Being a Mozillian is a Journey

Austin King has a great post about his experience of realizing when he was a Mozillian. This has helped me make sense of the discussions about “what does Mozillian mean?” that got kicked-off at the Summit.

Austin describes a journey where he progressed from being a user to a supporter promoting our products and then to a contributor hacking on Mozilla code. It was only when he had reached a core contributor position that he considered himself a Mozillian.

At that point, he definitely met the criteria of belief, action and interaction that came out of the Summit sessions. It’s great to honor anyone who has reached that point, but we should also be honoring people when they begin their journey in Mozilla.

Photo courtesy of Franco
Photo courtesy of Franco

I think we should extend the meaning of ‘Mozillian’ to cover anyone on their journey of believing in our mission, taking action to support it and interacting with other community members—even if they’ve only just started on their path.

This means we will probably need to identify specific milestones on the journey and call those out. That seems like something that other movements do too—for instance, the Girl Scouts have many levels of involvement but everyone involved is a Girl Scout.

I realize this changes the current use of applying this word to people who have progressed through much of that journey. To include a million more Mozillians in our community though we’ll need to be more intentional about finding and honoring people who are starting their journey.

7 thoughts on “Being a Mozillian is a Journey

  1. David,

    I am very much in agreement with your thoughts here (and with Austin’s) and I like to think I have been on a journey toward identifying as a Mozillian for a long time, since I first understood and believed in what Firefox was about, but that was a long time before I ever made a contribution.

    I think the girl scout model is quite valid, if we can define conversion points and levels of participation, and measure them, I think we can measure the same sort of growth that the “Million Mozillians” initiative represents, with a more inclusive approach.

    Maybe it means in ten years we can measure much *more* than a million Mozillians, but a million who have made contributions of some specific measurable level or set of levels. That could be pretty amazing, if you ask me.

  2. I agree with using Mozillian as a broad term to describe people on the journey of believing in our mission, taking action to support it and interacting with other community members.

    Because people are in different places on that journey, having specific milestones is useful for both individuals and the organization. It also helps a lot with measurement. We could use some ideas from the girl scout model, which has clear conversion points and levels of participation.

    I would like to see us recognize people along each step of their journey and and interact with them even if they become less active. Mozilla alumni may not be actively involved, but many of them are still interested in Mozilla’s activities and want to be involved (or at least informed) in some capacity.

  3. This is a nice refinement. If we proceed with this definition of “Mozillian”, then I think we should consider the following practical implications:

    * The Mozillians we’re talking about when we talk about “One Million Mozillians” will necessarily be people who have passed some milestone on the journey.
    * The milestones themselves — particularly the first one — will need to happen somewhere that is visible to other Mozillians.

    For example: We could say that anyone passing the first milestone on the journey would be counted among the Million Mozillians. And we could also say that the first milestone is completing some series of steps ending in the person having a Mozillians.org account.

  4. Hey David,

    I’m happy that we’re coming back around to a more inclusive concept of what a Mozillian is. Certainly we can accommodate and indicate levels of participation for all to see, yet I would posit one of Mozilla’s primary strengths as well as one of our defining aspects is our inclusive nature. In my opinion, the more that we can communicate our community-built-ness, the better.

  5. Great post, David. I love the idea of expanding the definition of what a Mozillian is to make it more inclusive and all-encompassing. I especially like the Girl Scouts example as it shows how we might build a system of naming based on the core of “Mozillian.” I’d love to hear some more thoughts about how we might do that — and, of course, contribute to that conversation.

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