Mozilla Participation TeamNew contributors to Firefox 85

With Firefox 85 fresh out of the oven, we are delighted to welcome the developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 13 of whom are new volunteers! Please join us in thanking each of them, and take a look at their contributions:

Mozilla Participation TeamNew Contributors, Firefox 82

With Firefox 82 hot off the byte presses, we are pleased to welcome the developers whose first code contributions shipped in this release, 18 of whom were new volunteers! Please join us in thanking each of them for their persistence and enthusiasm, and take a look at their contributions:

Mozilla Participation TeamWeaving Safety into the Fabric of Open Source Collaboration

At Mozilla, with over 400 staff in community-facing roles, and thousands of volunteer contributors across multiple projects: we believe that everyone deserves the right to work, contribute and convene with knowledge that their safety and well-being are at the forefront of how we operate and communicate as an organization.

In my 2017 research into the state of diversity and inclusion in open source, including qualitative interviews with over 90 community members, and a survey of over 204 open source projects, we found that while a majority of projects had  adopted a code of conduct, nearly half (47%) of community members did not trust (or doubted) its enforcement. That number jumped to 67% for those in underrepresented groups.

For mission driven organizations like Mozilla, and others building open source into their product development workflows, I found a lack of cross-organizational  strategy for enforcement.  A strategy that considers the intertwined nature of open source,  where staff and contributors regularly work together as teammates and colleagues.

It was clear, that the success of enforcement was dependent on the  organizational capacity to respond as a whole, and not as sole responsibility of community managers. This blog post describes our journey to get there.

Why This Matters


Truly ‘open’ participation requires that everyone feel safe, supported, and empowered in their roles.

From an ‘organizational health perspective this is also critical to get right as there are unique risks associated with code of conduct enforcement in open collaboration:

  • Safety  – Physical/Sexual/Psychological for all involved.
  • Privacy – Privacy, confidentiality, security of data related to reports.
  • Legal – Failure to recognize applicable law, or follow required processes, resulting in potential legal liability. This includes the geographic region where reporter & reported individuals reside.
  • Brand – Mishandling (or not handling) can create mistrust in organizations, and narratives beyond their ability to manage.

Where We Started (Staff)


Looking down, you can see someone's feet, on concrete next to a purple spraypainted lettering that says 'Start Here'

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I want to first acknowledge that across Mozilla’s many projects and communities, maintainers, and project leads were doing an excellent job of managing low to moderate risk cases, including  ‘drive by’ trolling.

That said, our processes and program were immature. Many of those same staff found themselves without expertise, tools and lacking key partnerships required to manage escalations and high risk situations.  This caused stress and perhaps placed an unfair burden on those people to solve complex problems in real time. Specifically gaps were:

Investigative & HR skill set  –  Investigation requires both a mindset, and set of tactics to ensure that all relevant information is considered, before making a decision. This and other skills, related to supporting employees, sits in the HR department.

Legal – Legal partnership for both product and employment issues are key to high risk cases (in any of the previously mentioned categories) and those which may involve staff – either as the reporter or the reported.  The when and how for consulting legal wasn’t yet fully clear.

Incident Response  Incident response requires timing and a clear set of steps that ensures complex decisions like a project ban are executed in such a way that safety and privacy of all involved are at center.  This includes access to expertise and tools that help keep people safe.  There was no repeatable predictable, and visible process to plug into.

Centralized Data TrackingThere was no single, cohesive way to track HR, Legal and community violations of the CPG  across the project.   This means theoretically, that someone banned from the community could have potentially applied for a MOSS grant, fellowship or been invited to Mozilla’s bi-annual All Hands by another team – without that being readily flagged.

Where We Started (Community)


“Community does not pay attention to CPG ,  people don’t feel it will do anything.”  – 2017 Research into the state of diversity & inclusion in open source.

For those in our communities, 2017 research found little- to-no knowledge about how to report violations, and what to expect if they did.  In situations perceived as urgent, contributors would look for help from multiple staff members they already had a rapport with, and/or affiliated community leadership groups like Mozilla Reps council.  Those community leaders were often heroic in their endeavors to help, but again just lacked the same tools, processes and visibility into how the organization was set up to support them.

In open source more broadly, we have a long timeline of unaddressed toxic behavior, especially  from those in roles of influence .   It seems fair to hypothesize that the human and financial cost of unaddressed behavior is not unlike concerning numbers showing up in research about toxic work environments.

Where We Are Now


While this work is never done, I can say with a lot of confidence that the program we’ve built is solid, both from the perspective of systematically addressing the majority of the gaps I’ve mentioned, and set up to continually improve.

Investments required to build this program were both practical, in that we required resources, and budget, but also of the intangible – and emotional commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people in difficult circumstances, and potentially endure the response of those of those for whom equality felt uncomfortable.

Over time, and as processes became more efficient,  those investments have also been gradually reduced from two people, working full time, to only 25% of a full time employee’s time.  Even with recent layoffs at Mozilla, these programs are now lean enough to continue as is.

The CPG Program for Enforcement

To date, we’ve triaged 282 reports, consulted on countless issues related to enforcement, and fully rolled out 19 complex full project bans among other decisions ranked according to levels on our consequence ladder . We’ve also ensured that over 873 of Mozilla’s Github repositories use our template, which directs to our processes.



Who uses this program?   It might seem a bit odd to describe those who seek support in difficult situations as customers, or users but from the perspective of service design, thinking this way ensures we are designing with empathy, compassion and providing value for the journey of open source collaboration.

“I felt very supported by Mozilla’s CPG process when I was being harassed. It was clear who was involved in evaluating my case, and the consequences ladder helped jump-start a conversation about what steps would be taken to address the harassment. It also helped that the team listened to and honor my requests during the process.”  – Mozilla staff member

“I am not sure how I would have handled this on my own. I am grateful that Mozilla provided support to manage and fix a CPG issues in my community”  – Mozilla community member.

Obviously I cannot be specific to protect privacy of individuals involved, but I can group ‘users’ into three groups:

People – contributors, community leaders, community-facing staff, and their managers.

Mozilla Communities & Projects –  it’s hard to think of an area that has not leveraged this program in some capacity including: Firefox, Developer Tools,  SUMO, MDN, Fenix, Rust, Servo, Hubs, Addons, Firefox, Mozfest, All Hands, Mozilla Reps, Tech Speakers, Dev Rel, Reps, MOSS, L10N and regional communities are top of mind.

External Communities & Projects –  because we’ve shared our work openly,  we’ve seen adoption more broadly in the ecosystem including the Contributor’s Covenant ‘Enforcement Guidelines’.

Policy & Standards


Answering: “How might we scale our processes, in a way that ensures quality, safety, stability, reproducibility and ultimately builds trust across the board (staff and communities)?”.

This includes continual improvement of the CPG itself. This year, after interviewing an expert on the topic of caste discrimination, and its potentially negative impact on open communities, we  added caste as a protected group.   This year, we’ve also translated the policy into 7 more languages for a total of 15.  Finally, we added a How to Report page, including best practices for accepting a report, and ensuring compliance based on whether staff are reporting or the reporter.  All changes are tracked here.

For the enforcement policy itself we have the following standards:

  • A Decision making policy governs  cases where contributors are involved  – ensuring the right stakeholders are consulted,  scope of that consultation is limited to protect privacy of those involved.
  • Consequence ladder  guides decision-making, and  if required, provides guidance for escalation in cases of repeat violations.
  • For rare cases where a ban is temporary, we have a policy to invite members back through our CPG onboarding.
  • To roll out a decision across multiple systems, we’ve developed this project-wide process including communication templates.

To ensure unified understanding and visibility, we have the following supportive processes and tools:

Internal Partnerships


Answering:  “How might we unite people, and teams with critical skills needed to respond  efficiently and effectively (without that requiring a lot of formality)?”.

There were three categories of formal, and informal partnerships, internally:

Product  Partnerships – those with accountability, and skill sets related to product implementation of standards and policies. Primarily this is legal’s product team, and those administering the Mozilla GitHub organization.

Safety Partnerships – those with specific skill sets, required in emergency situations.  At Mozilla, this is Security Assurance, HR, Legal and Workplace Resources (WPR)  .

Enforcement Partnerships – Specifically this means alignment between HR and legal on which actions belong to which team.  That’s not to say, we always have the need for these, many smaller reports can easily be handled by the community team alone.

There are three circles, one that says 'Employee Support' and lists tasks of that role, the second says 'Investigation (HR)' and lists the tasks of that role, the third says 'Case Actions(community team)' and lists associated actions

An example of how a case involving an employee as reporter, or reported is managed between departments.

We also have less formalized partnerships (more of an intention to work together) across events like All Hands, and in collaboration with other enforcement leaders at Mozilla like those managing high-volume issues in places like Bugzilla.

Working Groups


Answering: “How can we convene representatives from different areas of the org, around specific problems?

Centralized CPG Enforcement Data – Working Group

To mitigate risk identified a working group consisting of HR (for both Mozilla Corporation, and Mozilla Foundation), legal and the community team come together periodically to triage requests for things like MOSS grants, community leadership roles, and in-person invites to events (pre-COVID-19)  reduced the potential for re-emergence of those with CPG violations risk in a number of areas.

Safety  – Working Group

When Mozillians feel threatened (perceived or actual), we want to make sure there is an accountable team, with access and ability to trigger broader responses across the organization, based on risk. This started first as a mailing list of accountable for Security, Community, Workplaces Resources (WPR) and HR, this group now has Security as a DRI, ensuring prompt incident response.

Each of these working groups started as an experiment, each having demonstrated value,  now has an accountable DRI (HR & Security Assurance respectively).



Answering: “How can we ensure an ongoing high standard of response, through knowledge sharing and training for contributors in roles of project leadership, and staff in community-facing roles(and their managers)?

We created two courses:

two course tiles are shown. One titled (contributor) community participation guidelines, the other (staff) participation guidelines. Each show link to FAQThese  are not intended to make people ‘enforcement experts’.  Instead, curriculum covers, at a high level (think ‘first aid’ for enforcement!), those topics critical to mitigating risk, and keeping people safe.

98% of the 501 staff who have completed this course said they understood how it applied to their role, and valued the experience.

Central to content is this triage process, for quick decision making, and escalation if needed.

A cropped inforgraphic showing a triage process for CPG violations. The first 4 steps are for P1 (and descriptions for what thsoe are), the next time is for p2 (with descriptions for what those are) with two more tiles for P3, and P4 each with descriptions.

CPG Triage Infographic


Last (but not least), these courses encourage learners to prioritize self-care , with available resources, and clear organizational support for doing so.

Supporting Systems


As part of our design and implementation we also found a need for systems to further our program’s effectiveness.  Those are:

Reporting Tool:  We needed a way to effectively and consistently accept, and document reports.  We decided to use a third party system that allowed Mozilla to create records directly and allowed contributors/community members to personally submit reports in the same tool.  This helped with making sure that we had one authorized system rather than a smattering of notes and documents being kept in an unstructured way.  It also allows people to report in their own language.

Learning Management System (LMS):  No program is effective without meaningful training. To support, we engaged with a third party tool that allowed us to create content that was easy to digest, but also provides assessment opportunities (quizzes) and ability to track course completion.



This, often invisible work of safety, is critical if open source is to reach it’s full potential. I want to thank, the many, many people who cared, advocated and contributed to this work and those that trusted us to help.

If you have any questions about this program, including how to leverage our open resources, please do reach out via our Github repository, or Discourse.


NOTE:  We determined Community-facing roles as those with ‘Community Manager’ in their title and:

  • Engineers, designers, and others working regularly with contributors on platforms like Mercurial, Bugzilla and Github.
  • Anyone organizing, speaking or hosting events on behalf of Mozilla.
  • Those with jobs requiring social media interactions with external audiences including blogpost authorship.

Mozilla Participation TeamRevitalize participation by understanding our communities

As part of the bigger Open Innovation strategy project on how openness can better drive Mozilla products and technologies, during the next few months we will be conducting research about our communities and contributors.

We want to take a detailed, data-driven look into our communities and contributors: who we are, what we’re doing, what our motivations are and how we’re connected.

Who: Understanding the people in our communities

  • How many contributors are there in the Mozilla community.
  • Who are we? (how diverse is our community?)
  • Where are we? (geography, groups, projects)

What: Understanding what people are doing

  • What are we doing? (contributing with)
  • What are our skillsets?
  • How much time we’re able to devote to the project.
  • The tools we use.
  • Why do people contribute? (motivations)
  • What blocks people from contributing?
  • What other projects do we contribute to?
  • What other organisations are we connected to?
  • How much do people want to get involved?

Why: Understanding why people contribute

  • What are people’s’ motivations.
  • What are the important factors in contributing for Mozilla (ethical, moral, technological etc).
  • Is there anything Mozilla can do that will lead volunteers to contribute more?
  • For people who have left the project:why do they no longer contribute?)

How & Where: Understanding the shape of our communities and our people’s networks

  • What are the different groups and communities.
  • Who’s inside each group (regional and functional).
  • What is the overlap between people in groups?
  • Which groups have the most overlap, which have the least? (not just a static view, but also over time)
  • How contributors are connected to each other? (related with the “where”)
  • How are our contributors connected to other projects, Mozilla etc

In order to answer all these questions, we have divided the work in three major areas.

Contributors and Contributions Data Analysis

Analyzing past quantitative data about contributions and contributors (from sources like Bugzilla, Github, Mailing Lists, and other sources) to identify patterns and draw conclusions about contributors, contributions and communities.

Communities and Contributors survey

Designing and administering a qualitative survey to as many active contributors as possible (also trying to survey people who have stopped contributing to Mozilla) to get a full view of our volunteers (demographics), motivations, which communities people identify with, and their experience with Mozilla. We’ll use this to identify patterns in motivations.


We’ll bring together the conclusions and data from both of the above components to articulate a set of insights and recommendations that can be a useful input to the Open Innovation Strategy project.

In particular, one aim that we have is to cross reference individuals from the Mozillians Survey and Data Analysis to better understand — on aggregate — how things like motivations and identity relate to contribution.

Our commitments

In all of this work we are handling data with the care you would expect from Mozilla, in line with our privacy policy and in close consultation with Mozilla’s legal and trust teams.

Additionally, we realize that we at Mozilla often ask for people’s time to provide feedback and you may have recently seen other surveys. Also, we have run research projects of this sort in the past without following up with a clear plan of action. This project is different. It’s more extensive than anything we’ve done, it is connected a much larger project to shape Mozilla’s strategy with respect to open practices, and we will be publishing the results and data.

We would like to know your feedback/input about this project, its scope and implementation:

  • Are we missing any areas/topics we should get information about our communities?
  • Which part do you feel it’s more relevant?
  • Where do you think communities can engage to provide more value to the work we are going to do?
  • Any other ideas we are not thinking about?

Please let us know in this discourse topic.

Thanks everyone!

Mozilla Participation TeamOpen and agile?

Facilitating openness and including volunteers in agile sprints

This post is based on a discussion at the Mozilla All-Hands event in December 2016. Participants in that discussion included Janet Swisher, Chris Mills, Noah Y, Alex Gibson, Jeremie Patonnier, Elio Qoshi, Sebastian Zartner, Eric Shepherd, Julien G, Xie Wensheng, and others.

For most of 2016, the Mozilla marketing organization has been moving towards working agile — much of our work now happens within “sprints” lasting around 2.5 weeks, resulting in better prioritization and flexibility, among other things. (For those familiar with agile software development, agile marketing applies similar principles and workflows to marketing. Read the Agile Marketing Manifesto for more background.)

However, one aspect of our work that has suffered in this new paradigm is openness and inclusion of our volunteer community in marketing activities. While the agile workflow encourages accountability for full-time team members, it leaves very little space for part-time or occasional participation by volunteers. We are Mozilla, and transparency, openness, and participation are part of our core values. This disconnect is a problem.

This post explores the issues we’ve found, and shares some potential solutions that we could work towards implementing.

The problem

Since moving to an agile, “durable team” model, the amount of interaction we have had with our volunteer community has decreased. This is written from the perspective of the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) team, but we are sure that other teams have experienced similar negative trends.

The main reasons for this decrease are:

  • The tools used to track work are not open, so volunteers cannot access them.
  • The agile process in general does not lend itself well to volunteer discovery or contribution. Their work is deprioritized, they feel ignored, they find it harder to participate.
  • There is very little information provided for volunteers who want to participate in a project managed in an agile fashion.

The challenge we face is how to make the agile process more transparent, so that volunteers can understand what is happening and how it happens; more open so that volunteers can contribute in meaningful ways; and more welcoming so that volunteers feel they are part of a team and are appreciated and recognized for their efforts.


Let’s look at the solutions that were discussed. These details are fairly brief, but they act as good starting points for further investigation.

Openness of tools

We need to review the tools we are using, and make sure that they are open for volunteers to get information and updates. For example:

  • Slack is hard in terms of giving people the right permissions.
  • Some of the “agile tools” can appear closed off and difficult to access for those outside your organization (at least, in the ways we’ve been using them).

We need to work out better tools/workflows for volunteer contributions.


An explainer doc to explain the agile process would be useful, including:

  • How the process works in general, and an explanation of key terms like durable team, “functional team”, “cross-functional”, etc.
  • What the different teams are and what they are responsible for.
  • How to find more information on what you can do for each team at the current time and in the future.
  • How you can contact each team and get updates on their work.

There is some information that already exists — an explanation of MDN’s agile process, and a glossary of agile terminology.

When questions are asked, it would be good to make sure that we not only answer them on a public list, but also document the answers to make them easy to find for others.

When decisions are made, they need to be clearly communicated on the public list for the agile team it relates to.

Including volunteers

To participate in an agile team, volunteers need:

  • Access to tools and information, so they can do work and communicate with agile teams.
  • Access to lists of “low hanging fruit” tasks related to the team’s work that they can pick up and work on.
  • A chance for inclusion in the conversation, whether synchronously or asynchronously.

To achieve this, we need to:

  1. Review our tools, and make sure they can be made open to volunteers.
  2. Make information available, as described in the previous section.
  3. Make lists of tasks that volunteers can do in each agile team easily available. To achieve this, one suggestion is to share Epics with volunteers (don’t overwhelm them upfront with too much detail), but make lists of tasks available on the epic pages, along with who to contact about each task.
  4. Make it clear how you can communicate with agile teams — a clear mailing list and IRC/slack channel would be the minimum.
  5. Keep an open dialog going with our community:
    • Open up planning meetings to allow volunteers to take part in the planning.
    • Say what we are working on next before the sprint starts and what work volunteers can do.
    • Say how things are going during the sprint, and what help we need at each stage.
    • Report on how things went at the end of the sprint.
  6. Make meetings (standups, mid-sprint review, post mortem, etc.) more useful.
    • Include an IRC channel running at the same time, for further communication and to provide notes that people can read afterwards.
    • Allow people to talk about other subjects in meetings, to make them more human.
    • Sometimes conversation can be monotonous (e.g. “I’m still working on the same task” for 5 days running). If this is the case, use the time more usefully.
    • Use the meetings as an opportunity to update volunteer asks; if we find we need more help than we initially thought, do a shout out to the community.
    • Consider office hours for agile teams (whether in Vidyo, IRC, etc.), so team members and volunteers alike can drop in and talk.
    • Record video meetings so others can benefit from them asynchronously.

We ought to fit communication with the community/volunteers into each agile meeting, as a recurring agenda item.

Further points

  1. Make sure there is always someone present to help volunteers with questions they have, all the way through a sprint. Keep communication public; don’t let conversations happen in private, then risk the team member going on holiday or something.
  2. We should relax a little on the agile principles/processes — use them where they are useful, but don’t stick to the letter of the law for the sake of it, when it isn’t helpful. As an example, the MDN durable team has gone from everyone having a standup every day, to two standups per week for the writers, and two standups per week for the developers. We found anything more to be too high-frequency, and a waste of time.
  3. One situation that might make using open tools difficult is if any of the work is sensitive, e.g., discusses security issues. We could get around this by dealing with such issues inside private bugs on Bugzilla.

Next steps

We want to get feedback on this, and hear about other people’s pain points and solutions or insights for working open inside agile teams. If you have any other thoughts about how the process could be improved, please do share!

After that, we want to distill this information down in a set of documentation to help everyone in marketing (Mozilla, or otherwise) to be open while working in an agile form.

Mozilla Participation TeamRegional communities and Reps in 2016

Full static version is on the wiki and its conversation on discourse, feel free to point there anyone that might be interested.

What got shipped

from the Reps and Regional Communities Team


  • Executive summary
  • The Team
  • Release notes

Executive summary

Our two objectives for 2016 were:

  1. A focus set of relevant training and learning opportunities for mobilizers are systematized and they regularly access these opportunities to be more effective in their contributions and as a result providing more impact to Mozilla’s main initiatives.
  2. Reps is the program for most core volunteers where many communities feel their voice represented and influencing the organization, and where mozillians join to be more aligned, grow their skills and be more impactful in mobilizing others.

During 2016, the Reps and Regional communities team delivered:

  • A coaching training material to systematize training and coaching support to core mobilizers and communities, starting to be completely volunteer-driven in 2017.
  • An initial Leadership toolkit tailored to invest on the main identified skills our core mobilizers need to support Mozilla’s focus initiatives and areas.
  • Five in-person community gatherings in our top focus regions (Brazil, India, Europe, Arabic and Mexico) to test, iterate and deliver these coaching and leadership opportunities to key core mobilizers, as well as document and systematize this effort to allow volunteer to run their own local ones by themselves in 2017.
  • Support the creation (and regular update) of Activate Mozilla, a site to summarize the main focus areas for Mozilla (Rust, Servo, Test Pilot, WebVR, Internet Issues…) and how to provide value through activities co-created with functional partners.
  • Clear alignment, re-activation and impact delivery from the five focus communities, re-energizing and providing value to organization goals with Activate Mozilla activities during 2016 and helping them to come up with aligned plans for 2017 to support focus projects, including future partnerships with local organizations.
  • Alignment and impact delivery from regional communities around the world, with our Reps mobilizing almost 150 activities and events in more than 23 countries in the last 4 months supporting Test Pilot, Webcompat, Rust, Addons and E10s 2016 team goals.
  • A big update to Mozilla Reps (RepsNext) to evolve the program by supporting all these learning opportunities and becoming the main alignment, leadership, mobilizing and backbone force at the volunteer community (improving internal processes, mentors, coaching and regional representation/support).
  • Expand the support to our core contributors communications by enabling a discussion channel for NDA volunteers and staff and keeping core mobilizers in the loop with the organization communications, direction and encouraging conversations.
  • 100% increase in the positive sentiment about Reps program and Participation from our core mobilizers, as well as a very positive re-activation, engagement and alignment with 35 local communities thanks to Reps Regional Coaches.

The team

Release notes

December 30, 2016 (Q4HB4)

  • The Reps Review Team managed to reduce the budget approval time by 30%, this means that now it’s easier than ever for volunteers to request resources to support their activities.
  • Data from our last community survey shows that in the past 6 months we had a 100% increase in the positive sentiment about Reps program and Participation from our core mobilizers.
  • The coaching training material is available for anyone to use and will enable to systematize coaching training and be volunteer-driven thanks to the first cohort of new coaches we trained.
  • The Leadership Toolkit has now generated 13 new workshops and has a solid group of core contributors with a strong background developing and testing the material.

December 2, 2016 (Q4HB3)

November 11, 2016 (Q4HB2)

  • We held the Mexico Community Gathering in Mexico City, with a clear focus on reactivating the community, solving conflicts and aligning with the focus priorities.
  • 10 existing Reps Mentors began the new coaching training, expanding this way our coaching efforts to the existing mentor group in an effort to refresh and improve their skills.
  • At least 35 local communities showed a very positive sentiment about the re-activation, alignment and support from the Reps Regional Coaches.

Mozilla Participation TeamMozilla Festival 2016 in Asia

This post is written by by Noriatsu Kudo of Mozilla Japan with help from volunteer community space stewards.

On October 29th/30th 2016, the Mozilla Festival was held in London. The Festival is an annual event on Education, Journalism, Science, Openness and many other areas we have been working on with people all over the world. This year, as a trial session, the Mozilla communities in Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, and Mozilla Japan took part. Supported by the Participation Team, the 3 volunteer-run physical community spaces and Mozilla Japan office all located in Asia were connected to London during the opening day of Mozilla Festival.

The reasons why we came up with this idea are:

1) Geolocation disadvantage of Mozillians in Asia for Mozfest
2) Diversity of people/language and localization at Mozfest

First of all, from Asia, London is very far and it costs a lot for us to travel to MozFest. Therefore participants from Asia are much less comparing to EU participants. However there are a large number of people interested in the festival and in Mozilla’s work in the above fields.

Secondly, diversity in languages and localization were one of the focus topics this year. Therefore, I wanted to bring even more languages and people from different regions with their activities to MozFest.

Connected Spaces at MozFest

Connected Spaces at MozFest

From Local to Global

To make this happen, I discussed it with volunteers who run community spaces. From a technical point of view, it is quite easy to connect locations with video conference system and just broadcast talks from MozFest. However, remote participants are not same condition comparing to the local participants in the venue, and most of Asian participants are not English native speakers. Therefore, localization of the event was needed.

We first agreed on that conversation and discussion with others in their native language is important. Therefore, we decided to host a small events at each community space, and inter-connect those events. In this way, participants can join discussion even if they are not fluent enough to discuss in English. Also, because of time difference between Europe and Asia, we choose to held this event on Saturday, morning in London, and afternoon to night in Asia.

London Event

(by Noriatsu Kudo and Brian King)

There were two types of session in London. One was the broadcasting of “opening session and Speaker Series” using AirMozilla and Facebook Live. The other was a session to receive presentations from Asia using a video conferencing system.

The Opening session and Speaker Series were viewed in each community space and participants had a conversation about the content. In total, over 50 participants in Asia joined this public view style session.

The video conference part was held as a “Connecting remotely to global communities” session in the localization space. In this session Tokyo, Taipei, Jakarta, and Manila gave a short presentation about activities in each country. We have delivered four countries and four more languages to the festival to increase diversity of people and more participation. However, this was just a trial. Based on the satisfaction of remote participants, we would like to expand and improve on this type of participation all over the world.

Taipei Event

(by lrvin Chen)

In Community Space in Taipei, 12 Mozillians gathered together to watch the opening and live speaker sessions from MozFest. The opening remarks from Mark Surman resonated with the participants who had never been to MozFest not only because of his recent visit of Taipei community space, but also the free and open atmosphere and the energy of partcipants at MozFest.

MozFest 2016 遠端連線派對

After the live opening, we invite Franklin and Eric Sun from “ezgo” project to introduce how we promote FLOSS in basic education. There are many good and open educational materials (For example, Stellarium for astronomy, GeoGebra in mathematics and Avogadro in chemicals), and ezgo is a Linux distrubition designed to gather all of those materials and apps in one place for teachers and students. MozTW (Mozilla Taiwan Community) had co-work with OSSACC, the organization behind ezgo for many years, and we’re happy to introducing our experience to Mozillians around the world.

MozFest 2016 遠端連線派對

The second half of the event in Taipei had board games, food and social time. We had played a new crowdfunding “programming board game” – 海霸 King of Pirates by 程式老爹 papacode. It’s designed to teach the logic behind programming to kids from k-12, and even better, it’s open to download free (under by-nc-sa license). And we also shared some tasty Japanese, Indonesian and Philippines food, and had a good time socialising with people from other spaces in front of connected camera.

MozFest 2016 遠端連線派對 - 海霸桌遊

See more photos and check the Taipei community space’s website.

Jakarta Event

(by Yofie Setiawan)

In the Mozilla Community Space Jakarta, we have 11 attendees who join the Mozilla Festival 2016 Inter-connected Community Spaces session. We are really excited to see the live streaming of what happening in Mozilla Festival 2016 in London, UK. Beside, we also excited to the join the talks on other Mozilla Community Spaces, in Tokyo, Manila, Taipei, and London. From Jakarta, we share talks about WebVR which presented by Kiki, and Indonesian Food presentation by Rara. While for local talk, we share about the Mozilla Community and the Mozilla Community Space. We also play few games to have fun with everyone who came for the event.

Manila Event

(by Bob Reyes)

In the Mozilla Community Space Manila, most of the attendees were students from outside of the metropolis, visiting MozSpaceMNL for the first time. The community space was packed with more than fifty Mozillians eager to watch the livestream. While waiting for the live feed from London, participants were treated to a film showing of “Code Rush” followed by a short talk about Mozilla in the Philippines. The talks were then followed by a live viewing of the opening session of Mozilla Festival direct from London, UK.

Tokyo Event

(by Dynamis [Tomoya Asai] and Gunmar)

In Tokyo, there were 20 participants partcipated the event.  From Tokyo, Gecko embedded project and CHIRIMEN Open Hardware community gave their presentations. It was a great opportunity to share what Japanese community are doing and exchange information with other community groups in Japan.


The Mozilla Community Spaces Project

This project is supported by Brian King and the Community Development Team. The volunteer based community spaces in Asia opened their doors in 2014. It’s an experiment to create a free and open space for people who passionate about the open web, to attract more talent into Mozilla, to strengthen local communities, and to see what great things would happen.


This activity was successful because of the support of the following people…

  • Heather Bailey, space wrangler of localization space for coordination of the session at London.
  • Richard A Milewski and the Air Mozilla team for great live stream of sessions
  • Melissa Romaine of Mozilla Foundation for the advice to make the session better.
  • All of the Mozfest team for their support and great opportunity.
  • Partcipants who joined the session from Asia, without you, it was impossible!

Mozilla Participation TeamMaker Party 2016: Stand Up for a Better Internet

Cross post from: The Mozilla Blog.

Mozilla’s annual celebration of making online is challenging outdated copyright law in the EU. Here’s how you can participate.

It’s that time of year: Maker Party.

Each year, Mozilla hosts a global celebration to inspire learning and making online. Individuals from around the world are invited. It’s an opportunity for artists to connect with educators; for activists to trade ideas with coders; and for entrepreneurs to chat with makers.

This year, we’re coming together with that same spirit, and also with a mission: To challenge outdated copyright laws in the European Union. EU copyright laws are at odds with learning and making online. Their restrictive nature undermines creativity, imagination, and free expression across the continent. Mozilla’s Denelle Dixon-Thayer wrote about the details in her recent blog post.

By educating and inspiring more people to take action, we can update EU copyright law for the 21st century.

Over the past few months, everyday internet users have signed our petition and watched our videos to push for copyright reform. Now, we’re sharing copyright reform activities for your very own Maker Party.

Want to join in? Maker Party officially kicks-off today.

Here are activities for your own Maker Party:

Be a #cczero Hero

In addition to all the amazing live events you can host or attend, we wanted to create a way for our global digital community to participate.

We’re planning a global contribute-a-thon to unite Mozillians around the world and grow the number of images in the public domain. We want to showcase what the open internet movement is capable of. And we’re making a statement when we do it: Public domain content helps the open internet thrive.

Check out our #cczero hero event page and instructions on contributing. You should be the owner of the copyright in the work. It can be fun, serious, artistic — whatever you’d like. Get started.

For more information on how to submit your work to the public domain or to Creative Commons, click here.


Post Crimes

Mozilla has created an app to highlight the outdated nature of some of the EU’s copyright laws, like the absurdity that photos of public landmarks can be unlawful. Try the Post Crimes web app: Take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower’s night-time light display, or the Little Mermaid in Denmark.

Then, send your selfie as a postcard to your Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Show European policymakers how outdated copyright laws are, and encourage them to forge reform. Get started.

Meme School

It’s absurd, but it’s true: Making memes may be technically illegal in some parts of the EU. Why? Exceptions for parody or quotation are not uniformly required by the present Copyright Directive.

Help Mozilla stand up for creativity, wit, and whimsy through memes! In this Maker Party activity, you and your friends will learn and discuss how complicated copyright law can be. Get started.


We can’t wait to see what you create this Maker Party. When you participate, you’re standing up for copyright reform. You’re also standing up for innovation, creativity, and opportunity online.

NukeadorAmplifying our support to communities with Reps Regional Coaches

Please check my full resume for more details about my work

In my previous post, I explained how the Participation staff team was going to work with a clear focus, and today I want to explain how we are going to amplify this support to all local communities thanks to a project inside the Reps program called Regional Coaches.

Reps Regional coaches project aims to bring support to all Mozilla local communities around the world thanks to a group of excellent core contributors who will be talking with these communities and coordinating with the Reps program and the Participation team.

We divided the world into 10 regions, and selected 2 regional coaches to take care of the countries in these regions.

  • Region 1: USA, Canada
  • Region 2: Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Cuba
  • Region 3: Ireland, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic.
  • Region 4: Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Russia, Israel
  • Region 5: Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Palestine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Morocco
  • Region 6: Cameroon, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana
  • Region 7: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Botswana
  • Region 8: China, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Japan
  • Region 9: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar
  • Region 10: Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand.

These regional coaches are not a power structure nor a decision maker, they are there to listen to the communities and establish a 2-way communication to:

  • Develop a clear view of local communities status, problems, needs.
  • Help local communities surface any issues or concerns.
  • Provide guidance/coaching on Mozilla’s goals to local communities.
  • Run regular check-ins with communities and volunteers in the region.
  • Coordinate with the rest of regional coaches on a common protocol, best practices.
  • Be a bridge between communities in the same region.

We want communities to be better integrated with the rest of the org, not just to be aligned with the current organizational needs but also to allow them to be more involved in shaping the strategy and vision for Mozilla and work together with staff as a team, as One Mozilla.

I would like to ask all mozillians to support our Regional Coaches, helping them to meet communities and work with them. This project is key for bringing support to everyone, amplifying the strategy, vision and work that we have been doing from the Reps program and the Participation team.

Current status


We have on-boarded 18 regional coaches to bring support to 87 countries (wow!) around the world. Currently they have started to contact local communities and hold video meetings with all of them.

What have we learned so far?

Mozilla communities are very diverse, and their structure and activity status is very different. Also, there is a need for alignment with the current projects and focus activities around Mozilla and work to encourage mozillians to get involved in shaping the future.

In region 1, there are no big formal communities and mozillians are working as individuals or city-level groups. The challenge here is to get everyone together.

In region 2 there are a lot of communities, some of them currently re-inventing themselves to align better with focus initiatives. There is a huge potential here.

Region 3 is where the oldest communities started, and there is big difference between the old and the emerging ones. The challenge is to get the old ones to the same level of diverse activity and alignment as the new ones.

In region 4 the challenge is to re-activate or start communities in small countries.

Region 5 has been active for a long time, focused mainly in localization. How to align with new emerging focus areas is the main challenge here.

Region 6 and 7 are also very diverse, huge potential, a lot of energy. Getting mozillians supercharged again after Firefox OS era is the big challenge.

Region 8 has some big and active communities (like Bangladesh and Taiwan) and a lot of individuals working as small groups in other countries. The challenge is to bring alignment and get the groups together.

In region 9 the challenge is to bring the huge activity and re-organization Indian communities are doing to nearby countries. Specially the ones who are not fully aligned with the new environment Mozilla is in today.

Region 10 has a couple of big active communities. The challenge is how to expand this to other countries where Mozilla has never had community presence or communities are no longer active.

Comments, feedback? We want to hear from you on Mozilla’s discourse forum.

Mozilla Participation TeamOne Mozilla Clubs


In 2015, The Mozilla Foundation launched the Mozilla Clubs program to bring people together locally to teach, protect and build the open web in an engaging and collaborative way. Within a year it grew to include 240+ Clubs in 100+ cities globally, and now is growing to reach new communities around the world.

Today we are excited to share a new focus for Mozilla Clubs taking place on a University or College Campus (Campus Clubs). Mozilla Campus Clubs blend the passion and student focus of the former Firefox Student Ambassador program and Take Back The Web Campaign with the existing structure of  Mozilla Clubs to create a unified model for participation on campuses!

Mozilla Campus Clubs take advantage of the unique learning environments of Universities and Colleges to bring groups of students together to teach, build and protect the open web. It builds upon the Mozilla Club framework to provide targeted support to those on campus through its:

  1. Structure:  Campus Clubs include an Executive Team in addition to the Club Captain position, who help develop programs and run activities specific to the 3 impact areas (teach, build, protect).
  2. Training & Support: Like all Mozilla Clubs, Regional Coordinators and Club Captains receive training and mentorship throughout their clubs journey. However the nature of the training and support for Campus Clubs is specific to helping students navigate the challenges of setting up and running a club in the campus context.
  3. Activities: Campus Club activities are structured around 3 impact areas (teach, build, protect). Club Captains in a University or College can find suggested activities (some specific to students) on the website here.

These clubs will be connected to the larger Mozilla Club network to share resources, curriculum, mentorship and support with others around the world. In 2017 you’ll see additional unification in terms of a joint application process for all Regional Coordinators and a unified web presence.

This is an exciting time for us to unite our network of passionate contributors and create new opportunities for collaboration, learning, and growth within our Mozillian communities. We also see the potential of this unification to allow for greater impact across Mozilla’s global programs, projects and initiatives.

If you’re currently involved in Mozilla Clubs and/or the FSA program, here are some important things to know:

  • The Firefox Student Ambassador Program is now Mozilla Campus Clubs: After many months of hard work and careful planning the Firefox Ambassador Program (FSA) has officially transitioned to Mozilla Clubs as of Monday September 19th, 2016. For full details about the Firefox Student Ambassador transition check out this guide here.
  • Firefox Club Captains will now be Mozilla Club Captains: Firefox Club Captains who already have a club, a structure, and a community set up on a university/college should register your club here to be partnered with a Regional Coordinator and have access to new resources and opportunities, more details are here.
  • Current Mozilla Clubs will stay the same: Any Mozilla Club that already exists will stay the same. If they happen to be on a university or college campus Clubs may choose to register as a Campus Club, but are not required to do so.
  • There is a new application for Regional Coordinators (RC’s): Anyone interested in taking on more responsibility within the Clubs program can apply here.  Regional Coordinators mentor Club Captains that are geographically close to them. Regional Coordinators support all Club Captains in their region whether they are on campus or elsewhere.
  • University or College students who want to start a Club at their University and College may apply here. Students who primarily want to lead a club on a campus for/with other university/college students will apply to start a Campus Club.
  • People who want to start a club for any type of learner apply here. Anyone who wants to start a club that is open to all kinds of learners (not limited to specifically University students) may apply to start a Club here.

Individuals who are leading Mozilla Clubs commit to running regular (at least monthly) gatherings, participate in community calls, and contribute resources and learning materials to the community. They are part of a network of leaders and doers who support and challenge each other. By increasing knowledge and skills in local communities Club leaders ensure that the internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all.

This is the beginning of a long term collaboration for the Mozilla Clubs Program. We are excited to continue to build momentum for Mozilla’s mission through new structures and supports that will help engage more people with a passion for the open web.

NukeadorInvesting in communities with a clear focus

Please check my full resume for more details about my work

At Mozilla’s Participation Team one of our main goals is to support local communities and unleash contributions that will contribute disproportionately Mozilla’s mission and goals.


Last year’s work showed that we increase our impact by focusing our energies on a limited amount of clearly defined areas. Concentrating our effort as a team has become a key strategy for bringing more value to Mozilla.

One area we’ve looked at is the “where” we have Mozilla communities. We have volunteer Mozillians spread literally all over the world — from Vancouver to Valladolid — and many have organized themselves into geographically-based communities that our team supports (expect a future blog post on what we see as the value of organizing geographically). We know that the dynamics, opportunities and challenges of each of these communities is a bit different, and the more time we spend with any particular community the better we understand this uniqueness, leading to higher quality support and guidance.

At the same time, our staff time is limited, and so we can only “go deep” with a limited number of geographically-based communities at any given time. (This brings up another point of finding a leveraged model for staff effort, which is what is being tested now with the Reps Leadership efforts)

The question then became where to go deep? Since Mozilla doesn’t presently have a regional strategy overall, we did a basic analysis as Participation Team using the following factors:

  • Web users and overall population.
  • Growth in web users.
  • How much the area influences markets/policies in other countries/areas — this could be regionally or globally.
  • Where Mozilla can win (because of Firefox penetration, market sentiment, or cultural alignment with our values).
  • Momentum and strength of existing community.

Looking at this, we decided to focus the Participation Team’s efforts on the following 10 countries that align with our analysis and the capacity we think we have as a team to “go deep” right now:

  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia

What does this mean for a focus country practically? Here is what is guiding our goals:

  • We will hold ourselves accountable for results/impact (customized to each country).
  • Go deep on staff support.
  • Initiate and deeply support regional gatherings and campaigns that will accelerate the development of these communities and the mobilizers/leaders in each one.

Of course, we recognize focus has a cost and that for the many Mozillians and communities not in these focus countries it can seem unfair and arbitrary — we’re definitely empathetic to that. Let me be clear that the Reps and regional staff team will keep supporting communities outside these focus countries, just not as deeply or proactively as compared with the 10 focus countries.

As always, we expect our work and strategies to evolve over time and with input from many Mozillians. So please send along your questions or feedback.

Participation team discourse is open for you !


NukeadorMoving forward with Mozilla Participation Leaders

Please check my full resume for more details about my work

Core mozillians are more important than ever for Mozilla to succeed in 2016, Participation team keeps working to provide leadership opportunities and guidance on impactful initiatives. We are centralizing communications in this discourse category.


Leadership cohort in Singapore – Photo by Christos Bacharakis (by-nc-sa)

This a post originally published on Mozilla Discourse, please add you comments there.

During last months, the Participation team together with a big group of core mozillians organized and delivered a set of initiatives and gatherings to support Mozilla’s mission and goals.

Mozfest, Orlando All Hands, Leadership Summit and London All Hands were some of the key events where we worked together, grow as contributors and evolve our leadership and mobilization path inside the community.

Currently we are working on a set of initiatives to keep this work going:

  • RepsNext: The Reps program is evolving to become a volunteer participation platform, really focused on leadership and community mobilization. Be more inclusive to welcome any core mozillian interested in this growth path is going to be a key focus.
  • We are developing a leadership toolkit to be able to provide concrete resources to improve mozillians skills that are going to be important for supporting Mozilla in the next years.
  • In order to deliver these skills, we are creating a coaching team with the help of new Reps mentors so we can train mozillians to deliver this knowledge to other volunteers and their local communities.
  • Refreshing the participation buffet, in order to provide clear guidance on the focus initiatives that are more relevant to support Mozilla this year and how to get involved. This will be also provided through coaching.
  • Systematize community gatherings strategy in order to provide skills and action-focused guidance to regional and functional communities around the world, as well as adapting our strategy taking in consideration local needs and ideas.

What’s next?

Beginning in July we are going to start seeing some of the previous ideas being implemented and communicated, and we want core mozillians to be part of it. A lot of mozillians have demonstrated great leadership inside Mozilla and there is no way Mozilla can succeed without their help, ideas and support, and we are inviting them to join the group. We are centralizing communications in this discourse category.

Keep it rocking the free web!


George RoterRefreshing the Participation Buffet

Have an impact on Mozilla’s mission.

The answer has been consistent every time we’ve asked volunteer Mozillians what their primary motivation is for contributing to Mozilla. 3 years ago, last year, this month, “have an impact on Mozilla’s mission” is always the number one answer.

What we’ve also heard over the past few months is that lacking clarity on the best areas to have an impact is one of the main things limiting contribution. When I look at this objectively, I completely understand. Mozilla is a huge and complex project, with multiple products, projects and activities, and we’re right now in a constant state of change as Mitchell recently articulated nicely. To exacerbate the situation, we haven’t been very good at clearly communicating where Mozilla is heading.

Our much needed effort to reinvent participation at Mozilla has added yet more ambiguity to the mix. As a Participation Team, we’ve made some progress on bringing more clarity, and have laid out a broad strategy for 2016. But this isn’t enough. We need to do better.

We need to help Mozillians know where they can apply their skills, time and passions to have an impact on Mozilla’s mission.

My teammate Rosana Ardila had a great analogy that I’ll borrow: We once had a delicious, well laid out food buffet of contribution and impact areas at Mozilla. But that food has been sitting out for quite a while. Some of it is stale. Some of the dishes aren’t even on the menu anymore. We’ve moved around the serving stations so that some are sitting in a dark corner that nobody can find. Some of the food is still really tasty and just needs a flame lit underneath it … okay, I’ll stop killing the analogy!

Over the next couple of months we’re going to refresh this participation buffet.

We’re going to do this by both designing and rolling out some new, high impact and well designed contribution areas and campaigns, in partnership with teams around Mozilla. And we’re also going to curate and highlight fantastic contribution opportunities driven primarily by other teams.

We need all Mozillians (employees and volunteers) to help with this, by helping to build, highlight and lead great areas of participation. Please get in touch with your thoughts and ideas (

Our filters for what makes it into the buffet are simple and what we have come to understand will represent outstanding participation at Mozilla.

First, we will focus on participation areas that:

  1. Help Mozilla innovate, driving the leading edge of our work and thinking.
  2. Extend Mozilla’s reach, by bringing Mozilla products, ideas and issues to more people, and connecting more people with Mozilla.

Second, we will highlight contribution opportunities that have a well designed participant experience, and that have thought-through methods for bringing value to both Mozilla’s mission and to Mozillians. To be clear, these opportunities won’t each be applicable to everyone; most will require a specific set of interests or backgrounds. We do want to make sure that the full buffet will provide opportunities for a diverse range of participants and plenty of opportunities for people to build new skills.

Third, we know that we don’t have the next phase of Mozilla figured out — far from it! So activities that help us learn about the future of participation at Mozilla are a priority. And by definition, that will mean trying things out that may not work.

How about a sneak preview? What can you get involved with RIGHT NOW!?

You’ll be able to find great opportunities highlighted here –

There’s a couple ready right now, and many more that we’ll highlight soon on Discourse and the Wiki page above.

Helping Mozilla innovate:

  • Dino Tank London – We want you to pitch problems that are worth solving at Mozilla! This opportunity closes on May 27th, but will be refreshed again in June/July.

Coming soon…

Extending Mozilla’s reach:

  • Open Comms: Making Encryption Mainstream – submit ideas on how to educate people around the world or in your community about the importance of encryption. This closes on June 3rd, but Open Comms will have many more opportunities coming soon.

Coming soon…

  • Next phase of the Take Back the Web campaign
  • MakerParty
  • Growing the Firefox Nightly community
  • Something exciting on engaging developers

Final ask

Please do let me know what you think of the above. Does it resonate? Do you have areas you’d suggest we highlight or build for? What else might be missing from our approach?

Head over to this conversation on Discourse to share your thoughts and ideas.

Mozilla Participation TeamA New Firefox Development Forum

We’ve been looking for the right home for Firefox browser development Q&A for a while now. It’s taken longer than it should have, but after a lot of discussion and experimentation with different tools and forums, we’ve finally come to a conclusion.

In retrospect the decision was obvious; hindsight is like that. But here it is; if we want everyone in the community to be a part of making Firefox great, then we should be where the community is: part of the Mozilla Community Discourse forum.

Things are a bit thin on the ground there now; I’ll be migrating over some questions and answers from other forums to stock that pond shortly. In the meantime if you’re new to Discourse it’s a very civilized piece of forum software. You can keep track of discussions happening there by logging in and taking a look in the upper right-hand corner, where you’ll see “Watching”, “Tracking”, “Normal” and “Muted”. Set that to “Watching”, and you’ll get a notification when a new topic comes up for discussion. Set it to “Tracking”, and you’ll also get a note when you’re called out by name. You can also watch or track individual threads, which is a nice touch.

Alternatively, if you’re a fan of syndicated feeds you can grab an Atom feed as follows:

I hope you’ll join us in helping build Firefox into everything it can be, the best browser in the world and the cornerstone of a free, open and participatory Web. And as always, if you’ve got questions about that, please email me directly.

Thank you,

– mhoye

George RoterReinventing Mozilla on campus

Throughout history, University students, staff and professors have often shaped the leading edge of change and innovation. The history of the web is no different: the student-built Lynx browser was one of the first and Mosaic (Firefox’s distant ancestor!), pioneered by students and staff, opened the graphical web to millions.

I saw the impact that students and professors can make through my own experience at Engineers Without Borders Canada. Engineering students and professors on campuses across Canada and in Africa built remarkable ventures, reshaped curriculum, changed on-campus and government policy, and taught hundreds of thousands of young people about global development.

I fully believe in the potential of students, staff and professors on campuses around the world to have massive impact on Mozilla’s mission. As innovators, contributors and open web advocates. Engineers, scientists, lawyers, social scientists, economists and designers.

From what I know about my past experience and have heard in the past year working for Mozilla, our mission resonates tremendously with students and professors. The range of impact and involvement is considerable. Until now, we’ve only just scraped the surface of this potential.

We need to reinvent Mozilla on campus.

Our existing engagement on University campuses around the world is an assortment of largely disconnected programs and people. Firefox Student Ambassadors and Firefox Clubs. Mozilla Clubs. Code contribution by individual contributors. Maker Party. Mozilla Science Lab. Various professor and lab partnerships. Employee recruitment. Many of these are successful in their own right; there’s an opportunity learn from each of them, find connections, and imagine opportunity to scale their impact with a more coordinated approach.


Photo credit: Tanha Islam and Trisa Islam [1]

The largest of these by student involvement, Firefox Student Ambassadors (FSAs) and Firefox Clubs, has been constrained by limited and variable employee support and a focus on marketing. Our student leaders have already been “hacking” this program to introduce advocacy, code contribution, support, localization, teaching and many other activities; official support for this has lagged.

Our team came into this year with a key hypothesis as part of our strategy: That we can supercharge participation with a reinvented campus program.

The Take Back the Web campus campaign focused on privacy and security has been our first effort to test this hypothesis. Already it’s showing great promise, with over 600 campus teams signed up (including hundreds of FSAs) to have impact in 3 areas. We’re focused on learning as much as we can from this campaign.

The campus campaign is a step toward reinvention. But I think it’s now time to take a step back to ask: What impact can we imagine with a coordinated effort on campuses around the world? What do students, staff and professors want and need to be involved with Mozilla’s mission? How might we evolve our existing programs? What programs and structures would we design, and how do they relate to one another? How can we invite people on campus to innovate with Mozilla?

These are the broad questions that will guide a process over the next 9 weeks. By July 15th we aim to have a clear articulation of the impact we can have, the programs we’ll invest in and how they relate to one another, and the opportunities for students, staff and professors to participate.

We’re hoping that this process of reinventing Mozilla on campus will be participatory, and we’re inviting many voices to contribute. Lucy Harris on the Participation Team will be stewarding this process and shaping the final options. Mark Surman, Mitchell Baker, Chris Lawrence, Katharina Borchert and I will be involved in making a final decision on the direction we take.

You can read more about the details of the process in this post, but let me summarize it and the opportunities you have to be involved:

Phase 1: Listening (May 16-27)

→ provide thoughts on existing programs and opportunities you see

Phase 2: Synthesis and options (May 27-June 10)

→ we’ll frame some tensions for you to weigh in on

→ we’ll shape a set of options for conversation during the London All Hands

Phase 3: Final input (June 10-24)

→ we’ll articulate a set of options for you to consider as we move forward, and will be diving deep into these and key questions during the Mozilla All Hands in London

Phase 4: Final Decision and Disseminate (June 24-July 15)

→ we’ll take all the input and decide on a direction for moving forward


Let me finish by reiterating the opportunity. University campuses are a hotbed of innovation and a locus for creating change. Mozilla can tap into this energy and catalyze involvement in unleashing the next wave of openness and opportunity in online life. Finally, our team is excited about helping to shape a direction we can take, and investing in a robust program of participation moving forward.

I’m excited for this journey of reinventing Mozilla on campus.


[1] Photo credit: Tanha Islam and Trisa Islam

NukeadorLessons from Participation, Reps and Regional in 2015

Please check my full resume for more details about my work

Participation Team

Participation Team photo – I look serious in the pic but I’m smiling inside 😀

2015 has been an AMAZING year, both for me personally and for participation at Mozilla.

We started the year as a new team, the Participation team, trying to figure out ways to make volunteer participation a core value at mozilla and making it more impacful. Luckily for us we were able to get the team aligned and running together with a clear mandate (thanks to George for his leadership) and vision for 2016 and beyond.

Investing in our core volunteers and communities and focusing on a small set of initiatives has been proven very effective and a great way to support Mozilla’s goals and mission. These are some of the stuff I’ve been involved and I feel most proud of:

Regional support for mid-term planning

We invested in ten focus communities to help them figure out ways to grow and be healthier. I’ve been working with German, UK and France communities in this front and I’m super proud of all of them.

  • German community managed to implement a mid-term plan for 2016 and coordinate a core team to mobilize all initiatives. Special thanks to Michael Kohler for coordinating the local mobilizing efforts.
  • UK community made their first steps to consolidate as a community and met for the first time online to start thinking about plans and goals. Tom Farrow was essential for this and helped from the local community side, thanks!
  • France community took also the first steps to be more organized and effective in 2016 and Flore is working with others to make this happen. Merci!

In addition, Guillermo and I drafted the first version of the Community Playbook, a document describing some tips and tricks on how to set up and organize a local mozilla community based on past experiences from different successful communities. Thanks everyone who provided feedback, we are still improving it!

For the rest of the seven focus communities, Guillermo Movia and Rosana Ardila have been doing similar efforts in America and Asia 😀

Coaching core volunteers

Our theory is that investing in core individuals by providing coaching will result in better alignment and impact from volunteers and communities. That’s why we started doing monthly 1:1 meetings with core contributors in focus communities to know more about them and help shape their mozillian path and involvement in the community.

This has been a great challenge from me since it has involved a lot of learning on coaching techniques and research together with Rosana, Guillermo and the special support of George and Emma. Also, this has been a very rewarding experience by seeing how valuable was for people to keep these regular coaching sessions with them.

Also we expanded these coaching sessions to Global Gathering attendees, reaching and talking to all Mozfest, Orlando All Hands and Leadership summit participants. I feel this has helped a lot to provide information and alignment to people before attending these events. I would like to thank Emma for her coordination role here and Guillermo, Rosana, Faye and others that were (and still are) involved as coachers.

Evolution of the Reps program

During 2015 we have been gathering a lot of feedback on how the Reps program could reach to the next level. The first step was done during the Council Meetup in February and thanks to the great work of both Council and Peers we have been able to get to an evolution proposal we’ll be implementing together with mentors and Reps during the next months.

This is an important moment for the program and I’m proud of how we have managed to identify the needs and align them to better support Mozilla in 2016, including working closer, aligned and as part of the Participation team. The main lessons were:

  • Moving away from an event focus.
  • Growing Our Alumni Program.
  • Accountability and Visibility.
  • A Focus on Planning.

I would like to stress the great work volunteer Council members have been doing during 2015, from the Council Meetup, to Whistler and Orlando: Thanks Emma, Arturo, Raj, San James, Ankit, Bob, Luis, Christos, Michael and Shahid.

If you would like more details, Rosana wrote a great summary of all the challenges and lessons of the Reps program during 2015.

Firefox OS Participation support

Another important initiative has been the Firefox OS Participation program that William Quiviger, Brian King and the Firefox OS team have been developing and that is going to be the foundations of the new Connected Devices strategy. I helped them with communications and volunteer mobilization, as well as setting and organizing the Discourse category for the group.

This has been an interesting experience to probe participation can be a strategic advantage for a platform like Firefox OS and its future in the Internet of Things world.

All these things have be just the foundations for 2016, we still have a lot of work ahead and we are supercharged to make Participation even more relevant at Mozilla this year.

Keep it rocking the free web! 😉

Brian KingFirefox OS Participation in 2015


Though a great deal was achieved and accomplished through the Participation Team’s collaboration with Firefox OS, a major realization was that participation can only be as successful as a team’s readiness to incorporate participation into their workflow.

Problem Statement

Firefox OS was not as open a project as many others at Mozilla, and in terms of engineering was not structured well enough to scale participation. Firefox OS was identified as an area where Participation could make a major impact and a small group from the Participation Team was directed to work closely with them to achieve their goals. After the Firefox OS focus shift in 2015 from being partner driven development to user and developer driven, participation was identified as key to success.

The Approach

The Participation Team did an audit of the current state of participation. We interviewed cross-functional team members and did research into current contributions. Without any reliable data, our best guess was that there were less than 200 contributors, with technical contributions being much less than that. Launch teams around the world had contributed in non-technical capacities since 2013, and a new community was growing in Africa around the launch of the Klif device.

Based on a number of contribution areas (coding, ports, foxfooding, …), we created a matrix where we applied different weighted criteria. Criteria such as impact on organizational goals, for example, were given a greater weighting. Our intent was to create a “participation sweet spot” where we could narrow in on the areas of participation that could provide the most value to volunteers and the organization.

Participation Criteria<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1944" class="wp-caption-text">Participation Criteria</figcaption>

The result was to focus on five areas for technical contributions to Firefox OS:

  • Foxfooding
  • Porting
  • Gaia Development
  • Add-ons
  • B2GDroid

In parallel, we built out the Firefox OS Participation team, a cross-functional team from engineering, project management, marketing, research and more areas. We had a cadence of weekly meetings, and communicated also on IRC and on an email list. A crucial meeting was a planning meeting in Paris in September, 2015, where we finalized details of the plan to start executing on.

Team Meeting<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1945" class="wp-caption-text">Team Meeting</figcaption>

The Firefox OS Participation Hub

As planning progressed, it became clear that a focal point for all activities would be the Firefox OS Participation Hub, a website for technical contributors to gather. The purpose was two-fold:

  1. To showcase and track technical contributions to Firefox OS. We would list ways to get involved, in multiple areas, but focusing on the “sweet spot” areas we had identified. The idea was not to duplicate existing content, but to gather it all in one place.
  2. To facilitate foxfooding, a place where users could go to get builds for their device and register their device. The more people using and testing Firefox OS, the better the product could become.
Firefox OS Participation Hub<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1946" class="wp-caption-text">Firefox OS Participation Hub</figcaption>

The Hub came to life in early November.


There were a number of challenges that we faced along the way.

  • Participation requires a large cultural shift, and cannot happen overnight. Mozilla is an open and open source organization, but because of market pressures and other factors Firefox OS was not a participatory project.
  • One learning was that we should have embedded the program deeper in the Firefox OS organization earlier, doing more awareness building. This would have mitigated an issue where beyond the core Firefox OS Participation team, it was hard getting the attention of other Firefox OS team members.
  • Timing is always hard to get right, because there will always be individual and team priorities and deliverables not directly related that will take precedence. During the program rollout, we were made acutely aware of this coming up the release of Firefox OS 2.5.

For participation to really take hold and succeed, broader organizational and structural changes are needed. Making participation part of deliverables will go some way to achieving this.


Despite the challenges mentioned above, the Firefox OS Participation team managed to accomplish a great deal in less than six months:

  • we brought all key participation stakeholders on the Firefox OS team together and drafted a unified vision and strategy for participation
  • we launched the Firefox OS Participation Hub, the first of its kind to learn about contribution opportunities and download latest Firefox OS builds
  • we formed a “Porting Working Group” focused on porting Firefox OS to key devices identified, and enabling volunteers to port to more devices
  • we distributed more than 500 foxfooding devices in more than 40 countries
  • the “Mika Project” explored a new to engage with, recognize and retain foxfooders through gamification – The “Save Mika!” challenge will be rolling out 2016Q1

Moving Forward

Indeed, participation will be a major focus for Connected Devices in 2016. Participation can and will have a big impact on helping teams solve problems, do work in areas they need help with and achieve new levels of success. To be sure, before a major participation initiative can be successful, the team needs to be set-up for success 4 major components:

  1. Managerial buy-in. “It’s important to have permission to have participation in your work”. Going one step further, it needs to be part of day-to-day deliverables.
  2. Are there tools open? Do you have a process for bug triaging and mentorship? Is there good and easily discoverable documentation?
  3. Do they have an onboarding system in place for new team members (staff and volunteers)?
  4. Measurement. How can we systematically and reliably measure contributions, over time, to detect trends to act upon to maintain a healthy project? Some measurements are in place, but we need more.

We put Participation on the map for Firefox OS and as announced at Mozlando, the Connected Devices team will be doubling down its efforts to design for participation and work in the open.

We are excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead of us, and we can’t wait to provide regular updates on our progress with everyone. So as we enter the new year, please make sure to follow us on Discourse, Twitter, and Facebook for latest news and updates.

2016, here we come!

Brian KingFoxfooding Preview

The Participation team, along with a number of stakeholders throughout Mozilla, have been working hard on a program to ignite Firefox OS as a from-the-ground-up project to continue momentum building a first-class mobile platform. In 2015 as we are building out the next phase of Firefox OS, it is a crucial time and we want you to be there to shape the future.

We are really excited to let you know that next week we will be launching a renewed program to support Firefox OS Participation, and we want to give you a sneak peek of what’s coming.

As a way to unify all participation opportunities we will be launching the Firefox OS Participation Hub as a central site where you can discover how to get involved with Firefox OS and install the latest version on your device. The central contribution areas that the hub will be showcasing are Foxfooding (our take on dogfooding), ports to Android and other devices, b2gDroid, Gaia development, and Firefox OS add-ons. The goal is not to displace other sources of information, but to make it more accessible from a central location.

Firefox OS Participation Hub Preview<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1935" class="wp-caption-text">Firefox OS Participation Hub Preview</figcaption>

If you have a compatible device (they will be listed on the Hub), we want you to be able to experience, test and hack the latest version of Firefox OS (2.5) along with all the new features that are coming. Just by becoming a Foxfooder, you are helping shape the future of Firefox OS, and deeper opportunities will surface –  from filing bugs, to joining discussions, to developing for the platform and on top of it. Community participation is key in this new phase.

In preparation for launch, get your Flame devices ready. If you don’t have one, there will be a limited number of new Foxfooding devices that you can apply for if you commit to being a regular user. We’ll also be showcasing exciting ports for some existing Android devices on the market. We have opened a new discourse category that will be the central place for discussions about this program, if you are interested we recommend you to log in with your Mozillian account and select “Watching” from the top right blue bubble so you can get email notifications about everything that is happening there.

This truly has been a team effort. We pulled in members from engineering, developer relations, engagement, legal, research, metrics, and other teams who are fully invested in the open evolution of Firefox OS. Join us and you can play an important role in it’s success.

Join the discussion.

NukeadorParticipation, next steps

Please check my full resume for more details about my work

Participation Team, by Nikos Roussos (cc-by-sa)

Participation Team, by Nikos Roussos (cc-by-sa)

Following up from my previous post, I’m happy to say that during the last quarter we did (and accomplished) an amazing job as Participation team in Mozilla. We were working as a team with a clear long-run mandate for the first time, and I think that was the key to have everyone motivated.

This quarter I’ll be focusing on similar topics, some are follow-ups from previous quarter while others are new and challenging:

  • Continue with volunteer coaching. Keep having 1:1s with key volunteers in different communities and helping them to draw their path as contributors, bringing and getting value from their work.
  • Support German community to move forward with their plans and integrate new efforts we are driving on the ground around November campaign with the existing volunteers.
  • Keep working on Mozilla Reps program and facilitate changes to adapt the program to the current environment as well as design opportunities to contribute with impactful activities.
  • Experiment around tools and processes to improve how communities work and visualize their activities.

This is an exciting moment for participation at Mozilla and I’m sure this will mark a key advantage for the organization in 2016 that will allow Mozilla reach new frontiers.

Other team members posts:

George RoterParticipation Team: Getting organized and focused

The Participation Team was created back in January of this year with an ambitious mandate to simultaneously a) get more impact, for Mozilla’s mission and its volunteers, from core contributor participation methods we’re using today, and b) to find and develop new ways that participation can work at Mozilla.

This mandate stands on the shoulders of people and teams who lead this work around Mozilla in the past, including the Community Building Team. As a contrast with these past approaches, our team concentrates staff from around Mozilla, has a dedicated budget, and has the strong support of leadership, reporting to Mitchell Baker (the Executive Chair) and Mark Surman (CEO of the foundation).

For the first half of the year, our approach was to work with and learn from many different teams throughout Mozilla. From Dhaka to Dakar — and everywhere in between — we supported teams and volunteers around the world to increase their effectiveness. From MarketPulse to the Webmaker App launches we worked with different teams within Mozilla to test new approaches to building participation, including testing out what community education could look like. Over this time we talked with/interviewed over 150 staff around Mozilla, generated 40+ tangible participation ideas we’d want to test, and provided “design for participation” consulting sessions with 20+ teams during the Whistler all-hands.

Toward the end of July, we took stock of where we were. We established a set of themes for the rest of 2015 (and maybe beyond), are focused especially on enabling Mozilla’s Core Contributors, and I put in place a new team structure.


  • Focus  – We will partner with a small number of functional teams and work disproportionately with a small number of communities. We will commit to these teams and communities for longer and go deeper.
  • Learning – We’re continuing the work of the Participation Lab, having both focused experiments and paying attention to the new approaches to participation being tested by staff and volunteer Mozillians all around the organization. The emphasis will be on synthesizing lessons about high impact participation, and helping those lessons be applied throughout Mozilla.
  • Open and Effective – We’re investing in improving how we work as a team and our individual skills. A big part of this is building on the agile “heartbeat” method innovated by the foundation, powered by GitHub. Another part of this is solidifying our participation technology group and starting to play a role of aligning similar participation technologies around Mozilla.

You can see these themes reflected in our Q3 Objectives and Key Results.

Team structure:

The Participation Team is focused on activating, growing and increasing the effectiveness of our community of core contributors. Our modified team structure has 5 areas/groups, each with a Lead and a bottom-line accountability. You’ll note that all of these team members are staff — our aim in the coming months is to integrate core contributors into this structure, including existing leadership structures like the ReMo Council.

Participation Partners Global-Local Organizing Developing Leaders Participation Technology Performance and Learning

William Quiviger

Brian King


Rosana Ardila

Ruben Martin

Guillermo Movia

Konstantina Papadea

Francisco Picolini


George Roter (acting)

Emma Irwin


Pierros Papadeas

Nemo Giannelos

Tasos Katsoulas

Nikos Roussos


Lucy Harris

Bottom Line:

Catalyze participation with product and functional teams to deliver and sustain impact

Bottom Line:

Grow the capacity of Mozilla’s communities to engage volunteers and have impact
(includes Reps and Regional Communities)

Bottom Line:

Grow the capacity of Mozilla’s volunteer leaders and volunteers to have impact

Bottom Line:

Enable large scale, high impact participation at Mozilla through technology

Bottom Line:

Develop a high performing team, and drive learning and synthesize best practice through the Participation Lab

We have also established a Leadership and Strategy group accountable for:

  • Making decisions on team objectives, priorities and resourcing
  • Nurturing a culture of high performance through standard setting and role modelling

This is made up of Rosana Ardila, Lucy Harris, Brian King, Pierros Papadeas, William Quiviger and myself.


As always, I’m excited to hear your feedback on any of this — it is most certainly a work in progress. We also need your help:

  • If you’re a staff/functional team or volunteer team trying something new with participation, please get in touch!
  • If you’re a core contributor/volunteer, take a look at these volunteer tasks.
  • If you have ideas on what the team’s priorities should be over the coming quarter(s), please send me an email — .

As always, feel free to reach out to any member of the team; find us on IRC at #participation; follow along with what we’re doing on the Blog and by following [@MozParticipate on Twitter](; have a conversation on Discourse; or follow/jump into any issues on GitHub.

George RoterWhy Mozilla (for me)?

It’s official. I’m here at Mozilla for the indefinite future with a title of Head of Core Contributors, Participation. Basically, I’m responsible for enabling a team of volunteers and staff to grow the size and impact of our community of most-committed volunteer Mozillians.

As I considered this role, I asked myself: Why Mozilla? Of all of the places in the world that I can apply my energy and talents, why here? I wanted to share my answer (as of today):

The past 150 years has brought the greatest advances in freedom and opportunity in human history.

It has also brought (a) existential, complex global and local challenges, and (b) a centralizing of power. Centralized power cannot solve, and is often the cause of, these existential challenges.

The web is the single greatest (and maybe only) chance humanity has to address these challenges, because it can decentralize power and unleash the human ingenuity of millions of people.

But the web itself is being centralized and made less open. From locked-down content, to ring-fenced platforms, to the advertising/ economics of the web, to technology stacks. The largest and most powerful organizations and governments in the world are eroding the openness of the web.

Mozilla is probably the world’s best chance to reverse this trend. We are the only organization in the world that is championing a vision of openness on the web, has the scale to achieve it, and as a mission-driven, not-for-profit doesn’t have its purpose corrupted by shareholders and profit motives.

At the same time, this is such a wildly ambitious organizational vision that only a movement of talented people working together — volunteer Mozillians and our allies — has a chance to see this vision become a reality.

What’s truly energizing about my role is that the Mozilla brand, user-base, financial resources and mythology is a platform to build a participation function that can scale to directly enabling millions to take actions aligned with their own passions and beliefs. This can be at the leading edge of what anyone has done before in organizing people globally and locally. And when we are successful, the web will be the platform we need to address humanity’s most pressing challenges.

Finally, to quote a great Canadian Marshall McLuhan, “the medium is the message”. The pattern of working that Mozilla is pioneering is transformative (or will be with the organizational changes that have been articulated in the vision of radical participation) — open, self-organizing and adaptive, creativity from the edges, distributed leadership and voice, each and every Mozillian accountable to each other and for the whole.

At a meta level, these are key to the broader global social justice changes I believe in. This pattern, and its impact on the millions of deep relationships we can build through participation, may be another of Mozilla’s enduring legacy and impact.

NukeadorBringing better support to regional communities

Please check my full resume for more details about my work

During this third quarter, one of the main goals for the Participation team at Mozilla is to better support Reps and Regional communities.

We want to focus our efforts this quarter in 10 countries to be more efficient with the resources we have and be able to:

  • Tailor country profiles and a community health dashboard.
  • Develop a mid-term plan with at least three communities.
  • Systematize a coaching framework with volunteers.

As part of the Reps/Regional group I’m currently involved in these efforts, focusing in three European countries: Germany, France and UK.

During the past and following weeks I’ll be meeting volunteers from these communities to know more about them and to figure out where to get some information that would help to develop the country profiles and the community dashboard, an important initiative to have a clear overview about our community status.

Also, I’m working with the awesome German community to meet and work together in a plan to align and improve the community in the next 6 months.

On top of all the previous things, we are starting a set of 1:1 meetings with key volunteers inside these communities to bring coaching and support in a more personal way, understanding everyone’s views and learning the best ways to help people’s skills and motivation.

Finally, I’m working to improve the Reps/Regional team accountability and work-flow productivity exploring better ways to manage our work as a team and working with the Reps Council to put together a Rep program profile doc to understand better the current status and what should be changed/improved.

You can know more about the Participation team Q3 goals and key results, as well as individual team members goals, in this public document and follow our daily work in our github page.

NukeadorBringing participation back to Mozilla

Please check my full resume for more details about my work

A few weeks ago, the first coincidental Mozilla Work Week of 2015 took place in Whistler (BC, Canada) and as part of the Participation Team I was working to show the rest of the organization why participation is important and brings a key strategic advantage to Mozilla.


Not only we were working on the team priorities for next months but also we worked together with most Mozilla functional teams to help them solve problems around participation. Check out the team blog post about all the activities we accomplished.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Mozilla wasn’t doing participation, but we didn’t have the resources to make it a first class citizen in all functional area activities. And there, is where the new Participation team chimes in to bring this support to the whole organization.


For me Whistler was the start of something important, we sit together with a lot of people and we connected different people with similar needs that never met before, we bridged paid staff and volunteers to work better.

What now?

In the following months we’ll continue working to improve participation at Mozilla: Regional, functional and leadership are the main pillars.

Do you want to know why participation will help your team or do you want to get to the next level? Reach out to us or check out our on-going projects  😉


George RoterIntroducing the Mozilla Participation Lab

I’m excited to introduce the Mozilla Participation Lab, an initiative across Mozilla to architect a strategy and new approaches to participation.

As Mitchell articulated, people around Mozilla are deeply invested in the question: how can participation add even more value to the products and communities we build that are advancing the open web?

Across Mozilla there’s a flurry of activity aimed at answering this question and increasing participation. Mitchell framed the scope of this exploration as including three broad areas: First, strengthening the efforts of those who devote the most energy to Mozilla. Second, connecting people more closely to Mozilla’s mission and to each other. And third, thinking about organizational structure and practices that support participation.

The Mozilla Participation Lab is designed to strengthen and augment the efforts and energies that Mozillians are devoting to this exploration in the months ahead. If you count yourself as one of those Mozillians who is working on this problem, my hope is that you’ll see how the Mozilla Participation Lab can be relevant for you.

First, let’s back up for some context…

In January, Mitchell and Mark along with the Participation Team laid out a Participation Plan for Mozilla that articulated an ambitious vision for participation in 2017:

  • Many more people working on Mozilla activities in ways that make Mozilla more effective than we can imagine today.
  • An updated approach to how people around the world are helping to build, improve and promote our products and programs.
  • A steady flow of ideas and execution for programs, products, and initiatives around the world—new and diverse activities that move the mission forward in concrete ways.
  • Ways for people to participate in our mission directly through our products—there is integration of participation into the use and value proposition.
  • Ultimately: more Mozilla activities than employees can track, let alone control.

While this vision describes where Mozilla wants to be, how we’re going to get there still needs to be figured out. The how is an important and explicit goal in the participation plan for 2015: Develop a bold long-term plan for radical participation at Mozilla.

This is the goal you’ve heard Mitchell and Mark talking about, and they’ve hired me to get this work going over the next 6 months.

Initially, they talked about this goal being pursued by a task force—a group of people who could go away and “figure this out”. But as we started to build this out, a task force didn’t feel right.

Mozilla Participation Lab

What is the Mozilla Participation Lab? Concretely, the Lab will have three related sets of activities.

1) Focused experiments.

The Participation Team will initiate experiments, after consulting and coordinating with product/functional teams and volunteers, around particular hypotheses about where participation can bring value and impact in Mozilla. All of these experiments will be designed to move a top-line goal of Mozilla (the product side of the virtuous circle), and give volunteers/participants a chance to learn something, have impact or get some other benefit (the people side of the virtuous circle). If the experiments work, we’ll start to see an impact on our product goals and increased volunteer engagement.


These experiments will be built in a way that will assess whether the hypotheses are true, what’s required for participation to have impact, and what the return on investment is for our key products and programs, and for Mozillians.

For example, many in Mozilla have articulated a belief that participation can enable local content to make our products better and more relevant, and so we are working on a series of experiments in West Africa alongside the launches of the Orange Klif. If these are successful, they will have had an impact on Firefox OS adoption while building vital, sustainable communities of volunteers.

In order to identify these experiments, our team has already talked with Mozilla staff and volunteers from all over the organization, plus Mozilla’s leadership (staff and volunteers). Here’s a long list of rough ideas that came out of these conversations; we obviously need to make some choices! Our aim to is settle on and launch a first set of focused experiments over the next couple of weeks.

2) Distributed experiments.

I’ve had conversations with roughly 100 Mozillians over the past couple of months and realized that, in true Mozilla distributed style, we’re already trying out new approaches to participation all over the world. Buddy Up, TechSpeakers, Mozilla Hispano, Clubs, Marketpulse are just a few of many many examples. I’m also confident that there will be many more initiatives in the coming months.

My hope is that many of these initiatives will be part of the Participation Lab. This will be different than the focused experiments above in two ways. First, the Participation Team won’t be accountable for results; the individual initiative leaders will be. Second, they can probably be lighter-weight experiments; whereas the focused experiments are likely to be resource intensive.

How does an initiative fit? If it meets two simple criteria: (1) it is testing out a set of hypotheses about how participation can bring value and impact to our mission and to Mozillians, and (2) we can work together to apply a systematic methodology for learning and evaluation.

Of course, it’s the leaders of these initiatives who can choose to be part of the Lab—I hope you do! To be upfront, this could mean a bit of extra work, but you can also access some resources and have an influence on our participation strategy. I think it’s worthwhile:

  1. We will work together to apply a systematic learning and experimenting methodology (documented here).
  2. You can unlock support from the Participation Team. This could be in the form of strategic or design advice; specific expertise (for example, volunteer engagement, building metrics or web development); helping you gather best practices from other organizations; or small amounts of money. We do have limited staff and volunteer time, so may need to make some choices depending on the number of initiatives that are part of the Lab.
  3. Your initiative will make a significant contribution to Mozilla’s overall participation strategy moving forward.
3) Outside ideas.

We will bring together experts and capture world-leading ideas about participation from outside of Mozilla. This is a preliminary list of people we are aiming to reach out to.

Who’s involved?

In short, a broad set of Mozillians will be supported by a smaller team of staff and volunteers from the Participation Team. This team will coordinate various experiments in the Lab, curate the learning, build processes to ensure that all of this is working in the open in a way that any Mozillian can engage with, and make recommendations to Mozilla leaders and community members.

What’s the result, and by when?

The primary outputs of the Lab are:

  1. A series of participation initiatives that result in more impactful and fulfilling participation toward reaching Mozilla’s goals. (Read more below about how what you’re working on right now can fit into this.)
  2. An evidence-based analysis of the effectiveness of specific participatory activities.
  3. Recommendations on how we might expand or generalize the activities that provided the most value to Mozilla and Mozillians.
  4. A preliminary assessment of the organizational changes we might consider in order to gain an even greater strategic advantage from participation.
  5. A set of learning resources and best practices packaged in a way that teams across Mozilla will be able to use to strengthen our collective participation efforts.
  6. Possibly, a series of strategic choices and opportunities for Mozilla leaders and community members to consider.

The first set of activities will take place primarily in Q2, wrapping up by early July, at which point we will assess what’s next for the Lab.

How is this relevant for you?

You have the opportunity to participate in the Lab and in shape the way forward for participation in Mozilla. Here’s how:

1) Be part of the team. Do you want to have a big hand in shaping how Mozilla moves ahead on participation?

In the coming couple of weeks we’ll be starting some focused experiments. If these are problems you’re also excited about (or are already tackling), please get in touch. We’re certain that coders, marketers, project managers, designers, educators, facilitators, writers, evaluators, and more can make a big difference.

Also, if you’re interested being part of the learning team that is tracking and synthesizing lessons from inside and outside Mozilla, please get in touch.

2) Are you already running or planning a new participation initiative, or have an idea you’d like to get off the ground? Could you use some help from the Lab (and hopefully volunteers or other resources)? I’d love to have a conversation about whether your initiative can be part of the Participation Lab and how we can help.

3) Can you think of someone we should be talking to, a book or article to read, or a community to engage? Pass it along. Or better yet, help us to get in touch with people outside of Mozilla or summarize the key lessons for participation.

4) Follow along. We’d like many Mozillians to share their feedback and ideas. We’ll be working out in the open with a home base on this wiki page.

Please get in touch! Reply to this post or send me an email: groter <at>

Let’s together use this Lab as a way to architect an approach to participation that will have a massive positive impact on the web and on people’s lives!

George RoterUp next…Mozilla!

How could I possibly follow-up my incredible years spent with the very special Engineers Without Borders Canada? That was the central question hanging in the back of my mind, even as I promised myself ‘no pressure, take your time’ over the past 5-months traveling the world with my partner Sari and our delightful now-9-month-old daughter Aliyah.

Reflection and spending time in other organizations has helped me see just how special EWB is — there’s a greater concentration of world class people (smarts, skills and dedication) in EWB than I’ve seen anywhere else, and the organization is pushing the leading edge in a way that is courageous and necessary. What would come next professionally? What was a must have and what was a want to have?

My big realization was that I would be most fulfilled by joining another organization with a change-the-world sized mission. Another organization that cares not just about ‘what’ they are doing, but is also pioneering new models on ‘how’ we organize our companies and public benefit institutions. Another organization that builds communities and mobilizes people to unleash their potential.

I also wanted a broad set of responsibilities, but not another CEO or co-founder role right now. I wanted to be working alongside highly motivated people who I can learn from. And I wanted a sector that moves fast, that isn’t “stuck” in the ways that international development can get stuck.

Enter Mozilla!

Believe it or not, there was a role and organizational combination out there that fit like a glove! I’m really excited to be joining Mozilla.

Most people know Mozilla for our web-browser Firefox. Some people might even know that Firefox is an open-source project, with thousands of volunteer contributors alongside staff. Fewer people know that Mozilla is a mission-driven, change the world, non-profit. We are promoters and protectors of an internet that is open and free, a hotbed of innovation, a platform for economic and social development, for bettering humanity.

Practically, we build great products and technologies (some that you see like Firefox, and some that you don’t, like the standards that allow you to watch a video in your web-browser) that embed the values of Mozilla. For example, when you’re using Firefox, you’re not uploading your personal information like when you use Chrome — privacy and user agency are values we care about and are native to our products.

Beyond products, we also build educational resources and courses (for high skill and early web learners), do policy advocacy, help support people making technology for news organizations, help support people who are trying to bring open standards to science, develop tools and alliances and products to bring the web to the “bottom 2 billion”, etc. Lots and lots!

This is a cool video that explains more:

So, what am I doing here? I got to create my own title and I’ve chosen “Participation Sherpa” (clearly a descriptive title versus hierarchical one): I think I’m beginning to know what that means!

As you can glean, there’s a lot going on at Mozilla. With roughly 20,000 volunteers; another ~1+ million people participating in our education networks, developer networks, fellowships and advocacy work; and ~300 million product users, there are a lot of people involved. This interaction of people and impact is beautifully messy and has developed rather organically. But it’s creaking in places. People are not getting as much value as they could from their interactions with Mozilla, and the mission is not benefiting as much as it could from their participation.

My role is to help Mozilla evolve this participation relationship by leading the architecture of a strategy, a new team and the cultural and structural elements that supports this. It means working on strategy and operations, working with people around the organization to run experiments, helping staff and volunteers optimize the way they are working (building communities, building participation opportunities), and learning from all the activity already going on. The exciting part is that I’m reaching into and implicated in literally every part of Mozilla.

Logistically I’m based in Toronto, for now! And it’s a 6-month contract, for now!

I’m fired up and found a great first answer to “how do I follow-up my incredible years spent with the very special Engineers Without Borders Canada”!

Brian KingRegional Communities At Mozilla

Regional communities have always been cornerstones at Mozilla. From the days when they sprung up around localisation to today when they are involved in activities across the board, our local communities have impact on our products and mission. Mark Surman’s recent post outlined the formation and goals of the new Participation team. The key point is that we want to create a virtuous circle where our volunteer community has direct impact on our products, while at the same time getting value in the personal and professional lives. While radical participation is being setup for exploration, the good news is we have programs and structures that work today. The Community Development Team will be focusing in a couple of main areas. One is volunteer community leadership driven by changes in the Reps program. The other one is working with product/functional teams at Mozilla to better align with their priorities and identify projects to work on with impact. Participation infrastructure, aka community tools, is the glue that holds everything together.

For more context, please read these other posts from some of my team members.

Where Does Regional Fit?

In a very broad sense, the Regional team will focus on the health of our local communities on the ground. Our communities, whether they be country-based (e.g. Mozilla Philippines) or a broader region (e.g. Mozilla Hispano) touch all parts of the globe. They range from small to large. While many Mozillians work individually and identify as part of a functional team, many more identify as part of a regional team. They are not mutually exclusive of course.

Jump! Mozilla Philippines Group Shot<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1587" class="wp-caption-text">Jump! Mozilla Philippines Group Shot</figcaption>

Why are they important?

  • People: They enable people to connect from all walks of life behind a common mission. There is a sense of camaraderie, sharing, and fun.
  • Language: l10n teams still have a crucial role in ensuring our products are localised, our product pages are translated, and our mission and the web ecosystem is understood by as many people on the planet as possible. There is still more work to do to make everything we do open to more languages.
  • Culture: Understanding cultural norms is crucial for the organisation to adapt and apply our mission everywhere. Different cultures help shape and change Mozilla, for the better.
  • Diversity: Input and opportunities for everyone give everything we do a rich foundation. It is reflected in our products, and in the way we work.

And there are more reasons. Regional communities have sprung up organically and are structured in many different ways. Mozilla India and Mozilla Hispano have working groups. In the Philippines, a Rep leads a functional area in the community such as localization, developer relations, FSA, education and women empowerment. Many have a strong online presence, with blogs, photo streams, social channels, and more. Some have community spaces for co-working and events. Find the community near you on our listings at


The focus for 2015 and beyond will be:

  • Support our communities to be set up for success. This is of course catch-all, but worth calling out explicitly. Community Health is the foundation from which everything else follows.
  • Continue aligning communities towards product and functional impact. Today, our products such as Firefox and Firefox OS are our primary levers for carrying out our mission. They give us influence. I think in the last few years, via events such as Summits, brownbags, Mozillians email, and other channels we have done a good job of reminding people what work will make the biggest impact.
  • Support functional teams: How can Mozillians be more embedded in teams in the organisation? One way is via a number of pilots we’ll be doing throughout the year, matching volunteers to projects that will help move things forward.
  • Leadership: Not just in the sense of community leaders, but how can we empower all Mozillians to be leaders. This could mean a project leader, a functional lead, an events lead, a policy lead, a recruitment lead, and so on. Beyond Mozilla, how can we help Mozillians be leaders in other parts of their lives? The Reps program will be focusing on leadership this year and we will be working closely together.
  • Support: How can help in structuring communities for optimal impact? What processes can we put in place to detect discord in communities earlier and act before it gets out of hand.
  • Reconnect: Communications are crucial. We want to hear your ideas what you are doing, and we as regional community managers want to communicate plans, priorities and pointers with you.
Mozilla India in Hyderabad, April 2014<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1591" class="wp-caption-text">Mozilla India in Hyderabad, April 2014</figcaption>

The Team

Our regional sub-team is myself (EMEA), Gen Kanai (Asia), and Guillermo Movia (LATAM). If you live in other parts of the world, we have you covered as well. William Quiviger, who has substantial regional community building experience, will be providing guidance and support. As we proceed we will be evaluating the need for other resources.

How Can You Help?

You can help primarily by becoming more involved in your local community. Together we are stronger. Even if that means giving constructive criticism to help the community adapt and grow. As outlined above, some of our goals are not fully defined. Help us define them. Start conversations within your community on what they all mean to you. Coming very soon, we will be sending out a survey with a focus on finding out more about our regional communities. Please fill it out to help us get a better understanding of how we can support you.

NukeadorOn-boarding rethought

Since the beginning of 2013 we have been trying to grow the community, and definitely we’ve done great improvements with the localized contribute pages. But, size does not mean quality.

Nearly 2000 people has contacted us in Spanish filling the contribute form since January, and due this huge volume of inquiries we had to implement a new task centric approach to handle the on-boarding and the community.

What have we learned?

Our approach to do one-on-one mentoring with the people that replied the first auto-response email the form sends has failed:

  • Only 10% of the people who filled the form reply to the auto-response.
  • From the people who reply and a mentor contact them, only 10% start contributing in the community.
  • Mentors are overwhelmed by the number of mentees and the amount of time they invest in people that don’t have commitment.
  • Mentors are also contributors that have to put some mozilla work apart to do mentoring.
  • Most people who fill the form don’t really know what are they signing for. Commitment and own initiative are rare skills.

So, what now?

The Mozilla Hispano mentor team has been working in a new work-flow which aims to:

  • Simplify the procedure.
  • Reduce mentor’s work.
  • Invest time just in people who prove commitment.
  • Encourage own initiative.
  • Share the work between mentors.

The new procedure for Spanish will be:

  • A new person fill the contribute form.
  • He gets an auto-response email which includes:
    • Information about what the Mozilla community is about: Manifesto, meritocracy, commitment, how to evolve from newcomer to full contributor.
    • Level test (if applicable): Some areas such as localization require new people to have a certain level of knowledge in English and Spanish to contribute.
    • Link to the active projects on the area he selected in the form. (Each project wiki page has clear instructions about how to start contributing on your own and where to contact the work team)
    • Link to the presentations forum, and encourage him to introduce himself.
    • Instructions to read the projects doc and write to the mentors alias email if he has questions.
    • Encourage him to write to the mentors alias regularly to help him to «graduate» as a full contributor.
  • The newcomer will read the docs and start contributing on his own or asking the project team.
  • He will write to the mentors alias once he finishes his first tasks.
  • Any mentor will create a task on our task tool to be able to track the newcomer progress (only visible to mentors team).
  • Each time the newcomer writes to mentors, anyone can update the tracking task to reflect the progress.

To be able to «graduate» as a full contributor a person has to at least:

  • Have worked on one project.
  • Have started one topic on the contributors form or mailing list.
  • Have worked on his own for 2 weeks.

What would a million mozillians do?

From my point of view, Mozilla as an organization has grown way more than the volunteer communities, and we have been trying to keep up which is objectively impossible.

We have to keep growing, yes, but we can’t expect to do everything, we have to focus on getting more committed people, not just more people. We have to know when to say: no we can’t handle this Mozilla project. Let’s focus on P1 Mozilla projects and try to delegate to avoid burn outs.

Also, Mozilla needs more resources to help community building, tools, and resources for everyone. This is key to our mission success, let’s push all together to get them and remind each and everyone inside the organization how important is to help grow the volunteer base, not just the employee one 😉

I’ll be talking about this topic during the summit in Brussels (other will do in other locations):

Defining and Packaging a Mozilla Core experience for onboarding
Saturday October 3rd, from 13:30 – 15:30

NukeadorCommunity workflow reboot to task-centric approach

Early this week, we have changed how Mozilla Hispano contributors organize their work. Until now we’ve been organizing work using a mixture of email (lots of emails), meetings (long long meetings) and a custom wiki approach with task and semantic-mediawiki.

Despite this has allowed us to do amazing things and accomplish great things at the Spanish community, it has been proved that there were some issues:

  • People hate emails. Specially when they have dozens of them every day and they have to read all to get an idea about what’s going on or what’s needed to be done. Some people don’t even read them and other people from the community got frustrated because they felt ignored. A lot of great ideas were forgotten in a sea of emails.
  • Time is finite, and volunteers can’t spend hours during their weekend to attend a lot of long meetings. The balance between more and shorter meetings or less and longer ones is complicated because it doesn’t fit everyone.
  • Wiki as a task board is hard. Hard for people to use and hard for developers to implement all functions and notifications you expect.

So after discussion on our last Work Week in Peru and a lot of hours looking for good tool, we decided to give Teambox a try. We are using the open sourced version 3 on github, because the next version is only available using their site, it’s not free and they are not going to liberate it.

Awesome open source story here: Because version 3 is no longer maintained by Teambox Co., we did a research and found there were a lot of people who forked the version 3 on github, so we contacted all of them and a Czech University, who did some major modifications in the past, was happy to see our interest on this and our proposal to do a community fork. So they are going to continue the development in a community way. You can find this community fork on github and it’s where we are reporting bugs and suggestions, we hope to encourage a couple of Mozilla Hispano devs who know Ruby on Rails to join this project and help (you are invited to help too).

Going back to our implementation of this tool,  I would say that it has being very successful, in 4 days we have more then 140 tasks created and we are moving from our shared spreadsheet to track new contributors to tasks, so it would be easier to assign, notify and track progress of each individual contributor inside the mentors team.

teambox1Another great thing about this is that we don’t have to exchange 20 emails to do things, the person in charge will create tasks and assign to people with due dates. Everyone know what’s pending, when they have to do stuff or ping others for help using the great @mention feature inside comments. Less talking, more working.

It’s also great to track contributions and recognizing people’s work, because for each task you can specify how many time you have devoted to do it and other people can see your hard work. I personally love time tracking feature to get a full overview of our work and it’s great to know who has more or less work when assigning new tasks.


We want to introduce new contributors to this workflow as soon as possible on their on-boarding process, so they will know how we organize the work in the community they want to contribute to from the beginning. I did a short screencast (in Spanish) on how we use the tool so people can start using it right away.

This can be considered a pilot program, and let’s see how it goes, specially having in mind we have to coordinate the Firefox OS launch in three Spanish speaking countries in less than two months.

I’ll keep you posted with more news about this initiative 🙂

NukeadorContribute form for everyone!


In the last months a lot of work has been done on the contribute page to improve its functionality in terms of localization.

  • Localization: Having the content in your language was the first step. (You can ask support for your locales filling a bug under L10n blocking bug 755351)
  • Local email: The information filled in the form was sent to the contributor engagement team and also to the person in charge of volunteer involvement in each functional area. Obviously they handle requests in English, so for localized inquiries we needed this emails to be sent to local communities, we can now define an email where to get these inquiries, in our case is the Mozilla Hispano mentors.
  • Auto-responses: Some areas in English had auto-responses defined when a new person sends the form. Having this localized is super import because you can define you own template based on your procedures to on-board volunteers, and you can handle much more people this way giving them important information on how to get involved in a particular area right away.
  • Embeddable form: The last piece was being able to embed the form on external sites using an iframe, so we can offer a consistent way to get involved in mozilla not matter where people get to us (Thanks Ricky!). We have already implemented it on our contribute page at Mozilla Hispano.

Code example to include the form on your site (remember to customize callback url to your site’s url)

<iframe width="500" height="550" frameborder="0" src="" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading...</iframe>

Why all of this is important?

Providing a central way to get people involved with Mozilla in their language is very important, keep in mind that for Spanish we are getting more than 100 inquiries per week. We should be able to track and answer everyone.

How does it work for you?


Update: In September 2013 we modified the procedure based on our experience to be able to handle a big amount of inquires, please check that instead.

The process for Mozilla Hispano is the following:

  • Someone uses the form in Spanish (from or our contribute page)
  • We get a notification at our mentor’s email alias.
  • The person gets an auto-response, with different links (all with information in Spanish) depending on the area of interest. Here it’s important to note that this email tells people to read a few links with information about how to get involved (area description, link to contribute forum…) and to answer when they are ready to start (reply-to header is defined to our mentor’s alias).
  • It’s impossible to handle more than 100 inquiries per week if you have to manually answer everyone, so we wait till the person reads the initial information and answer the auto-response email to assign him a mentor.
  • Keep in mind that we tell people in the template they can contribute to mozilla even if they don’t have a lot of time, we observed that most people didn’t answer this first auto-response because they were not sure if they were going to be able to handle it.
  • If the person answers, a mentor is assigned and he follows our procedure for on boarding new contributors.

Next steps

In the future we will be able to track inquiries directly from a tracking system at, so we won’t have to deal with a lot of emails and shared spreadsheets to track new contributors progress.

Now we are able to embed the form in our language in more places, event pages, reps portal…

We need to get more awareness about how important on-boarding volunteers is for the future of mozilla, currently we have to literally beg most of the times for resources to improve and help community builders or wait till someone has free time to help.

Volunteers are the fuel for moving the project forward, give them some love please! 😉