Getting past it, moving forward - An open participation activity


A while back I read a post entitled Making it easier to contribute and it got me thinking, especially the line “They simply give up because they find participating too hard.”. The idea that there are some great people that could contribute massively to Mozilla “simply giving up” is something that I find very sad, but it is also something that I am sure quite a few people can relate to - I can!

Whether it be school, work or a global open source community, there tends to be a point at which people stop having fun and question what they are doing. Sadly, there are people that make the decision to step back from contributing, but there are many of us that refocus and continue. If we could understand some of the issues that people face that make people stop and think as well as the reasons/approaches taken by people that continue, we could help prevent good people from leaving.

…and this is where I would like your help:

If you have any experience of thinking of leaving Mozilla, and deciding to stay, please write to me with details of:

  • What made you want to stop contributing?
  • What made you want to stay?

The are two key rules I would like people to stick to:

  1. Do not get personal - I am not interested/do not want to see people “blame” other individuals.
  2. I am not interested in commercial project decisions. I too was sad when Sunbird stopped, but I appreciate that this was a commercial decision.

People are free to write to me by email (in my Mozillians profile), private message on this Discourse, through SUMO and via IRC. I have no problem with and fully appreciate anonymity, but please keep the language clean and stick to the rules mentioned above. Please can I have responses back by 25th June.

This is a really positive exercise that could help me, us, everyone understand what makes people want back away from contributing, but also what are the key things that make people want to stay.

Thank you for your time, appreciate your help.

Hey @plwt … great initiative.

@couci is curating an initiative on our team right now to get a better and more regular pulse on participation at Mozilla. To this end, we just did a survey asking some similar questions to the ones you posed (though not exactly the same), and got about 400 responses.

Would you be interested in looking through some of the qualitative information to extract trends? Could be a great way to align efforts.


Hi @george

Thank you for your comment. More than happy to look through the existing data and bring responses I get alongside that.

I have a background that has involved looking for trends in unstructured data and have been looking for an excuse to try out/repurpose some software that could a) help bring our two initiatives together and b) help display the information in a meaningful way.

@couci, feel free to get in touch and we can chat through next steps.

Hey @plwt
nice to hear you want to help. I’ll dig into the data the next 2 weeks and will certainly ping you for help :slightly_smiling:

Hi konstantina

More than happy to help look at the data, look forwards to hearing from you.