Earlier this week Mitchell posted about the importance of talking more openly about Mozilla’s public benefit status. I think that’s a good idea, but it’s been hard to do this since there hasn’t been a place with a clear mission statement. That’s fixed now.
I just posted a Mission page on mozilla.org that is a mash-up of pieces from several different places. This is certainly not the only expression of our mission and is not set in stone, but I hope it’s useful as a place to introduce people to this idea.
If you have any feedback on the text, please let me know. If you have feedback on the page itself also feel free to comment, but we haven’t had a chance to do much visually here and hope to do that soon.
The following is a digression on the history of this page—feel free to skip unless you enjoy historical digressions 🙂
This is actually the second Mission page that’s been on mozilla.org. The first one dates from the very beginning of the project’s creation. It’s interesting to read since the community was so different then—the scope of the mission was much more narrow and was limited to providing technical coordination over code that other people would ship.
That page was last updated five years ago though, so why haven’t we updated things before now? (You could say the Manifesto replaced that page but the Manifesto is certainly not a concise statement that you want to introduce new people to as their first experience of Mozilla.)
I think the old mission itself in some way has prevented us from being more clear about our new mission for fear that there would be confusion between the two (this was part of the thought process in having a section called ‘Our Causes’ on mozilla.org instead of just saying ‘Our Mission’). That original page is ancient history at this point though.
That’s not the whole reason why there hasn’t been an updated Mission page. It’s been important to have individual community members talk about the mission instead of trying to centralize things. There also seems to be some concern that being too upfront about our mission could be off-putting.
These last two issues are legitimate concerns. Having a mission statement shouldn’t prevent others from continuing to talk about the mission in their own terms, but it will be easier to point to than more ephemeral blog posts. For any concerns about having a more upfront message about the mission, I think it all just depends on how it is written and presented. We’ll keep working on it to make it better.