What will 20,000 active contributors do?

There were about 2,000 people who went to the 2013 Summit. One of Mozilla’s goals this year is to increase the size of the community by 10 times. That means if we have a Summit in 2015 there could be 20,000 active contributors attending.

Photo by Marcia Knous
Photo by Marcia Knous

One question that is worth talking more about is what will these 20,000 active contributors be doing? That is something that the Community Building team has been spending the last few months looking into.

We have been partnering with teams across Mozilla to help every project bring more contributors in. From those discussions, we’ve come up with a list of areas that have both high growth potential and align with our strategic goals.

  • Coding
  • Documentation
  • Engagement
  • Localization
  • Location Services
  • Privacy/Policy
  • QA
  • Support
  • User Research
  • Web Compatibility

This list will inform what contribution opportunities get placed where lots of people interested in Mozilla will see them, like the mozilla.org home page. There are many teams not on this list though that we’ll also be helping.


To see all of the teams we’re supporting with their community building efforts, check out this dashboard. Let us know if there’s additional information you’d like to see. Also leave a comment or reach out to me directly if you’d like help bringing contributors into your project.

6 thoughts on “What will 20,000 active contributors do?

  1. Of course I totally support this set of areas for growth – and,I think it is important to talk about what we mean by these things – and the role which education plays in many of them – and in other core initiatives of the project’s growth such as Web Literacy/WebMaker. I’d love to see us break these out and do a focused blog or other writing piece about each (yes, I’m offering to help). In the realm of policy, to understand more about what we mean there, I’d direct people’s attention to today’s work of a team of Mozillians both staff and volunteer, working on Net Neutrality: https://blog.mozilla.org/netpolicy/2014/05/05/protecting-net-neutrality-and-the-open-internet/

  2. David, you keep saying in various places that coding is an area with high growth potential, and I strongly disagree. Right now we’re focused on increasing Firefox conding contributions from 150 per release to 300 per release. Getting to 500 per release would put great strain on our system and will take a year or more. We’re still constrained by Brook’s law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooks%27s_law), no matter whether people are volunteers or employees.

    In order to get 20,000 active contributors this year, you need to focus on activities which require much less technical expertise, are accessible to a larger population, and require a smaller up-front time commitment.

    1. Benjamin, I agree with your points and that list leaves out a lot of the details about each area. I think improving the dashboard and including these details there will give us a good resource for having informed discussions about where we focus community growth.

      So, in terms of growth potential there are definitely some different degrees of growth. So for example, QA may be able to grow by 1000s of contributors, but coding maybe only by 100s. Both of those groups are growing more than other parts of the project that may just bring in a small handful of contributors this year.

      I also hear what you say about there being inherent limits to the numbers of coding contributors that can work on any one project, such as desktop Firefox. There are many projects though that people could contribute to — Firefox OS, Rust, etc. If we create an effective coding contribution pathway, we can use that to connect people to a range of different opportunities.

      And lastly, we definitely do want to focus on opportunities that require a small up-front time commitment. We also need to spend some time and energy on contribution opportunities that the project needs, regardless of how easy or hard the onboarding process might be. I think the list of focus areas here offers a range of pathways that cover both easier and harder commitments.

  3. Larissa, I agree that breaking these out and providing more details about each would be great. There is a lot of interesting information to share about every partnership and it would be good to have more people see those details. Happy to hear your thoughts about the best way to do that.

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