Opportunities to connect with contributors at scale

Mozilla has a goal this year to grow the number of active contributors by 10 times. We’ll be able to achieve this by tapping into several different opportunities that let us connect with new contributors at scale. Some of those are:

The numbers of people who have reached out to us through those tools is a powerful example of how Mozilla’s mission resonates and gets people excited to want to help.

We can connect these people to Mozilla initiatives—we just need to get better about identifying and sharing out contribution opportunities and making use of the tools above.

If you have information to add about these tools or know of other opportunities to connect with people at scale, please feel free to update this etherpad. We’ll take these notes and make a guide for people interested in building communities around their projects.

Contribution Madlibs

Michelle Marovich is preparing to run the Designing for Participation workshop for the People team. She’s looking for some real world examples that can help make the concepts concrete for everyone, so she set up a Contribution Madlib template for people to fill out.

Mine is below. It would be great to see your version of the Madlibs—just replace the underlined sections with information about a project you’ve designed for participation.

I want to create a local Mozilla community in Antarctica, I need several people to help me on it therefore I will write a blog post that syndicates to Planet Mozilla and reach out directly to people that I know are interested in this in order to publicize the work.

Then I start an email thread with people who have responded to the idea and identify a place in IRC where we can continue the discussion in order to engage with the people who are interested. I break the work down into tasks by having a group discussion about what we can do in order to see what emerges and then asking for drivers for the different ideas that were generated.

I communicate those tasks by creating a list of people who want to be a part of this team and writing down who is doing what. So that we can work effectively together, I always make sure that we are continuing the discussions in IRC. I continue to raise awareness of the work by evangelizing what the group is doing by writing more blog posts, posting to Facebook and using other project channels.

I communicate decisions and progress by delegating this to the people on the team who want to drive the project management. When we achieve a milestone, reach a goal, or someone does something amazing I recognize them by thanking them publicly for all of their hard work.

Video of the Community Building panel

Richard Milewski kindly posted on Air Mozilla the video of the community building panel we did with people from the Girl Scouts, Red Cross, ZenDesk and AIESEC at the Community Builders meetup in December.


Making the video of the panel available will be helpful since there were a lot of great ideas that came up in the discussion with people working with large groups of volunteers at other organizations.

Here are just a few of the ideas that were discussed:

  • The Red Cross develops volunteers as leaders by having every Manager level or above role have a volunteer counterpart
  • The Red Cross also includes supporting volunteers in the performance review process of their staff
  • The Girl Scouts has a big initiative to work with alumni to tap into all of the people who have taken part in Scouting at some point in their lives

Please leave comments here about other ideas and suggestions that were discussed in the panel that you find interesting.

A great Community Builders meetup

Last week over 50 staff and volunteers got together in San Francisco for a Community Builders meetup. The goal was to create plans for 2014 for how to support all community building efforts across Mozilla.


We organized around a set of tracks for systems and data, pathways, education and culture, recognition, and events. Each track focused on creating concrete action plans for next year and then we shared this out through a brown bag at the end of the week.


Many people worked hard to make this a success and I’d like to thank everyone who planned for this event and thank everyone who took part. In particular, I’d like to thank people who took part remotely and dialed in from all over the world during all sorts of different local times.

Photos from the Summit Fairs

I’d like to thank Sean Bolton for organizing an effort to capture photos from all of the Fairs at the Summit. Check the photos out at:

It was a great experience for me to help get the Fairs set up and I really enjoyed the experience of visiting all the booths.

I have to admit that when I was doing that though, I wasn’t very good about taking pictures and instead grabbed some of the great swag that some booths were offering.

Seeing how local communities adapt parts of Mozilla and make it their own is fascinating and I picked up cool stickers from Mozilla Romania, Mozilla Ukraine, Mozilla Taiwan, Mozilla Hong Kong and Mozilla Indonesia.


If you have pictures from your experience at the Summit Fairs, feel free to post them on the wiki to document all of the great stuff that happened there.

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.

What Does ‘Mozillian’ Mean?

I’ve been thinking about Gerv’s recent summary of the What Does ‘Mozillian’ Mean? sessions from the Summit. The three criteria that came out of those sessions seem useful to me:

  • Belief in the mission
  • Action to support the mission
  • Interaction with other community members

One way these criteria could be used is to clarify the community definitions we created a couple years ago that describe how Mozilla is made up of users, supporters, casual contributors, active contributors and core contributors.


The definitions we’ve been using are a little vague. For instance, a casual contributor is someone who has volunteered small amounts of time. But how much time is that? How does that differ from a supporter who also donates time to Mozilla?

Using these criteria can give us clearer definitions. Casual contributors and supporters both give something to help the project, but casual contributors interact with other community members (eg, going to a Bug Day) and supporters don’t (eg, making a donation).

It’s not clear though if these criteria define a Mozillian or if they define something else, such as who a Mozilla contributor is. We talked about this at last week’s Grow Mozilla discussion and there were two different thoughts.


One was that the word ‘Mozillian’ should be reserved for people who met all three criteria. Others thought that this doesn’t capture the important part of our culture that allows people to self-identify with our mission and they thought ‘Mozillian’ worked better as something inclusive that anyone could use.

I think we want words to describe both sets of people. Knowing who meets these criteria lets us do things such as figure out who we want at a Summit. Knowing who identifies with our mission lets us establish relationships with people who can become more deeply involved with the project.

I’m interested to hear what other people think. How would you define ‘Mozillian’?

Showcasing Mozilla’s local communities

The Contact page on mozilla.org is getting redesigned and it will include information about local communities around the world along with information about Mozilla Spaces.

There will be a lot of space to feature relevant content from different communities, including pictures, links, logos, etc. The mockup below shows the space available.

The design team set up an etherpad where people from different communities can add information. Check this out and add content for your local community.

* https://etherpad.mozilla.org/moz-spaces-communityInformation

The categories listed there are just a starting point—if there are other types of information you think is relevant, feel free to add it.


What Would A Million Mozillians Do?

I’m looking forward to the discussion at the Summit about What Would A Million Mozillians Do? To help me and the other organizers think through this session, I wanted to post some thoughts to get feedback.

As a starting place, it makes sense to highlight that a million is a big number—it’s almost 2 Luxembourg’s worth of Mozillians. Although it’s a big number, it’s something we could do.


For instance, we recently had a campaign that encouraged over 1,600 people in one day to say they wanted to volunteer with Mozilla. If that happened every day, it would take less than two years to reach a million Mozillians.

The question then is what would all of those people do? We can begin to answer this by looking at how far we can deepen existing contribution opportunities and then look at how far we could broaden opportunities to new areas.

For an example of deepening, could we localize Firefox in the indigenous languages of North American? The Navajo Nation recently dubbed Star Wars into Navajo as a way to interest youth in the language, so maybe they’d also be interested in a Navajo Firefox?


For an example of broadening, the recent open furniture experience at the Mozilla Japan office is an exciting case study. If it’s possible to connect furniture makers to our mission, then we should be able to connect knitters, chefs and anyone else who wants to build a better Internet.


There are all sorts of questions that come out of this, so in the session we could have interesting breakouts to discuss what the contribution opportunities could be, figure out how we could logistically and culturally grow to this size, and identify who else is building communities of this size that we can learn from.

If this sounds interesting to you, join us for the session on Saturday at 1:30pm and also comment here with any thoughts or suggestions.

Innovation Fair booths at the Summit

We received great responses from people interested in sharing what they’re working on at the Innovation Fair at the Summit. Check out the full list of Innovation Fair booths to see what’s in store.

If you’re one of the people running a booth, check out the Fair Survival Guide for tips, tricks and more information.

If you’re not running a booth, plan to stop by the booths and have conversations with the people who are showing off cool things there.