[Call for input] Open Letter to Mozilla Leadership


(Florian Gilcher) #5

I was conviced by Alex Lakatos to answer to this thread, even if I don’t feel spoken to by these questions (and that is part of the context).

A little bit of context: I’m part of the Rust community team and helped creating Rust Berlin even before Rust 1.0. I was leading the team creating RustFest 2016. Before that, I ran multiple meetups, 4 conferences in the Ruby space (eurucamp) and served as a board member of Ruby Berlin. I love working with a lot of Mozillians and am currently happy in the Tech speakers course. I do hobby community management since 15 years now. Never in that time, though, I have considered myself a Mozillian or want to.

I love working with many Mozillians on a personal basis. With all it’s flaws, I’m amazed of Mozilla Reps effectiveness in regions of the world where other projects can’t even dare to get representation in. Mozilla has goals and values.

But working with Mozilla as an entity is the worst thing that ever happened to me in that time. Worse then any flimsy startup, Oracle and RedHat combined. That has a couple of reasons and some of those express in those questions.

So, let’s start with that: communication with Mozilla always starts with a hefty piece of expectations from Mozilla side that you know about Mozilla and its inner workings. My feelings about the current direction of Mozilla? None, I guess you have your reasons and Mozilla, the software vendor, doesn’t bother me much. I’m grateful for your funding of a project I love and support, but beyond that, I can’t say much. Yes, I loved Firefox OS the concept, but Mozilla Corp be the judge of whether they can make that a viable project. Same with “what can Mozilla do to succeed?”. I’m not into Mozilla enough to give good recommendations there. I don’t know what Mozilla could do.

As someone who doesn’t want to join Mozillas structures in any capacity, this becomes even worse: it’s hard to get in touch. We tried to get Mozilla involved into a large Rust tent (100 peak visitors) on CCCamp 2 years ago. I haven’t found a point of contact. None of the Mozillians I know knew one. Finally, it turned out there was a Mozilla tent there, run by someone else we didn’t get in contact to. At the same time, we stopped collaborating with Mozilla as a host for our Rust meetup, after they turned out to be very unreliable - far less reliable then other free venues in Berlin.

These things continue: we ran RustFest right after ViewSource in Berlin, and - we didn’t know - on the weekend of the European Rep meeting. Turns out: almost no Mozillian knew either. So we had people in the Berlin Office that then figured out that there was European Rust conference happening at that time.

So, gosh, is Mozilla hard to approach and to ask for cooperation, even if your event is basically “we have something here, do you want to slap a Mozilla sticker on?”.

Finally, an extra-aggrevating thing is how everytime when you speak to someone in Mozilla about that thing, there’s a stock answer: “Well, you have to understand that Mozilla is a large company and you know how it is.” The problem is that I know how it is. I prefer to call Oracle, Microsoft and Google for community project support over Mozilla. Why? They have someone to call and they have a process to get to yes or no. I am not alone in this opinion, most organisers of events I know send Mozilla the sponsorship prospectus (if they know someone within Mozilla, because there’s no easily findable point of contact). The extended version of the answer is someone explaining internal structure of Mozilla to you. I couldn’t care less. Mozilla has no grounds on which it can expect me to bother myself with Mozilla internals if I just want to collaborate on a project with them. They don’t care about my orgs internals either. It also isn’t necessary, as most collaborations don’t need that. A big problem here seems to be that many Mozillian employees that don’t do community work all day have issues with communicating to people that have less time to allocate to their community work. (after all, this is my hobby, not my job)

The cherry on top was a representative of the newly formed participation team that promised to put an end to the unresponsiveness - he never replied to any email. Which is quite sad, because one of the goals was to organise a meeting with local FOSS community workers to discuss Mozilla. Just to give you a rough gauge: most people here don’t know Mozilla has an office, much less a community group in Berlin. I think such a meeting would have helped matters here a lot.

Also, hearing that local tech activists wouldn’t be invited to the last time Mozilla higher-ups were in Berlin also showed where the interests lie.

Which brings me to yes/no. No one in Mozilla seems to feel comfortable of deciding about support. Which means you never have a satisfactory time frame in which you can be sure of support (which, if you are a conference organiser trying to find someone to help you with a venue lease, is a major source of insecurity). Another facet of that is that no one knows what’s possible. I asked if it were possible to join the work week in London as a chance to finally meet some Rust community workers and maybe finds some time for planning. The answer I got was no, work week is Mozillians only. Turns out, two weeks before the event, I meet someone who is indeed there as an external person. I speak to another Mozillian and he’s like “yeah, that"s kinda usual”. Sooo, chance over. It’s a death by man paper cuts. Positive experiences with Mozilla is very rare for me. Fully negative, too, but every time I’m like “there’s going to be a catch”.

You know what got all of that a little better? One of our group getting hired at Mozilla. Because suddenly, you have someone that could catch those people on whatever communication channel Mozillians use. You have someone with an @mozilla.org adress. But damn, getting your friends employed at Mozilla just doesn’t scale.

Finally, the involvement of Mozilla in RustFest was very problematic. Details are not really for here, as the matter is discussed with the people involved and brought to a satisfactory conclusion. The core of the issue was, though, that Mozilla agreed on doing things that would have went easier without Mozilla and saying no on things that were completely arbitrary. Also, being very late.

Every couple of months, a Mozillian comes along with another point of contact and asks me to repeat this rant to them. That point of contact then promises to make these things better. They then never reply to emails as simple as “hey, we chatted about this person and you wanted to introduce me to them”. So, here’s another replication of a rant that Participation, DevRel, Mozilla Community Berlin and a couple of others already heard and that changed nothing. But I don’t want to end bitter.

So, to not get only into complaining and to give you my running theory about all this this: Mozilla is open tech community from the past. It has a very well running system that worked when Mozilla was the only player in that space. Most other foundations only care about tech. Mozilla cares about people and tech, with a great focus on people. It shows when participating in Mozilla project: I’m currently in the Tech Speakers program, and damn, do these people know how to keep in touch with people around the globe. But what Mozilla is very bad on and heavily struggeling with is that they are not the only groups bringing people in touch with technology anymore. Many of them are local to cities, like the OpenTechSchool, others are global, like the CoderDojo or the Bridges. Many of those hold Mozilla in high regard, for what they have done, but many wouldn’t want to be involved in Mozilla for that reason. They have their own structures, their own way of working, their own ties, which are probably more effective then Mozillas on their small scale. So, my question here is: is it necessary that everyone working towards Mozillas goals considers themselves a Mozillian? Wouldn’t it be far more effective to find ways how all these projects that are fundamentally aligned to Mozilla and their idea of empowering people to work with and understand open technologies? For example, why does Mozilla run their own conferences? They are literally the only player in the market that can - with good conscience - ask people for free labor. Build circles of trusted friends. Don’t ask them to be Reps if they don’t have time for that. See if you can help them otherwise. Ask them to say a good word about you. See that they don’t have to become Mozilla experts to work with you. Maybe try hiring someone who built up a larger community project.

I don’t know, you make what you want of that.

I’m also on holidays, so I’m not really interested in discussing that further.

Edit: I just read https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/changes-in-community-support-in-2017/13206 and gosh… “People are hard, we didn’t quite get it working, let’s do sentiment analysis instead”? Well, if people offer to work with you, and you never reply, no wonder that whole meatspace stuff doesn’t quite work.


(Irvin Chen) #6

How do we feel:

https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/concern-about-webextension-exclusive-stretegy-from-add-on-authors-and-users/13310/

Like the discussion in above articles, I feel we’re missing the communication between our Firefox Addon team to our volunteer add-on authors. Too many popular addon authors is publicly complain about decision to remove XUL-based and Addon-SDK based extension architecture in the end of 2017, and that means far too less communicate for participants in our Firefox ecosystem, before decision is made.

If addon author is not happy and cannot bring their wonderful things with us forward, then our heavy user won’t be happy too. And it is causing many noice on local market from our core user that “Mozilla is behave just like others, not listening to user anymore” recently. (Eg., 1 2 3 4 I just randomly select some posts from our core Mozillians and long time Mozilla-supported opinion leaders who had complain about Mozilla just in this week.)

What do we ask:

  1. Found out how the decision is made and why is it made in this way, that urge so many angry add-on authors to argue publicity instead of communicate.
  2. Start a more transparent and deeply communication between Firefox Add-on team and popular add-on authors to recover their faith and our once-best-in-time extension eco-systems. (In fact, we need more transparent procedure on anything we want to abandon. Especially we had all experienced the worst Firefox OS case.)
  3. Set a more realistic plan and timetable to implement all necessary SDKs and for author to porting their current SDK-based Add-ons. Set a new active-user-number-based time plan to dropped XUL extension architect.
  4. Set procedures, necessary documents and more hand-on resources to help our current Add-on author on their works.

(YFdyh000) #7

I feel:

Are moving forward, but more abandon and restrict, less freedom and community.

From the add-ons signature mandatory, the new add-ons schema (WebExtensions, and once the Add-on SDK, jpm and more) and timeline, as well as the AMO collections feature, the complete theme, the toolbar customizations and more to fade away, they are not subject to users feedback for long-time, only by the development team or leader to decide and implement, without vetoing rights by the users feedback.

As well as ignoring the rationale and impact of feedback, for example, WONTFIX bugs on Bugzilla, and old http://input.mozilla.com/ (it has lots of feedback but no response, I understand it is a huge and almost impossible, but seems no one to be responsible for this. https://support.mozilla.org/kb/get-community-support and community forums thus becoming the only valid choice.)

I ask:

  1. More performance improvement and advocacy to build confidence, like js-startup-cache, Quantum, and more, rather than promoting or merging feature that have already been done in Add-ons or those non-exclusive features such as Sync, Add to Pocket. You can negotiate and strongly promote the add-ons by community (just like the system add-ons, but allow more to choose and disable, like allows the enabled by default according to certain criteria or release), rather than implement it yourself by crappy ones and no follow-up updates (like Tab Groups).
  2. A contest for performance improvement (even like face the security issue, although reducing the intensity.); A contest for porting or creating new add-ons for WebExt, and promoting them, at least does this.
  3. More substantial promotion for us is a community, like “Are” websites, they are silent and faded.
  4. Periodically in turn review wontfix and others bugs on Bugzilla, such as quarter or year, to looks for changes in views or improvements, as well as attention the vote number of bugs for people concerned.

(Michal Stanke) #8

About 8 month ago, I have heard a statement on Mozilla All Hands, that Mozilla needs to be bold - stay clearly and vigorously stand behind the manisfesto and values. But as Firefox is changing rapidly to catch the shortages from the recent past, Mozilla need to be bolder about these changes and reasons for them too. It’s nice to see the announcements stating how amazing things are, but I am missing any public reactions to the opposite opinions (yes, talking about add-on developers again and heavy XUL add-on users). To a lot of people around me, it sounds like Mozilla does not care and just repeat and repeat how great it is without even noticing the commend, not even under official blog posts.

Then it ends up like this week - after NDA leak about Connected Devices being dissolved, I have read many articles like “The non-profit that neglected Firefox is firing employees”. So to the first point, how do I feel about current direction - I actually do not know. Is there any direction? And if so, why it’s not communicated well, not even the individual steps on the path? And why there are no clear timeframes for having things done/production ready (e10s follow-ups, Quantum, Servo, browser.html, Test Pilot experiments, …)?

That’s IMO also the answer for the second point. Mozilla is not open enough. I lack enough communication, it’s hard to know, what Mozilla is doing - too many projects and no list of them, too many activities without a single place to see them, too many groups without an overview of what are they about and proper contact list. It’s often hard to reach to Mozilla, without asking my mentor for a contact or knowing someone already. Moreover despite being a Mozillian and local community veteran, I feel myself put a bit aside. I would appreciate some communication, where any announcements are put a bit earlier or more open and informal way than to the official blogs for the press. So we know, something is happening and why, even if we do not follow the exact IRC channel, wiki page or Disourse forum.

And maybe this is not just about Mozilla leadership, but the community too. The recent stuff like Activate Mozilla, Campus Clubs, Innovation toolkit …, those may be great but it’s super hard to get to the websites, if you do not follow a direct link. You just cannot get there, if you are not looking exactly for this on Google. There is no Mozilla ecosystem or very weak.


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #9

I follow all the discussed stuff (I am agree with all of them especially for addons) here with my little opinion:

  • After the Fosdem experience I see that there are problems between communications with people that didn’t know that in their country there is a community, so we need a leadership from Mozilla itself to help them to promote like also inside Firefox on in their language.
  • There are many old tickets with many people that follow them to get updates and they are ignored. It’s good to move forward but see also the oldest and what’s going on it’s important.
  • Mozilla do many campaign online but the volunteers, also under NDA, get that news or the day itself or with an internal news like a week before. So is not possible to plan a localization for the launch itself. Or the website change without any news like there was for the changecopyright.
  • Mozilla organize also many campaign without get updated the community like the ads for yahoo the last year and is not possible to get the assets. How a volunteer can do promotion without the official assets?
  • I think that Mozilla need to get more employees between the volunteers because they are skilled and know what means contribute. Also they stay more in the company respect people outside that leave after 2-3 years, and volunteers lose a reference point.
  • Mozilla foundation need to be more global, don’t forget that the volunteers in north america are very less respect every other area in the world. Often we see that many things are too much american then for the rest of the world. To fix that is not enough to get employees around the world but get in touch with the communities in the decisions and ask if it is good for the rest of the world.

(Irvin Chen) #10

Second the people point that @Mte90 and @skade raised.

Perhaps it’s one of our strategies that “Changes in Community Support in 2017”. We are losing many many Mozillianized-staff that had build great bridge between volunteers and MoCo/MoFo in past few years very quickly. Gen Kanai (was Asia communities wrangler), William Quiviger (was South-east Asia and South Asia and Europe wrangler), Guillermo Movia (LATAM wranger), Brian King (Europe wrangler) and TJ Lee (for Firefox Student Ambassador) as my quick example, many more names follow.

We’re not only losing the local volunteer because they will need to re-build relationship and sync their minds with new staff (or there is even NO new staff in place, like in my country or FSA for long time), and also local projects would be hard to continue due to lack of wrangler after the core community staff depart, and new staff has no enough background experience on those project.

Volunteer will be struggling finding building new relationship and finding new things to contribute, and they need great community-minded staff to keep care, or they will just stop contributing (only to Mozilla, perhaps). And we will leaving bad reputation on it.

When we kill projects and cease it’s staff position, we’re also eliminate related communities. For example, we’re losing a whole global community after we killed Webmaker and it’s localization project, and we’re losing also a global scale of communities around WebApp after we killed Firefox OS (Now we saw Google is taking the lead with PWA in here).

I know it’s common that people came and go in big project, but it’s very pain on community building. I have to trying build new relationship with different staff almost every year (even every few months). I had experience that failed to keep with latest re-org, and I lost the opportunity to be include, eg. not knowing there is new related-call to join. And it’s even more struggle if the new face has no community-like mind (we had deadly experience on that.)

Because local community are mostly lasting longer then current community wrangler staff and any Mozilla projects (besides Firefox), I and many Mozillians already start keeping our contributing not too dedicate and devoted to any single Mozilla project, in order to prevent hurt when it ceased. It’s not really positive, is it?

I know we want to enable volunteer to do the job, but in fact I don’t think it as a working solution. Volunteer has no enough resources, has no enough time. They already have many local growing projects (and they don’t want to lose it), and they now have other countries to work. In many country, there are multiple communities around different projects.

We’re end up with a very bad hierarchy structure, which we would like to avoid due to conflict we already saw many times in different regions (e.g., conflict that in the end killed whole community few years ago in Malaysia for example).

In my experience, to keep growing local community took me 100+ hours a month, and to help mentoring only ONE community in other country took me another 10+ hour a month. And I’m already missed other communities in the same country, not to mention other nearby countries. (In the mean time we have other Mozilla projects and calls to follow besides community growing.)

Volunteer will end up burn out, and local communities will feel even worst and un-confidence when people (who claim to be their coach) come and go more frequently then staff. Sorry, it is just not that realistic as a role for non-full-time people.

What do you think Mozilla should do to succeed that we are not doing right now?

Try to keep great community builders within Mozilla, and keep brining good builders in. There are many great volunteers working hard on building communities for many many years. We should give them resource, invite them in and make full use of their ability. A health and diverse global community need staffs who had local mind with resources to care and help, and it’s is always our core strength against any challenger.


(Kairo) #11

This is a hard topic, and any post to it will get long, i.e. so is this one. I have been “on the inside” for a while, and in the community before and now again after that so once I get going with thoughts, there are quite a few. (Sorry if I use "we and “us” when talking about “Mozilla the organization” but I feel as part of “core Mozilla” no matter if I’m officially staff or not.)

Knowing who to contact is surely a problem from the community side, I miss access to the phonebook a lot, but relief for that is thankfully planned - so this is something that surely needs to be pushed forward. And don’t try to make it a huge project that does everything at once, go step by step and deliver to the largest pain points first,even if not everything is polished. Innovation and ideas happen where things are not polished.

And that’s something that I feel as a problem with Mozilla in general somewhat: Nowadays, we try to have everything that goes out even to the community, sometimes even a larger circle of staff, to be polished and “ready to go”. That doesn’t just feel very corporate and slick, but also takes away the chance to get more ideas in and have things develop organically - which is what we were good at in our growth phases. Getting information and projects to the community early, with rough edges, is what fosters participation and innovation. The recent logo process was good at that, Rust and WebVR are as well. We need more of those examples.

For community to be successful, the pieces to participate in need to be fun, easy to start but still challenging, and rewarding in a lasting way. Pouring your heart and soul into a project just to see it completely killed without successor by top-down decision making is frustrating and making peers actually warn others from participating (and we will feel that effect lasting for some time). Also, when “giving a project to the community”, it can only bloom if the not-so-fun pieces of administration (including getting builds and releases out there) and overall coordination (facilitating community decisions, not making top-down decisions) is actually done by people who are available full-time to the project - which I know well enough from my own experience as well as what I have seem in the last 18 years of being in this community.

We can’t undo what we have done but we can do better with what is coming up. We need to get the tinkers, makers, and the peers in the FLOSS communities behind our projects and initiatives. I think we need to push on doing workshops with WebVR, FlyWeb, and Progressive Web Apps and need commit to supporting those excellently and long-term in our products so that people playing with them do not get abandoned and we can build sustainable communities around them. We need to make sure that all our local and community outreach has Reps involved and make sure that communities that Reps are involved in and leading are friendly and positive to their members and dare to even throw people out of programs like Reps if they turn to be dictatorial or making people leave the community (yes, that’s sad but it sometimes happens). When we kill off a project, we always need to go back and explain if/why the original projects they wanted to solve are not relevant to the Mozilla mission any more, or otherwise invest in at least research about alternative solutions and help our communities to move to alternatives if so.

10-15 years ago Mozilla was one of the very few communities around openness, and that helped people to get involved (and less likely to go elsewhere), that’s not the case any more, we need to be welcoming and caring to community members much more than before. That doesn’t mean we need to sponsor their every step, it means much more that we need to be there for them when there are questions, we need to get them answers to questions fast, we need to make them feel part of the movement. For those of us used to thinking corporate, they are the salesmen and saleswomen of our mission, our initiatives and even our products. If we don’t keep them engaged, we don’t win “customers” - on the other side, if every one at Mozilla works with them and can get them going for us strongly, they are the best multipliers we can have to make Firefox as well as Mozilla grow (re 2017 goals).

In short:

  • Let’s make sure community members feel welcome and as part of our movement, let’s have them know who to talk to and get them answers fast from any of those contacts.
  • Let’s get things out there that are rough and foster tinkering and innovation, and commit to sustaining technologies that accumulate significant community interest - but if we shut down project, let’s stay honest and openly discuss relevance of it’s basic ideas to the mission and possible alternatives as well as actively help the communities to pick up alternatives.
  • Let’s push WebVR, FlyWeb, and Progressive Web Apps in our products, commit to them in a longer run and engage communities to tinker with them, get maker communities involved, do workshops with them. Other technologies can and should follow that same pattern, of course.
  • If we want community engagement, let’s make sure that fun, challenge and lasting impact are there, and provide the framework in administration and coordination, fostering decision making that feels open, bottom-up and empowering instead of top-down out-of-the-blue decisions.
  • Let’s have a connecting structure of community through Reps and involve them in all local/regional and community activities, and hold them to community guidelines even more strictly as they should be the role models for our community.

I think that’s mostly my thoughts on this right now, happy to be engaged in this more. :wink:


(Andre Alves Garzia) #12

I posted some of my complaints at a different thread https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/dont-like-the-direction-that-community-management-at-mozilla-is-heading/13495

Since I want to encourage some discussion instead of adding noise to this open letter thread.


(Michael Bauer) #13

+1 to all those who call for a more effective and outsider (or even insider) friendly way of getting to talk to the right people. I’m in the main a localizer and I feel bad every time I have to drop another email to a Mozilla l10n admin to ask whom I should be talking to about a non-l10n topic. It’s a jungle with no official guide.

So I’ve been localizing for Mozilla since 2010, across most end-user products (Firefox, Thunderbird, Lightning, OS and mobile apps). I am in the main a translator with very limited dev skills though I consider myself an advanced user and I do spot and report bugs etc. Just for background.
Over the years, it feels to me like Mozilla has become too frenetic in its approach to change. The frequency with which solid projects with end-user appeal are dumped (Tb above all) as well as projects with long-term potential but issues which were always going to be the case (OS above all) in favour of developing the beez kneez of something else - only to drop it shortly afterwards.
In my view, Mozilla needs to go back to base and first of all re-establish its core product development. Firefox and Thunderbird and ensure these products are available on as many platforms as possible. Maintain that core and it doesn’t matter if some experimental project comes and goes.
While doing that, sort out organisational issues and especially the communication.
When picking a new project, pick just one or two and take the long-term view and stick with it. OS was never going to happen overnight but Mozilla rushed to market and thus bit off more than it could chew and in the end, had to can it. This should be reconsidered.
The last one is perhaps the trickiest. We need to get out of our FOSS bunkers and start collaborating across projects and become more user friendly. Whether we like it or not, people are on Google because you get everything in the same place. It is telling that a lot of discussions between Mozilla people happen … on Google. We need to consider working more closely with the likes of LibreOffice and try to come up with something that respects our mission but at the same time actually gives the end-user what they want. We can never force people onto FOSS, we can only attract them. Case in point, the download and installation process of Firefox and LibreOffice, both of which have their own facepalm issues. In a mature product, we should not be having headaches over locale selection during download/install, switching UI locales in-product or how to do an auto-update feature. The end-user, in 2017, just expects that to work. Sorry but to hell with a new programming language when we have fundamentals that still don’t work well enough to keep the end-user happy. Because if we do not make products for the end-user, then who are we making them for?


(Brooke Jennings) #14

I have felt that the Lords of Mozilla have been out of touch ever since they surprised us with Firefox 28 (or Thunderbird? I’m gettting old and my memory is failing). I was lucky to learn about 28 before I installed it. Others were taken completely by surprise. I understand that it precipitated an unprecedented tsunami of complaints. And the Lords’ response? We are Gods and you peons will have deal with whatever We in our Imperial Wisdom decree.

I wonder why so many intermediate level leaders quit in such a short period of time. I suspect most left for the same reason. What did the Lords of Mozilla do to send them all packing at once?


(Mickydoe) #15

It’s not the first time the community writes a letter to leadership, and I’m worried we will get the same politically correct and empty answer: “We care about community, we keep improving our efforts”

I want to summarize a lot of what we see. Most of the community feelings now is because of years of desinvestment from the leadership:

  • Firefox OS was created as a closed project. NDA volunteers to ensure partners were happy. Firefox OS was never a community project and even if community raised their concerns about it (we need whatsapp and other main apps or this makes no sense), they were never heard and it failed and drained Mozilla during years.
  • Since then most teams at mozilla have been working behind “close doors”, private gdocs, private slack… their own bubble, no mandate to be open and welcome participation. This is now the culture by default.
  • The teams supporting community always linked just to Corporation needs: We need marketing for Firefox OS, now we need this new campaing, now it’s connected devices, now… what about having a great community as a need by itself?
  • It’s clear that Corporation leadership wants what they call “return of investment” from community and when it’s not there for the goals of the moment they remove support (community managers leaving is a clear sign). Are we going to kill all community support in a few year then?
  • We haven’t seen any signal of corporation leadership enforcing the rest of the org to work in the open or welcome participation. If they want this, they can easily enforce this by connecting it to employees performance.
  • We, the community, don’t want to be free labor. We learn about decisions taken behind close doors, but no volunteer was never consulted or being part of the decision process. Other organizations that are supported by volunteers have volunteers in their decision maker bodies, but not Mozilla.
  • We want to be a global organization but still leadership is California centric. We have thousands of eyes and ears on the field worldwide to inform and influence!
  • Mozilla is becoming just another organization that builds a product, a product that even being as good as others, don’t have a diferenciation with the rest, we don’t take risks. Marketshare decreases because people don’t have a reason to choose us, they don’t have a reason because we just do what others do (and sometimes worse).
  • It’s crazy to know how to get involved in projects. Some are corporation, some are foundation, we don’t care, One Mozilla remember? It feels like 3 Mozillas (Corporation, Foundation and volunteers).
  • There are a lot of things where people will never have interest to help. Why should we give our time to a product that has 1000 employees and hundreds of millions in revenue each year? We want to work on things that have impact, not in things to keep us entretained.

What do we ask?

  • Mozilla Leadership to be accountable to the rest of the community. Have a diverse group of key volunteers in decision making bodies, and have them elected. This way we will feel part of the process and not just observers.
  • All teams at Mozilla should have openess and participation as a mandate, and tied to employees performance evaluation.
  • Community Support is not a “return of investment” but a long time investment, with freedom to take care of the community no matter what the goals are.
  • Major decisions would be consulted, welcoming diverse voices from all over the world. Not just tech experts in California.
  • Teams are open by default (in tools, in proceses, in communications) and there is a way to discover what’s going on at Mozilla in a single place.
  • Be honest and tell everyone what do you expect from the volunteers and community. We don’t want to waste our time, we want to support Mozilla’s mission but not work for free.
  • What are the things we can influenciate direction but we have money to have employees working on it?
  • What are the things were a community of volunteers can make a difference that all the money in the world can’t buy?

And if leadership doesn’t want this direction, let us know and also let us know honestly what direction for community you have in mind. Then we will decide if we want to invest our time in this organization or not (because a lot of us are already tired and won’t return without a radical change).


(Edoardo Viola) #16

During the FOSDEM I could talk with some people inside local European Communities and other, not involved yet but, how said @mte90, they don’t know that in their country exist a local community.
All people who are part of these communities express me different and specific necessity, but what that they feel in common is the absence of a unique platform where find easly all the information regarding update and new programs, initiative and in general of all make in global from Mozilla. I don’t refer only from specific team or work group, but, in general. Moreover, these people feel the necessity to be more engaged on the develop of new products, ideas and ecc… from the first and initial phase and first that for these things will make new internal team or workgroup. They think that the community will be engage not only in promoting, support and localization things.

A more big report about that you’ll could find in the specific section regarding the Reps Regional Coach, there you can find more information and all the proposal solution in order to try to be helpful and reach my goals in my region how Reps regional coach.

For the people who wants to be engage in a local community, the situation is different. Today the people don’t arrive only because are Firefox Users, but because they are in accord with our causes. What we need is that the local communities are, and, feel ready to promote not only localization and support activity specific for products, but to be engage in all things that Mozilla do in the name of OpenWeb.

For reply more specifically at the questions:
What do you feel about the current direction Mozilla is heading (including all recent announcements)?

I think that the current Mozilla direction is good. Isn’t possible in the actual state of things, market share, and, concurrents break up energies. We need to focus our attentions at the people, at the communities and offers this value added that distinguish our self then the others. Is for that I think is crucial remains one with the other the most cooperative that we can. From the more ancient in the community to the last people arrived in our community. We must show at the world all that Mozilla constantly do e show that we are not only Firefox. Especially here in Europe, we need to work hard in this, and, me how Reps Regional Coach I will do my best with all my forces to do it.

What do you think Mozilla should do to succeed that we are not doing right now?

Give more opportunities at the local communities. Use the communities to create new innovating idea, engage more volunteers in all the projects and offer in a simple website (not the Wiki) all the information in relevance of programs, initiative and projects carry on from mozilla. We are the community who represent the Open and the Inclusive, so we have the necessity not only to say that, but show it in a simple and easy website all the value added that we offer (Localization, Support, and programs how: Reps, TechSpeaker, campus Club, mozilla Club, Mozilla Science and more, and more, and more.)
I don’t mean detailed and all the information specific but a website that summarize short information and all the local references of people who are actively involved how mozillians in all these activities.

I see some things wrote by the others, and I hope to read some others, but this is a awesome moment to express our thinking and point of view, so, Thank you to offered at me.
I’m sorry for the Language mistake.
Cheers,
Edoardo


(Brooke Jennings) #18

That certainly explains Thunderbird 28 (or was it Firefox?)
Who owns the Mozilla corporation? Who makes the decision to isolate the corporation from users? Is there any way to put pessure on the Lords of Mozilla, or are they as secure in their power as Putin? Is Mozilla code open source, or have the Lords patented it?

All of these questions relate to a hope that the corporation might be influenced to open up, or alternatively, to put the code under an alternative, open and responsive, management group?

Open letter to the Lords of Mozzilla

The last post certainly explains Thunderbird 28 (or was it Firefox?) Who owns the Mozilla corporation? Who makes the decision to isolate the corporation from users? Is there any way to put pessure on the Lords of Mozilla, or are they as secure in their power as Putin? Is Mozilla code open source, or have the Lords patented it?

All of these questions relate to a hope that the corporation might be influenced to open up, or alternatively, to put the code under an alternative, open and responsive, management group.

Four score and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, which I hope will get this past the electronic censor, which rejected my initial text too similar to my last.

What must I write to make this post sufficiently differ from my last? Trump is a loose cannon; no one knows what he will do next. Except that he will always talk before he thinks.

.


(Richard Armuelles) #19

###How I Feel:

I feel really disengaged from the direction that Mozilla is taking, eliminating or failing to give funds to projects that were good for the end user (Thunderbird and certain Firefox features like Panorama), I feel that Mozilla tries to do everything that rival companies do at the same way these companies do, only using the Mozilla brand and a community that apparently has a voice, but in practice, is not being heard.

We tried to enter the mobile market with a project that was not really open, which was full of non-disclosure clauses for all of us who signed the agreement (it did not feel like a free software project) and we failed and the press took care of remind us everytime that we failed.

We tried to move to an IoT initiative that in more than a year has not produced a single end-user tool (only documents on the wiki and tools maintained by certain communities but not supported by Mozilla), it would have been great to have taken advantage of WebIDE to This task, but nothing materialized. It’s no use for developers to do IoT workshops on Arduino and Node.js, because Mozilla is not involved in these projects, there is not a tool or product that we can proudly say is made by us.

Today What do we have to reach the end user and the developers? Promises of a better browser that slowly runs out of developers willing to make plugins with WebExtensions because the technology does not allow them the same freedom. We have promises of an innovative programming language that runs the risk of remaining as just a curious experiment and not a breakthrough product.

But more worrying is that we have a company rather than a foundation and a structure that does not allow volunteers to be the ones who can make decisions, where those critical decisions are left to a few who do not have the same open community culture and seem to look for Mozilla to behave like Google or any other IT company.


(Berni Melero) #20

Hi!

If this is going to be an open letter for the Mozilla leadership, the first things that I would love to know are:

  1. What’s community for Mozilla in 2017? What does it mean? Which is its role?

Maybe if we know this we can understand why last decisions have been made. I have an understanding of what community meant for Mozilla, but maybe it has evolved and I’m still living in the past. Having this concept clear will help me and others to know if we want to be part of it anymore.

  1. What’s the real goal/s of Mozilla? Is there any direction here?

I read a lot of times what Mozilla is meant for. The mission and the vision. And I love it. The thing is that reality is not aligned at all to them and it’s causing a lack of credibility. Opening and closing protects because we’re experimenting is nice, but then we should include that in the Mozilla goals and values.

  1. What does Mozilla do when hires new people? Which is the criteria? Do they know something about what community means?

There’s no doubt that Mozilla is more corporate than foundation today. It’s good to measure things, create procedures and good structures. It’s great to have experienced and prepared guys to take Mozilla to a higher level. But please, do train all these new guys about the importance of the community here. We’re not people who just do the work for Mozilla.

Once I know the answers to this maybe I’m able to know and propose anything to Mozilla. Now I just think that no one is hearing us there. So thank you to those who created this thread. Maybe it’s not too late.

Best,
Berni


(Gabriela) #21

What do you feel about the current direction Mozilla is heading (including all recent announcements)?

I feel that since Beard killed Grow Mozilla events back in 2014 (before called MozCamps), Mozilla has been caring each year less and less about community.

This became clearer to me when Ari announced Mozilla wasn’t going to partner with mobile phones companies any more and even more clear when Firefox OS was killed! They didn’t at all consider that there where hundreds of community members who spent all their free time and efforts as myself working in a related to Firefox OS project for the first six months of 2016! All these people efforts (my self’s included) was wasted!

Since then, a number of projects were launched, lost of contributors got enthusiastically involved, only to kill them six months later with the consequent disappointment off all of them!

Now, employees from Participation Team and lots of other people are been let go, no more community gatherings, no more Connected Devices Team, etc., etc., etc…

All the past decisions where made by new employees who obviously knew/know nothing about the excellent work community members do expecting nothing! QA and localization are just examples of this.

Supposedly Mozilla is all for openness??? Where is this openness when decisions that involve community are taken only by high positioned employees forgetting/not caring at all about community???

No doubt for me! Mozilla couldn’t care less about community!

Regretfully, each day I feel I have to gather more and more will to continue contributing, knowing very few people will value and acknowledge my help!

What do you think Mozilla should do to succeed that we are not doing right now?

I think all community events: MozCamps, Grow Mozilla’s, Community Gatherings, Leadership summits and such should be organized again, inviting lots of contributors to each of them to help us believe in Mozilla’s ideas again!

Regards,
Gabriela


(Dave Villacreses) #22

What do you feel about the current direction Mozilla is heading (including all recent announcements)?

Everybody in order to put their trust and confidence on any organization needs the feeling thatthings are working out or at least are being aligned toward long term “achievable goals” Imagine a ship inviting passengers on board but switching destinations every day, week or month… I don’t think success would be easy to reach for such cruises line…
Sadly the feeling nowadays is similar in Mozilla and among Mozillians very little seem to understand where we are really going and for how long…
Are we going to drop some BIG projects again and pursue new goals every time…? Mozilla needs at least an easy consistent path that everybody can understand and follow that’s the basement we are loosing as far I see…

  • Big projects and dreams being dropped overnight.
  • Big expensive campaigns left in the limbo
  • A lot of smart people leaving mozilla with a fake smile… waving goodbye to nwver come back…
  • Alot of disappointed contributors and volunteers
  • Difficult processes when it comes to request swag, budgets, etc. I ve been waiting SINCE 2015 my Reps welcome pack just to mention a simple example…
  • Communities being left on their own with their own ideas and projects… the feeling is: Do what mozilla is asking you this month/week/year to do… Help Mozilla! My perception was… Mozilla will help us to achieve our local goals covering our local needs in order to help Mozilla be what people and users are expecting it to be…

What do you think Mozilla should do to succeed that we are not doing right now?
Mozilla should align with average web users needs. IOT is the future for sure but what about simple things like empowering women and mothers to use and educate their children to use the free open web and preserve it.? Projects like these get very little atention and funds in my opinion…

  • How many non tech people… around the world does really know what Mozilla is, does and believes in, evwn if it exists?

  • We need Mozilla to go back to its roots… The People… The Web, Freedom…then we all can move toward the future together.

how can we dream with an everlasting open web for everyone…

Why we can not really connect with the masses? Why apart from the IT world very few average web users can tell or know what Mozilla really is and does?

Technical goals should follow but communities should focus on reaching the web users…our tweets our likes our shares fill the metrics Mozilla uses to prove we are big and populars and we as mozillians happily do that, but are we the communities supposed to serve only for those purposes?We should be thermometers for Mozilla testing the web users worldwide, but feel lonely everytime more…
We want people joining mozìlla, average users, free thinkers, teachers, parents, engineers, everyone… Don’t we?
Of course most Mozilla current projects are good and exciting… for who? For everyone? I ask…
I believe we should start matching high open technologies covering and solving web user needs worldwide!
Think of countries like Ghana, Colombia, Ecuador, Vietnam… What can we do to help these people? Do they really need VR, IOT there.? Yes they do but when, how and what are we going to deliver? Let’s built products and projects that connect with everyone using or interested in using the web… FIREFOX is a perfect reminder of that.

End of my rant…

Dave


(M Kouadio) #23

Thank you Michael for this opportunity offered by Mozilla here to give ours feedback since all recent and current announcements.
Unfortunately, no too much comment on this, precisely from Mozilla Community Côte d’Ivoire (ours community).

I have write a discourse post about current statut of Mozilla Côte d’Ivoire here

From y part, i think the current direction Mozilla is great. since 2012, i have been fight to promote inclusive community for Mozilla Côte d’Ivoire.
it’s wasn’t easy because communication between Mozilla and community precisely west africa (french community) was very bad.
I think this was the origin of the failure of firefox Os lunch in Africa.
Many mozillians from there were very frustrated because Mozilla was not collaborate with local community.

Otherwise, i think Reps Regional Coach program will help a lot west Africa to understand Better Mozilla goal and how give satisfaction to community also.
Me as Reps Regional Coach i will try my best to do this and make inadequacies a positivity.

  • Trust on Africa potentiality
  • Try to understand better africa needs because Mozilla can solve them
  • Communities training to give good knowledge of Mozilla projects (we are need it in Africa)

**

I ask:

**
what we must do when one part of community (a few people) don’t want an inclusive community ?

How do you expect volunteers to contribute to Mozilla projects while the core team members of communities who have to guide the contributors do not even master them?


(Miguel Useche) #24

Hello,

Using Mozilla Browser since 15 years ago and volunteering with Mozilla since 7 years ago.

What do you feel about the current direction Mozilla is heading (including all recent announcements)?

I feel like they have been transitioning from the foundation to more corporate (which is not bad) but in the process I feel like they’re treating volunteers like 2nd class citizen or omit them, sometimes if you wanna help, I feel like there are barriers.

I like the idea to power Firefox even more, I know that Thunderbird is a side project but I think it is still used by a lot of people, community can maintain it if mozilla motivates the community and brings some help. Same for other projects, don’t use the volunteers as tools, we are people and share with us some important news, I don’t understand why some stuff is NDA while they should be open, like the mozilla’s mission.

For example, we were saying in the social networks that mozilla wasn’t going to close Firefox OS and convincing people in groups that it will be used in IOT, etc. And then 2 days later, mozilla closes the project and people tough that we were lying or doing fake promotion. At least mozilla should tell us or prepare us for canceling Firefox OS.

What do you think Mozilla should do to succeed that we are not doing right now?

Increase the motivation for volunteers, there are a new people that wanna help with the Mozillians vision, but it’s hard to join them to new projects, or sometimes find a way to get them to a mozilla employee so they can help with a project.

Also, Mozilla needs to be cool again, I teach in a university and most students know a lot about Microsoft or Google, less people know about Mozilla and what they can do, FSA program doesn’t help much and sometimes it’s hard to find new mozilla pages or campains in spanish, so they lose voluntering market in latinamerica.

I started to help with the WordPress communitiy, and Automatic have people that contact me to parcipate in the project, explain me and train me to help in the community (it was mas first contact, newbie, finding a way to help for the first time), with Mozilla I don’t see a quick response for newbies (at least in spanish) to collaborate with mozilla.


(Florian Gilcher) #25

I’d like to add a few things to my statements above.

Mozillas full time Community Personnel is mostly employed or working by US hours and it shows. It means every community not from the US is underserved a lot. The Road Show improves that a little when it comes to meeting, but communication in general is really bad.

Also, seeing all the news about participation people being let go and the community positions in Germany suddenly vanishing from the page (sad, I know someone who would have been an incredible fit for that, please ping me if there is still need).

The problem is that Mozilla does not seem to understand that Community lives through people doing legwork. Going to local meetups, conferences, etc. Being there. You cannot expect that to be done by volunteer community members or employees doing that on the side. It gives no consistent service. Mozilla seems to be running under the belief that everything can be remotely organised. That doesn’t work for community, you need the proverbial “foot on the ground”.

I’ll give an example: ViewSource Berlin was a great conference with a major flaw. It was struggeling to even get noticed in Berlin. Why? Because it was organised and promoted from SF. That works for the organisation part (organising a venue, suppliers, etc.), but it was really struggling for the local community to even take note that there was a conference running here.

Having someone tour Berlin or the wider area would have been a good way to seed the knowledge. No one did that.

Finally: long breath. It took me a while to grok that DevRel is something new for Mozilla. Sadly, you don’t start doing DevRel yesterday and have results tomorrow. Participation is not even public for a year and already it’s being cut down. I have my frustration with it, but gosh, that’s too short to even have measurable results. It’s just enough time to fail at one or two things, and not enough time to try out new things. I find it really disheartening to see a good initiative so gutted on such short notice.