Mission Driven Mozillians - Leadership Principle 6

This is the discussion section for Mozilla’s Volunteer Leadership Principles & Practices. Please read the original post before participating.

6. Community Experts and Technical Experts should, where possible, be separate but equal leadership roles

  • Mozilla should value and recognize them equally
  • Both should be considered “leaders”
  • Both should have a minimum capability in the other skill set (community management skills & technical skill)
  • All community expert leaders should be aligned across all Mission-Driven Mozillians Functional Areas
  • Technical Experts and Community Experts should balance each other and work together

Please respond to the following question:

What would implementation of this principle & practices look like in your community or area?

Here are a few more questions to help you think about implementation:

  • How do we identify if a leader has the capabilities to fulfill a role?
  • What do we do with people who identify as both technical and community experts?
  • What should the relationship be between community experts and technical experts?

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Hey there,

I plan on taking a knack at this and sharing thoughts on how each of the principles are organized with a little input from my experience with the SUMO community forums and social support, in which I mainly hide my ostrich head.

How I see technical experts defined for SUMO:
These are users that exhibit a vast knowledge of the Product and use that knowledge to help users having issues with the technical products of Mozilla.
These users are also participating in code changes in the kitsune platform, in the past.
These are also specialized users that file bugs and know how to use the technical platforms of other coding communities that Mozilla depends on, like, github, bugzilla, etc

How I see community experts defined for SUMO:
These roles include, but are not excluded to: Locale Leads, Moderators for the different language forums we host, as well as external sites that host their own support forums and link to support.mozilla.org for information (ex. /r/firefox, previously mozillazine, and locale sites that are hosted by leadership from other parts of the organization that also participate in SUMO).

That aside, I believe that they currently do not have equal leadership roles. I think that the knowledge of both are specialized, however I know that some of the technical leaders do not care much about community discussions or organized processes. They just like helping users and being tech nerds. I can assume they have leadership, however they are still governed by the same Forum Rules and Guidelines that have been, and are being revised that they agreed to when they started to contribute to the support forums.

I see them as equally important, but do not want to force any labels of leadership on them in anyway. This may risk their future participation.

I want to be able to equally drive participation in both of these expert tracks as individual personas of the SUMO community and keep the open ease of participation without the daunting, eventuality you will be named a leader if they don’t want it.

That aside, how roles of leadership are defined should not make one person better than the other, but simply be recognized for their talents.

If there is a need for a Technical Expert Role in product support in the forums to meet this recognition requirement for leadership across the organization, I can name the contributors on my fingers from the top contributor list, however, I am not sure of their interest. I would love to experiment with that. For example, there is the “Advanced Firefox Troubleshooting” forum that is used by 3 people, however the people I expect to participate stick to their ‘Top Contributor’ tasks - just answering questions.

I read this article around community management a couple of months ago that I think does a really good job in describing the relationship between two colleagues that are recognized equally for their skills (technical and community labels can be applied to the Batman and Robin ideology they use) - I would be curious what you think:

Therefore, I think the relationship between them is they both have the same purpose - to help Mozilla - however not all of the leaders by your definition here exhibit that. Anyhow it proves your main point that they are equal in value of making decisions, but I still think, outside of leadership that the same value should be placed on new users.

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I believe this shall become apparent within a couple weeks of working with a Mozillian. But as @rmcguigan says some don’t even want to approach to “leadership” position even accidentally so do not try and force one unto them.

I don’t believe that there’s really a need to do anything with them, maybe give them the opportunity to try both sides and then let them decide personally which path they want to pursue. I’ve got the feeling that somebody that has the mix of the two might be extremely valuable to a community.

I believe it should be a healthy respectful relation from one Mozillian to another within the confines of the Community Participation Guidelines.

Through his experience, not only in Mozilla it can be in his professional/personal life, he must really enjoy dealing with others and make a group of people moving together for an objective. Almost needs be considered his availability as someone might have all potential to be a leader and enjoys this role but has professional commitments for example that will prevent him from assuming the role.

I think that having both roles can be cumbersome at some point, it’s difficult to assume. He must choose one of them but before officially taking his role, he can mentor one or several people on the other one so that he “passes” his abilities to others and that way we don’t loose the skills

They must consider themselves at equal level as Mozilla is nothing without technical expertise and technical would also be nothing without the community so they must work as a team. They should also have “official” meetings as they need each other so each has to be aware of the accomplishments and needs of the other