[FEEDBACK NEEDED] SUMO meetup idea


(Michał Dziewoński) #1

Hi Everyone! (and we mean EVERYONE :-))

We have a group of Mozillians interested in organizing a SUMO community meetup before the release of Firefox 57.

You can see their idea and read a bit more about it in this etherpad: https://public.etherpad-mozilla.org/p/SUMO57MeetupProposal

Please use this thread to tell us what you think about it.


#2

Hi Michał

This is a difficult one to respond to, so this might just turn into a random list of comments(!).

Timing it for 57 would be difficult. It is expected to move to Beta in early September which is not long off. It would very challenging to get ready for this date, and possibly disruptive to SUMO work for 57 to have it after this date. Whilst 57 is a key event, 42 was a big event, and there will be other big releases in the future.

Also need to consider the notice required for people to take time off work and that some people may be unable to attend due to the (not unreasonable) requirement that their place of education requires them to be in class. Even a weekend event would require one or two days off for most people.

With regards to cost, not my call. I am not of the belief that Mozilla has bottomless pockets and I am not keen to back expenditure unless there is a tangible deliverable (apologies for the language, I am not long back from work…!). Having a goal of “community building” (my term) is less tangible than “writing all the docs, l10n half the docs, clearing unanswered forum questions and training five new social contributors”.

Another thing that is very precious is SUMO staff time. To organise and attend such meetings takes considerable effort and could detract from the work already being undertaken to support the various elements of SUMO.

An “all SUMO” meetup would be really cool, but I must admit that I am very thankful for the opportunity to attend the (very recent) All Hands. I have come back with a long list of things to do (which was the aim of the week) and would not want to appear ungrateful. Inviting so many contributors to one place to do what we did that week was a massive undertaking and was/is amazing to be part of.

One thing that people may not realise about SUMO is that there is an element of the community that likes to stay “low key” and who may not wish to attend such a meetup. Whilst this may look unusual or wrong compared to other teams, this is actually one of the core strengths of SUMO and should be considered as we still appreciate the contribution that they make.

Bearing all of this in mind, could I suggest an alternative idea? How about smaller, regional meet ups, possibly one region (broadly continental) a year, in early spring (February/March), using a central (to the contributors fortunate to be invited) Mozilla Space as a hub? One member of staff (relevant to the majority of the contributors element of SUMO) and a desire to use the time to work together in a room to write articles and help users.

I still consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have attended the events that I have and to be working on the tasks that I am working on. Whilst I know that meeting is person (or even via Vidyo or IRC) can strengthen a team, I am not in any position to recommend or demand or request that a meetup takes place.


(Michał Dziewoński) #3

Thank you for voicing your thoughts, Seburo!

Anyone else out there willing to join the conversation?

Cheers!


(Dinesh) #4

Greetings all,

I second with this idea of Seburo to plan regional meetups yearly once or so, which helps alot of people from each region to attend the gathering and learn alot. It will also motivate people to contribute more.

Regards,
Dinesh


(Andrew [:feer56] ) #5

Hello all,

Thank you all who have provided feedback. As I am part of the group organizing the meetup, my comments here may be a bit distorted, but I’ve kept it as neutral as I could.

There are absolutely no companies out there that have a 100% retention rate, a flawless support system, or a 100% customer service satisfaction rate. This includes big players such as Amazon and Google. We will never be able to please every single customer or user, no company will, and we need to realize this. That being said, there is always room for improvement. I am not here to point fingers, say who’s right and who’s wrong, but to provide how I see things sometimes in a different way.

One of the main goals for the meetup is to rebuild the community and to reinforce the commitment the SUMO team has for contributors. We all have our complaints, we also have our doubts at times, but, we also are applauding when the staff does us good. This is normal and expected as receive satisfaction rather than being met with frustration and anger.

Keeping in mind the 3 goals of the proposal:

  • Community love and strengthening
  • Strategy and preparation for Firefox 57
  • Explore and future-proof SUMO/ Kitsune

There has been a lot of negativity due what occurred with Lithium, and this can be seen from contributors expressing their concerns and from certain posts in the Contributor Forums. At the same time, that needs to be addressed, and from my point of view, part of it could be resolved through this meetup. Now you may ask why can’t it be completely resolved from this meetup? Due to restrictions, individuals not able to able attend, visa complications, we should engage in a different method to reach out to these folks.

I know that there are contributors that dedicated and really into keeping SUMO and Kitsune alive and to ensure all contributors are having a good time contributing. Everybody has ideas - some just might not feel comfortable starting a thread about it, and that’s totally okay. Mozilla encourages participation with diversity and inclusiveness, everybody is human and we should respect certain decisions.

I agree that timing this in preparation for Firefox 57 which is slated to release in November, and in Beta late September, there is a ton of work to get SUMO ready. This BIG release is unlike other “big” releases in the past as 57 will release e10s to all users, only extensions built using WebExtensions APIs will run, and along with other amazing features landing, this release is where Mozilla is making a massive push for users to switch back to Firefox and current users to spread the awesomeness of Firefox. These changes may seem normal to us, but for users, it a big deal.

We’re not asking Mozilla to open their pockets for us to leech off of them, this is not my intention and I don’t think it’s anybody’s intention to do so. There are great concerns of contributors being able to attend and I believe, by sending an invite - it is a step in the right direction and keeping them updated throughout the meetup is a greater step to help rebuild the community. I get that some see community building as a simple thing, while others see it as retention. Perhaps there should be a definition of community building, but Mozilla has a ton of communities, and each community is different in the sense of interaction, communication, and project. One of the main outcomes that I would like to see is less hate, distraught, and a decline in fault-finding. Realistically, this can’t be achieved in a week’s time, but it paves the route and opens the discussion.

I absolutely agree with how precious SUMO time and that is why this isn’t being rushed, but a huge amount of emphasis is being put on it so that it occurs. This will be different than all hands, it’s not a place to socialize and have drinks. It’s going to be serious preparation and work. Every person’s time is precious, and I understand that there is ongoing work for the SUMO team. However, that is why this is being carefully coordinated and planned. We absolutely don’t want the team to be extremely off track with their work just so that this event happens.


(Noah) #6

Thanks everyone for giving your thoughts. I’m a bit late to the party but I’ll respond to some of the mentioned points:

Event cost & attendee workload:
With regards to cost, I am fiscally conservative and make great efforts to save money whenever I can. But to say that we must have some tangible work in the form of actual contributions made during the event is kind of short sighted. Our contributors already contribute on a daily, weekly, monthly basis year round. This event could be viewed as an investment in them to keep them engaged in that consistent work. Regardless of however much work actually comes out of it, it’s a small sacrifice I would say if the outcome is contributors who feel connected to Mozilla & SUMO again. “Connected to Mozilla’s mission” if you want fancier language. :stuck_out_tongue:

Besides, how would we quantify what is a success? It’s a short amount of time to do a massive amount of work. Which is always ever-changing within the world of Mozilla. You could do a lot of work then have it undone when UX or another department renames a popular menu item causing all localized screenshots & text to have to be redone. Major pain in the you know what. :wink: Better not to focus primarily on “how much can you do in this small amount of time?”. It shouldn’t feel like a time-sensitive all-or-nothing mission. Otherwise you’ll have people feeling like: image

Staff time:
We have some significant downtime now that the Lithium migration has been stopped. So that just leaves negotiations for an increase in SUMO’s budget to hire developers for Kitsune which I don’t think are done every day in an intense manner as you’re suggesting. So this frees up our staff’s time much more than before. And obviously there’s also a focus on getting KB content updated & localized in time for Firefox 57’s release by their respective managers.

Contributors: Social butterflies or hermits?
While it may seem like many of our contributors like being low key or not very sociable, there are those who would like to meet others & participate in events. The All Hands applications would be a excellent source on gauging how many SUMO contributors have wanted to attend a meetup but were not chosen. Maybe a SUMO admin could ask if that data is accessible for this purpose? :slight_smile:

Regional meetups:
Not all communities have enough contributors to form a regional meetup. It would only be 1 to 3 people max in some cases. Like with TimC & MattAU in Australia or Nikki by her lonesome in Croatia. The aim is to bring together contributors who would not be able to host these events on their own due to too little participation in their own communities (or are intimidated by the thought of organizing one) and allow them to attend an actual event. For most, this would be their first ever Mozilla event after years of contributing to SUMO.

I think if the event were hosted in a visa friendly country (somewhere in Europe maybe), I believe that will maximize the event’s availability to everyone including contributors in the smallest communities. U.S. hosted events have always been hard for contributors to attend due to visa issues where the country thinks the contributor is trying to “escape” to live. I don’t think that’s a concern if the event is held in a country closer to the contributor’s country.

With all that said, I think SUMO meetups should be a thing. Especially since we’re the (forgotten) glue that holds Mozilla’s products together. :wink:


(Tim Casey) #7

I believe that we do need to have some kind of ramp-up event for 57. It’s been quite a challenging year for a lot of the team. Taking some time to re energize and reflect on just how well the team did with the (dare I call it a crisis?) earlier in the year I think is important especially before such a huge milestone release.

With regards to online vs offline. As most are aware, due to my timezone, Mozilla events and meetings are usually held between 2am and 5am for me, so I usually end up watching replays (and waiting eagerly for the week’s joke!) on AirMo, so I’d probably miss out on most of the event if we did it that way. That being said, I think i’d feel uncomfortable with Mozilla paying for my travel as Australia is a long way away from anywhere so costs could be prohibitive.

So that leaves a Regional meetup I guess? I’m not sure how many other sumoers we have from AU and NZ active right now, could be cozy :slight_smile:


(Michał Dziewoński) #8

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspectives on the subject.

In order to formulate an extensive response from our team and move the discussion forward, let me reiterate the main points made by you in the thread so far and what we have discussed as a team:

  • The community needs a bit more “love and strengthening” in order to make sure there is no more “post-Lithium blues” and everyone is on board with the current technical situation of SUMO.
  • The 57 release requires preparing a strategy for SUMO support as users will be faced with rather serious changes to their daily Firefox experience - and this is likely to have an impact on the daily traffic and user needs after the release.
  • Kitsune as our current platform (and the 57 release platform as well) should to be reviewed and future-proofed - and a group gathering could facilitate that.
  • For the majority of people in the community it could be the first Mozilla event after years of contributing to SUMO.
  • Regional events may not be the one-size-fits-all solution for a variety of reasons.

We have also looked at all the concerns presented in the thread and discussed in team meetings our team’s perspective on and experience with events.

Our thoughts on the subject at the moment are as follows:

  1. There has not been a vocal response to the proposal from a number of contributors large enough to make it clear that the idea has a lot of support within the community.
  2. Organizing a big event would require a lot of one-off logistic and a considerable budget. We think we could direct these resources into events connected directly with the release of Firefox 57.
  3. For the foreseeable future (think: until the end of 2017) Kitsune remains in maintenance mode. We should hold off discussions and planning/brainstorming about the platforms future until 2018.

ACTION 1: We need to learn more about our community’s preferences and wishes regarding events (or community building opportunities in general). Please take this survey and help us learn more about your event preferences.

ACTION 2: We need to know more about all the globally planned events for the 57 release and get as many SUMO contributors connected using those events as focal points and opportunities to promote what SUMO is doing among Mozillians. This would have a direct impact on the success of version 57 and on making our community stronger and more engaged.

ACTION 3: We want to make it easier for contributors everywhere to find or organize their own Mozilla events in the next 12 months - varying in scale, goals, and character. To achieve this, we want to revise and improve our “SUMO Event Kit” to make it a “one stop” place for anyone interested in finding or organizing a Mozilla (or SUMO) event that they would like to participate in.

We would like to continue exploring the idea of getting Mozillians together for the sake of great support, camaraderie, and a good time spent making the web a better (and easier to understand/navigate) place for our users. For this to happen, we are counting on your voices and involvement in shaping this exploration on a larger scale.

Looking forward to hearing from as many of you as possible!

Helpfully Yours,
the SUMO Team