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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/
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.
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.
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.
[…] more done is rewarding and lots of fun, but can also be a challenge. David Boswell asked “What will 20,000 active contributors do?” and since the beginning of the year we at MDN are asking ourselves similar […]
[…] contributors is a main focus of our work this year, which community builders have written about in blog posts and other documentation, but this survey contains a good deal of additional information for […]
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