using this editor or using this tool. Instead, here, we want something more personal, something more like you tell your story. And if I can help you achieve what you need, I am also interested in your story as a buddy.

[00:02:58.960] So given that, how do you get in touch with a buddy? Well, the thing is easy. Just ping me at this email, And I can put you in touch with one of the buddies that are available. Or you can contact them personally, directly, because on the web page, on the Emacs Buddy web page, there are links to their material or their websites. And sometimes you can find the contact yourself. Anyway, I am a facilitator. So if you contact me, I will find the contact for the person that you want to get in touch. You can also get in touch with me. I'm a buddy myself.

[00:03:47.960] How did it go so far? Well, from when I started the initiative, more or less we had 10 buddies. We had 10 buddies that are available to help you with your Emacs journey. And I buddyed myself, or I got in touch with people that wanted a buddy, about eight people. Each of these conversations was quite interesting.

[00:04:14.760] I decided to paraphrase one. I had this user that got in touch and said: "I used Emacs for 10 years. I'm curious about the initiative, and here is my GitHub that I started writing recently, Elisp projects", projects in Elisp to extend Emacs. I looked at their code. I suggested, "Oh, why don't you use dash? It's something that I'm familiar with. Maybe you may like it as well." And then I started asking, "Oh, what do you do with Emacs? Have you tried a note taking tool like Org Roam?" And then the conversation started. So "yeah, I tried Org Roam version one. I use my own thing. But what is it... I'm curious about version two. Did you use it? Do you know about Luhmann?" That is the inspiration of Org Roam and the backlinking and stuff. And then I started the conversation about that. And we discussed about functional programming. We discussed a bit about philosophy and went on. And then this conversation is not currently going. So we arrived to a point in which it sort of died out. But if I want or if they want, they can ping me back. I can ping them. So it's sort of a reference of this person exists and is an interesting person to chat with when I have something to say to them.

[00:05:48.360] And what if you want to be a buddy? Well, if you want to be a buddy, it's easy as well. So basically, just open a PR on the Emacs buddy repository. That is something that I am maintaining at the moment. Or simply send me the information. Somebody just sent me an email with the information. I have created the commit to make it public available. The information is just your name, a summary, what kind of user you are so that you can attract the right people to you, and a link to your material so that if they are curious about your summary or about you, they can actually go and check and even contact you directly. If they contact via me, I will know your email anyway from the PR you open. So that is all. There are ideas to maybe... if... this is basically an advertisement for this initiative so that we can get people that want to be helped or people that want to help. It's building up organically, so no rush to make this thing grow, escalate enormously. But for example, there are ideas to join this with the meetup talk that is being happening in the conference. So for example, if you find out something very interesting, you can bring the discussion that you have with your buddy into a meetup so that the group with which you speak is bigger. There are ideas like that. But first of all, just get in touch if you want to find like-minded people that want to help you with your Emacs journey or if you want to help others. Thank you very much. Enjoy the rest of the talks and chat to you soon.

Captioner: andrea

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