Connecting with more people interested in contributing

To increase the number of active contributors by 10x this year, we’re going to need to connect with more people interested in contributing. I’m excited that the Community Building team has helped reboot a couple of things that will let us do that.

Nightly builds used to bring up a page with information about how to help test Firefox, but it had been turned off about a year ago because the page was not being maintained. The page is now back on and we’re already seeing an increase in traffic.


We’ve taken a first pass at updating the Nightly First Run and What’s New page and are working on a larger redesign to get relevant contribution information in front of people who are interested in testing, developing and localizing Firefox.


We’ve also been working with Community Engagement to bring back the about:mozilla newsletter which has over 60,000 people who have signed up to receive regular contribution opportunities and news from us.

The first issue since October is coming out this week and new issues will be coming out every two weeks (sign up for the newsletter on the Get Involved page). We’re also making it easier for you to submit timely contribution opportunities that we can feature in future issues.


These are just a couple of the ways that we have to connect with people interested in contributing to Mozilla. We’re putting better documentation together to make it easy to tap into all of the ways to connect with new contributors.

If you have questions about any of this or would like to get help with bringing new contributors into your project, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to work with you.

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 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.

Sharing Mozilla love with new contributors

I just got two of the Mozilla Love shirts earlier this week—one to keep for myself and one to give away. I’m going to try to use my second shirt to connect someone new to a project at Mozilla.


Giving out two shirts to everyone is a great opportunity for all of us to go out and bring more people in to the project.

If you’ve never done that before, or would like some tips about how to do that, we have a 3-step guide that can help. The steps are:

  • Tell them about our mission
  • Tell them we need their help
  • Tell them where to find opportunities

The guide is short. It takes just a couple minutes to read and the suggestions are things you can make use of in a short conversation with a friend, family member or someone who asks you about your Mozilla shirt.

Read the guide for more details and good luck with bringing in new contributors. Also feel free to add other tips and suggestions to the document so other people can learn from your experience.

Community Building Team

For the past few months I’ve been working with a new team that is focused on understanding the talent gaps of our core initiatives and connecting potential contributors to the most impactful work of the project.

The members of the Community Building team (Dino Anderson, Christie Koehler, Michelle Marovich, Pierros Papadeas, William Quiviger and Larissa Shapiro) have extensive experience in this area and I’m excited to learn from them.


Since we’re a new team, we’ve spent this first quarter of 2014 getting our ducks in a row so that we’re set up to achieve the goal of increasing active contributors to Mozilla’s target initiatives by 10x. We’ll do this by coordinating closely with the Engagement and Foundation teams.

Image from sweet_redbird
Image from sweet_redbird

Our plans for the year are to partner with teams across Mozilla that want to build communities around their projects and help them connect with contributors and support them as they grow.

To help them with that, we’ll be making use of what is being created by the community building working groups. These are places where both staff and volunteers get together to create participation resources that will serve everyone across Mozilla.

You can learn more about these working groups by checking out the brown bag from our meetup in December. This features Mozillians from across the project sharing roadmaps for working groups focused on pathways, systems, education, recognition and events.


If you’re interested in taking part in our efforts to create shared participation resources, please feel free to sign up to the community building mailing list or join an upcoming Grow Mozilla discussion.

Sharks, Parachutes and Hard Hats

Mozilla’s goals for 2014 were shared out recently and included information about how we’ll increase the number of active contributors in the community this year by 10x.

Since it is sometimes easier to digest information in images than in words, I wanted to follow up with some pictures that show what our approach is to achieve this goal (thanks to Pierros for making these).


Today many teams are working on a project and would love to get some help. There are many people who want to help, but there are often obstacles that stand in the way of connecting (thankfully those obstacles aren’t usually sharks).


The Engagement, People and Foundation teams are here to help. Engagement will increase the number of people who are excited about wanting to contribute (that’s the parachutes). The community builders on the People team (those are the hard hats) will help build pathways that let people cross the chasm and connect with projects.


Once those pathways are built and many more people are joining the project as active contributors, the People team will offer support to teams as they adapt to work with a larger group of Mozillians by offering systems, education and more.

If you’re looking for help increasing the number of active contributors for your project, we’re happy to support you. Get in touch by joining and posting to the community building mailing list or joining the regular Grow Mozilla discussions.

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.