Feedback regarding the reps program in India

It is not necessarily a problem at onboarding that causes reps to not remove themselves from the list. There could be various reasons. For example,

  • Difficulty in removing themselves from the list
  • Difficulty in coming back on the list if removed
  • Not knowing when to remove oneself from the list
  • The list being much more than just a list of active mobilizers/doers.

So, there could be solutions that are not obvious.

As far as the omboarding goes, yes, it has to be faster and easier. Not slower and stricter.

The reason could be embarrassing. But then, aren’t there many embarrassing things everyone has to face. Pull Requests are publicly made. Bug reports are publicly made. One may say these are not about the individual’s personal qualities. Fair enough.

But then, is there a way to make things transparent without the specifics of each application being made transparent. Can there be a list of people who applied and people who are pending and people who were rejected? Can there be statistics that can be released? Can there be objective ways one can be rejected/accepted so that “reasons” are removed from the equation altogether? Those, I think, are questions worth asking.

Summary information (for rejection) could be quite useful but I wonder if publicly identifying LOSERS is helpful?

I don’t know if people who don’t get into reps program are “losers”.

(I know three people who are champions although they were rejected from reps program)

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Hey Akshay,

I became a Rep about 7.5 months ago and while I haven’t talked a lot about my experience as a Rep, I do see this as an opportunity to give my take on all the good/bad things you’ve said about the Program. I thought of ignoring this at first, but I felt the need to answer this since I saw no other Rep taking a stand here and I don’t imagine my Community as one of those where questions go unanswered.

I’m not entirely sure what happened there, but I’ve been there. An application I endorsed got rejected as well. Not just that, I have been rejected two times before I “cracked the code” and realized that not Documenting my activities in a clear way was the issue. I corrected that, and I got in! Now I know that the replies aren’t very pleasing where they say that your experience isn’t enough, even after years of Contribution, and I’d say that it could be better.

Honestly, that’s exactly why I got into the FSA program and I happen to fell in love with the mission we have! I often talk about Mozilla’s mission and make sure that everyone reads Mozilla’s Manifesto before they get in. It’s a choice for you to stay, you can take the title and go away - I’m fine with that too.

I completely agree.

I don’t think it is in their hands. I also feel that it’s unfair to comment on someone else’s life and how they handle it. In a perfect world, even I would want to do this all my life, but I wouldn’t know when life slips past me and I wouldn’t be able to focus this way. People grow old, priorities change.

People may even want to fight for this mission, but we don’t know what goes on in a person’s life. After all, the Reps Program is a Volunteer role and so are the responsibilities around it.

stop being so arrogant.

  • I have no idea who this is addressed to.

stop rejecting sincere contributors for the reps program.

  • I think the rejections could be more specific, or there can be more discussion around it.

stop this secrecy around the reps program.
make the events related bugs open. (Why can’t I see how much money is being requested for events? Why can’t I see how much swag is being requested and why they aren’t getting shipped?)

  • I think we could go for that, I really don’t think what’s the issue with this being open to all. If not everyone, the Reps at least. You can even ask for getting cc’d for that bug if you’re involved in that event.

make the applications to be rep bug open (Why can’t I see who endorsed a rep)

  • I don’t see the need for anyone to see someone else’s application, or even who endorsed who. I’d like to ask you, why do you need that information?

make the other bugs that have nothing to do with NDA-ed information open.

  • can you give me a couple of examples?

ask for feedback about the reps program to the wider community. (I was rude enough to start a thread here. Not all people would be)

  • I don’t think this is rude, asking questions is a good thing.

have better accountability structures for reps

  • I agree with that, the role is not very well defined along with what are we accountable for. It could be more clear with examples as well.

transparency to the community (like opening the bugs above)

  • Since it’s not one Mozilla India anymore, within the regional communities it can be open within.

open forum to discuss issues in the reps program (the suggestion now is to email the reps council. The reps council is elected by the reps themselves and the emails that are sent there are like they are sent to black holes)

  • I don’t think that’s true. I have gotten replies to the issues that I raised.

I’m glad that someone is talking about their issues openly. I want to invite you to become a Rep and I’m pretty sure that you can make a difference. I’m committed to doing as much as I can, for as long as I can dedicate my time to this program and look for solutions instead of problems and implement them.

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I missed off the :wink:
I also know several amazing Mozillians who were rejected the first time they applied.

Thank you for not ignoring. I believe the greatest insult someone can be given is ignoring them. As that dehumanizes them. Thank you for giving me that respect.

I believe there shouldn’t be such a “code” to “crack”. Even if there is, that should be public knowledge.

What you do is amazing. I don’t believe at all that everyone has to have the same amount of energy towards the reps program all the time. My point is that we maybe doing something wrong when a lot of reps are not having energy towards the reps program. Perhaps we make people wait too long? Like you had to apply thrice. That’s valuable time lost as not rep. Imagine by the time you became a rep if your life priorities had changed. Could that be happening to a lot of people?

To the entire reps program. The reps program rejecting people like you twice is proof enough of what I call “arrogance”. A humble program would have “accept” by default. A humble program will try to find reasons to accept people than find reasons to reject people. A humble program will find ways to make all applicants acceptable.

That’s a good first step.

I second this.

It is a general trend in transparency. The question should not be on me. The question should be “why hide?” One point I’ve heard is that people get personally attacked for rejecting applications. If things like that are happening, we need to find ways around that, not make things secret.

Another point is what @Spike1 makes above.

To give you a specific example why it is fair to ask who endorses whom, I’ve seen nepotism in the reps program. I’ve seen someone get their girlfriend on the reps program and fly them around through reps program. People will ask me “report that to council”. But that’s not the point. We should build systems where such things aren’t possible. It is wrong to blame individuals.

I don’t know the answer to this. The point is raised in the general bargain of making all things open by default.

True. Here’s @r_qDYrxoJ3X9S_ltyv6BEiGw’s post about something like that.

Do you not see that as a bigger problem? Some people get replies and some people don’t. Who knows who doesn’t get replies? That’s what calls for an open forum.

There are plenty of solutions being suggested. It is when people look at solutions as problems that they can’t see them as solutions.

I don’t know why I have to join the reps program to do any of the things I’m doing for Mozilla. I do see reps as an open program. And therefore, for me to suggest modifications to the program, I don’t have to be a rep.

Making this open will be an example for other applicants to know whether they meet the requirements, resulting in people screening their own applications.

It is a form of feedback, there’s no shame in being rejected for whatever the reason be if it’s a valid reason.

I dont see how rejecting an application can be embarassing to the assessor.

Providing anonymous feedback and acceptance status would help here. The assessor is not identifiable and they just mention their feedback as “Evaluator1: Their feedback. Evaluator2: Their feedback …”

Applicants will think twice before lying on their application if it is made open and the evaluation is done openly.

Something like this would be hindered if the application process is transparent.

This should be a part of the onboarding process, if it is not already.

The reps have to go through a full-fledged application process again.

Can you give examples of what you mean by personal qualities?

Why shouldn’t anybody be able to see this information?
What’s in an application that is to be hidden from the public?
Why should anybody be concerned about everybody knowing who they’re endorsing? If anybody wants it to be a secret, there is something concerning here.

I agree, that should be something which could’ve been asked. That’s why I said that the replies could’ve been better.

That’s a very valid point, but it’s not completely clear to the reviewer as well. When I rethink it, I think that the application questions could ask more and better questions.

While I get it, and would love to say yes. A solution is to try to gain more visibility as a Mozillian so that it’s much more clear. The very fact that the reviewer was unaware of my work as a Mozillian, and I had to write it in a document add all the links with the dates could have been avoided. I don’t expect them to know who I am; it can be more about my work as a Volunteer which would get me to become a Representative.

It’s an application, more like an interview, which cannot be in open. Why hide seems like a valid question generally, but the whole Reps application is a process where during the 3-month probation period you go back-and-forth on your plans and discuss progress. I don’t mind if that’s open to anyone right now, but I would have then. I would have been a bit scared to be judged on “how my vision of the Community is? what if it’s wrong? will people talk about it? did i not work enough to become a Rep?”

I am definitely not in favour of the Reps Application being open to all.

But that’s true for anywhere, no? That happens with jobs as well, A refers his girlfrend B to get them there with a salary hike and everything. Getting in is not an issue as long as your work is priority, abusing the Community fund is not okay. If that still happens, I’m pretty sure that the review team can and will take care of it.

Systems are meant to streamline it, people are meant to safeguard it.

That’s a good example, definitely something like that.

If that’s the case really, it makes sense.

For suggesting modifications you may not but for implementation, you should.

It’s an application, more like an interview, which cannot be in open. Why hide seems like a valid question generally, but the whole Reps application is a process where during the 3-month probation period you go back-and-forth on your plans and discuss progress. I don’t mind if that’s open to anyone right now, but I would have then. I would have been a bit scared to be judged on “how my vision of the Community is? what if it’s wrong? will people talk about it? did i not work enough to become a Rep?” Nobody should be judged on that, or feel like they’re being judged on something that’s no one else’s business.

I said that I don’t see the need. I’m not protesting anything here. :slight_smile:
Everyone’s not opaque, Shreevari.

We’re too much getting sucked into the existing process that we fail to see the bigger picture here. What is the reps program? It is a program for mozillians to gain access to tools that are required for efficiently mobilizing communities.

Why should there be an interview for this? What is the purpose of an interview?

In Reps SOP it is called a screening. Who can do a screening? Who should do the screening?

If reps are community mobilizers, should they also be accountable to the same communities? Should they be open to the same communities?

Look at US Presidential election. Do candidates talk about their plans and promise things to the community they are accountable to?

If potential reps feel scared about being judged about their vision of the community, how will they make that vision happen in the community?

Here is principle 3 from volunteer leadership principles.

Principle 3. Leadership should be accountable

Practice:

  • All leaders should have clarity in their roles
  • All leaders should agree to a standard by which they can be held
  • Staff & community should have a way to hold leaders accountable
  • Mozilla should enforce the Community Participation Guidelines consistently and strictly
  • All leaders should be validated by the community members who are directly working in the same area
  • All leaders should be aware that they represent the organization
  • All leaders should follow a shared framework for decision making
  • All leaders should be active and stay active for the duration of their term

How much of that is true for reps? Are reps not volunteer leaders?

How can reps be “validated by the community members who are directly working in the same area” if their applications are not open?

How can community “have a way to hold leaders accountable” if their vision is not public?

Are reps not leaders?

(I’m extremely tempted to create another thread to ask that the volunteer leadership principles be applied to the reps program, but I’ll desist from doing so till a week from now)

I don’t know if I will be heard any differently if I make these comments as a rep. I am talking about design of the program itself and the implementation of these things have to be done by program leaders.

Yes, the community will definitely talk about it, but they will talk to you about it. This opens the gates for open feedback. It’s essential if the applicant wants to learn and improve.
Here’s an example of a canvas that Open Leaders create along with their vision and invite feedback in the open. I think OL is proof enough that an applicant would benefit from open feedback and move towards losing insecurities.

This is a question that applicants should ask themselves before applying. They can view other applications and figure out if they have worked enough yet to apply…but the applications are not open currently! Previous applications will act as a reference to new applicants and guide them better.

When I asked “Why should anybody be concerned about everybody knowing who they’re endorsing?”, I didn’t mean you, I meant to say why should anybody be scared to endorse in the open. Sorry if I was unclear about this.

I didn’t mean to say everyone is opaque. If everybody would love the world to know what they think about a reps applicant, there’s no harm in making the endorsements public.

Hi everyone,

I want to clarify the topic about applications.

When we started the program, application bugs were open and anyone was able to read and comment them.

I want to point out that one of the biggest problems we had in the past is that people were abusing these applications being open to bully the applicant (so they retire their application) or the people reviewing it (so they approve it). This was unacceptable and Council decided to close the applications, this was really not helping and frustrating everyone.

During the past two years the council and and on-boarding team have been improving the process to make it easier and more aligned with the program goals.

The current process is also optimized to:

  • Provide a clear criteria for applying (which is less strict that in the past).
  • Have an on-boarding team to evaluate applications based on objective requirements (instead of opinions) and be able to explain decisions.
  • Commitment to orient people who don’t meet the requirements to grow and be able to fit them in the future.
  • Help the applicant run through an automated learning process before fully become a rep (training, orientation period and warm-up activities)
  • Focus our efforts on the people that showed commitment by doing the training and the warmup activities.

All this process has always been documented to provide the right expectations, if someone applying doesn’t agree with the initial evaluation, Council has always been there to listen and explain, based on the process (not just feelings or opinions)

If you have suggestion about how to improve the process, we would like to know, but I would suggest not to jump into quick solutions without fully understanding what’s the current problem and why it is a problem, or based on one case you disagree with (which I invite to ask Council if you were the applicant and you didn’t understand the resolution).

Cheers.

How did council arrive at the conclusion that making bugs private is the best way to avoid bullying? Isn’t that running away from the problem of bullying? Imagine there is bullying that happens on reps discourse. Would the discourse be made private?

I imagine back then the community participation guidelines was not in place. Now that the CPG is in place, bullying can be unacceptable.

Will that not address the problem the council was trying to solve by making the bugs private?

Would you be willing to discuss how these criteria can be improved? If yes,

“The applicant needs to be active within Mozilla for at least 6 months”

I think this is getting applied in a manner that makes the criteria very strict. What is the purpose of this criteria? Is it to ensure that people are familiar with mozilla’s workings? If that’s the case, how would you want to measure this “activity” for 6 months? Currently people are being asked for links to prove that they have been active in the last 6 months. (I think that is a misreading of the criteria - the wiki reads active for 6 months, not active in the last 6 months).

What if links aren’t practical? Aren’t there other ways to prove someone has been engaging with mozilla for 6 months?

How is the on-boarding team able to assess the criteria from a distance? Do on-boarding team have members from local communities who can vouch for the applicant’s activity or knowledge about mozilla’s mission?

Is this happening in real? Does on-boarding team have the time/resources to effectively orient people who don’t meet the requirements to grow and be able to fit them in the future?

Are they explaining their decisions elaborately such that people are able to instantly understand why they were rejected?

I suppose this is good. I’ve no experience to talk about this.

The documentation may not be up to date (“Currently we are planning to run this screening every 2 weeks.”) or relevant.

These are all suggestions on improving itself that are coming. It is based on my understanding of the problem. If you think there’s no problem and I think there’s a problem, there’s a disagreement. I think good leadership would proactively reach out to find out if there’s actually a problem or not.

I invite you to ask the community (of mozillians) if there is a problem or you don’t understand what the problem is.

We tried to solve this for years, and the only effective solution was to create a safe space for people to apply and get feedback, when someone becomes a Rep is public and we have enabled channels to ask when you don’t agree with the process.

Consider putting yourself into other people’s shoes, you might feel safe in an open space, but this is not the case for a lot of people with different personality types or personal situations. Some people will never apply to the program if they know people can bully them (even when in the past we were shutting down these behaviors, they already intimidated people).

What is the problem you are trying to solve by suggesting we should open application bugs?

I’m hearing about transparency and accountability, and I think that can be achieved without having to expose certain private iterations between people that we know are very likely to be abused by others.

Let’s try to keep this about the problem space.

Cheers.

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BTW, I got feedback from some people that this topic has become too long to read, follow and too many topics are involved.

I would suggest someone to create at least 3 new topics (one per topic we are talking here):

  1. Application and on-boarding
  2. Budget system
  3. Program visibility and accountability

From my point of view these topics should have:

  • A summary of the questions and answers provided
  • What are the questions that are still open?
  • What are the problems that we want to solve for each?

Cheers.

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The problem is about transparency and accountability itself.

How are reps accountable to the community at the moment? Do reps have KPI? Is it mandatory for reps to communicate their goals to the community?

How can community hold reps accountable when the community doesn’t know what to hold the reps accountable for?

Because if every Mozillian would be able to do all of it, it would be chaos. There are around 11,000 Mozillians all around the world. Reps don’t just gain access, they earn it through their contributions towards the Community as a Mozillian as against to being completely open where you can just ask for a Swag or Budget Request. While I understand that the Reps Program has brought a few gate-keeping opportunities, it’s much more organized and structured and well, recognizing these Community Leaders to help them do better is important which cannot be done among 11,000 Mozillians, but it can be done among 240 Reps.

I’m not sure if you know this but people who are in the Onboarding team are trained to Screen new applications and the team from Mozilla usually monitors all of it.

They should be, that’s why I am in favor of accountable roles. Not everything is a mess, really. The accountability part seems like it is, it’s not a very well defined role.

I’m not sure what are you trying to point out here. They do have debates about their plans and policies, there are democratic debates going on for the last few months. If you’re saying that screening or the planning process is wrong, I would say that it’s a great identifier for leaders.

Exactly, and that’s why it shouldn’t be open for all. I felt more confident when it’s 1-on-1.

Most of it is true for Reps. As far as I know, I’m focused on building more and more Community Leaders who love the Mozilla mission and can help build the Community with the values that Mozilla stands for.

The same answer for both of these, A review framework can help keep this in check, but a lot of Reps Mentors have gone inactive at the same time which doesn’t help anyone.

Reps are leaders who are driven by a collective mission.

Criticism is the backbone of an Open Community. It is after all, for the people, by the people.
I’m here talking as a Rep and how I see it is that a few of these questions are very valid, and I have discovered that a Volunteer-run Community is a two-way street. Even if they fix the framework, it would still need sincere volunteers to help them work for the betterment of the Community. To keep those Volunteers in check, we need all the Mentors active and to remove the inactive ones and make space for new ones to come in, the Council is taking steps towards it. The problem with removing inactive Contributors is that even the Leaders can’t be too tight with them since it’s a Volunteer role after all.