Connecting with contributors everywhere

I recently wrote about the history of Mozilla’s Get Involved page. One thing missing from the history was how we made the page available in the languages of our worldwide community of contributors.

It was left out because that page has always been English only, but we’re fixing that now. We’ve started to localize the Get Involved page and now have the start of Spanish and Portuguese pages on the dev site.

One reason this hasn’t happened is that we didn’t have the infrastructure to connect people interested in a specific area of the project and speaking a particular language to an existing Mozillian who would be able to help.

When people share stories about how they got involved there is a common thread about making connections with someone in the community. Helping this happen at the scale of Mozilla today is key to connecting with contributors everywhere.

To take one example, here’s a message that came in through the English Get Involved page last week:

“I’m an open source activist and student in Argentina and want to help with policy development and marketing in my region.”

I wrote this person back, but it would have been better to invite this person to write to us in Spanish and have someone who lived in and knew about the community and contribution opportunities in Argentina get in touch.

Mozilla Reps gives us a way to do that. There are hundreds of Reps around the world and the plan is to have Reps from each locale be the first point of contact for people wanting to get involved.

This will be a better experience for new contributors and will allow us to reach out to more people. Around 200 people interested in getting involved contact us each day from the English page, so we’ll be able to increase that even more.

If you’re interested in learning more or taking part in localizing Get Involved into more languages, comment on this post, contact me directly or join the discussion on the tracking bug.

4 thoughts on “Connecting with contributors everywhere

  1. Most of the times I ask people if they want to join us, or they are coming to me, we lost them because we don’t let them feel that we want them and how we can use their knowledge efficiently.

    If a person is an high school student or even less, and doesn’t have good programming knowledge, they feel that they are worth nothing to us. Sometimes we can tell them that we need localizers, but not everyone have good enough knowledge in English or even their native language to supply good enough translations, and if they know it in advance they won’t even bother to ask if we need some help.

    In order to use people more efficiently, we need to know what they know best and what are the most interesting position we can have for them. You see, people won’t contribute if they don’t find it fun enough, and most of them think that a “a company who creates browsers” doesn’t need people who are good in graphics, for example, and if they don’t have professional degree in that subject, they think they worth nothing to us, which is wrong, and we can find a use for everyone, even if they are in the age of our parents or grandparents and they like the Mozilla principals, we have a space for them.

    I think we don’t need just to connect new contributers with others based on a common language or a geographical region. Someone who good in working with kids might be useful the WebMakers project even without direct contact with their neighbors who already part of Mozilla. We need a more comprehensive webpage, wizard style, who would help us map the abilities of everyone and help them connect with already established teams who have something in common, as well as others who need help from a person who have the abilities they are missing.

    1. Tomer, thanks for your comments. You raise some good points.

      I agree that we could be making it more clear that you don’t have to be an expert and there are all sorts of ways to contribute. I’ve been wanting to do some A/B tests of the Get Involved page to figure out the best messages to use and it would be great if you wanted to help figure out what to try out.

      I also agree with you about the potential of using wizards to help get people connected to the right opportunities. I think we can improve the form on the Get Involved page (see tracking bug for ideas) and also have other tools that can help with this, like Josh’s


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