Mission-driven Mozillians & SUMO

mission-mozillians

(Michał Dziewoński) #1

Hello, Mozilla Staff & Community!

This is the thread to discuss, ask questions, and work collaboratively on fleshing out the answers for the Mission-driven Mozillians initiative, as conducted by active members of SUMO.

Before posting here for the first time, please:

  1. Read this introductory and explanatory blog post.
  2. Read this in-depth document with questions (for each of the Principles - and the general ones, too)
  3. Read the posts previous to yours in this thread.

Once you’re ready - join the discussion in this thread and let us know what answers and questions you have regarding this project in the context of SUMO.

If you want to follow and participate in the general discussion across all of Mozilla, please plug into this thread

We need your input and engagement to ensure a good future for Mozillian communities around the world.

The deadline for this discussion is 11th of December.


(Michal Stanke) #2

Hi @vesper.

I am reading through the posts and I am confused how Mozillians should benefit from this initiative. As you have been to the meeting in Berlin, do you see some specific areas this will help us improve around SUMO or solve some issues we potentially have now or could have in the near future?


#3

Hi @mstanke

I am not speaking for @vesper, but I was also at the meeting in Berlin and I have a few thoughts.

I think you are asking a very fair question, but one that also gets to the core of the issue facing contributors at Mozilla.

There are currently several different teams of non-coding contributors adding value to Mozilla’s software and mission, but having different levels of support and different experiences as a result - some good, some bad. For example, an area may have a better diversity plan in place, but not so good at recognising significant effort. Others areas may be better at supporting technical contributors, but not so good at organising events.

This work is currently focused on getting key standards and expectations in place across all teams for those likely to be working across different functions. I appreciate concerns that SUMO is being forced to fit a shape, but the aim is to build on the best of all areas. In doing so, we can work better across different teams, sharing ideas, knowledge and ideas.

I hope this helps explain things. Whilst I am keen that SUMO remains SUMO, a global, hardworking support function for MoCo, this work could really help us.

Please contribute ideas and thoughts and questions to this work so that it delivers for everyone.


(Michał Dziewoński) #4

Hi @mstanke!

Like @Seburo said above, this is about “solving for” the wider collection of communities of different sizes, shapes, and forms across Mozilla, SUMO included. We have been invited to discuss and contribute our ideas towards better ways of including non-coding Mozillians in community coordination.

The project is not SUMO-specific, but can definitely help SUMO with the following:

  • opening up new learning and developing opportunities for current Mozillians interested in community building and project management
  • uniting current and future Mozillians around a strong core of well-defined community principles
  • making it easier for Mozillians to find non-coding projects and resources they want to get engaged with
  • giving back to communities in a structured and transparent manner

I hope this is helpful.


(Jagan) #5

Can you please moderate the comments in this document. I see a few spam comments.


(Michał Dziewoński) #6

Thank you for bringing this up! That has been solved.


(Michał Dziewoński) #7

Hey there!

In order to help you all take part in the discussion and get more focus, I would like to outline the approach I think SUMO could take to this project:

At the moment, we are a rather loose group of helpful people with different degrees of participation and engagement in Mozilla’s mission through various types of contributions to SUMO. All such Mozillians, using the support site to help others, form our “SUMO community” - but in reality there’s so much more to being a Mozillian that it would be quite limiting to try and work only within that single concept space. In order to support (heh) ourselves and any future Mozillians wanting to help Mozilla and its users through support methods, whatever they may be, we need to step a “level up” and think of everyone involved as Mozillians, at all times.

We definitely want to keep you all satisfied with your contributions, recognized for them, and involved in shaping Mozilla’s future - not only in support activities.

Moreover, it would be great to have more people contributing across Mozilla - and also through SUMO! These folks may come from other corners of Mozilla or from “the outside”. Regardless of their origin, we want them to feel included, supported, and aware of what Mozilla (and SUMO) is about. This is where the presence of experienced contributors is

We also want to make sure you remember that there is a global community, with many people and resources, that you can (and should, if you feel so) be an active member of and participate in.

On the other hand, if your preferred way of participating in Mozilla’s mission through support is “going solo”, you are more than welcome to do so - but you’ll have to remember that there are others with identical goals, even if your methods and ideas differ. This is where admins step in and make sure there is not too much friction. This is why we want to have this project as transparent as possible.

Mozilla’s mission is our overarching (set of) goal(s) that we are aspire to keep going towards. Because of the nature of the internet (forever changing), we may spend more time on that journey than at the finishing line - but through projects like this one, we want to ensure that the journey is a goal in itself - and that it is a fair, fun, and positive experience to as many people as possible.

OK, enough of the pep talk :wink: Let’s look at the principles in the context of SUMO - and remember that we’re thinking “outwards”, not “inwards” here.

Clarification: since we are looking for a term to substitute “leadership”/“leader”, I propose using “community coordination”/“community coordinators” instead. This is just a proposal, so do not get attached to those terms (but let me know if you like them!).

Principle 1: Community coordination should be renewable
SUMO usually works in the rhythm of releases, so checking in for coordination needs every one or two releases sounds like a healthy practice. We want the the check-ins and the renewals be transparent and clear. For this, we need to have a defined set of expectations and task a coordinator for SUMO activities works with and is held accountable for. More on that below.

Principle 2: Community coordination should be distributed
Ideally, to make sure the mission continues successfully, we want to avoid all the decision power and responsibility being put upon the shoulders of a single person (or two people). Wherever possible, a group of Mozillians working together on a single goal (for example, localizing a Knowledge Base into their language) should share responsibilities and decision power. This way, we can be certain that things get done and nobody burns out because of stress. At SUMO, we sometimes lack additional voices and helping hands for some parts of Mozilla’s mission, so making us a more global presence and growing our ranks through this project is necessary.

Principle 3: Community coordinators should be accountable
It’s easy to say what has to happen at SUMO for it to be successful - articles need to be localized, questions need to be answered, users need to be helped. But it’s a bit harder to say what the people who want to make that happen in groups should do in order to make the groups meet those goals. Are we talking about events? Are we talking about creating documentation? Maybe it’s about 1:1 mentoring? Whatever that is, we want to be sure we have the right set of requirements and tasks for those coordinating SUMO (to make it work better, faster, stronger…), so that each release (or two) we can say that the actions taken had a positive influence on Mozilla’s mission in general.

Principle 4: Community coordination should be diverse & inclusive
For this perspective, we are already in a very good spot. SUMO contributors are from all walks of life, places, cultures, and types of humour. We are going to make it even better through our SUMO community guidelines (coming your way quite soon), but at the moment there is not much more to remember, other than the Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines that we’re all using as Mozillians, every day.

Principle 5: Community coordination should be consistent
This part is what I think is the most important bit for us, as we have been mostly focused on doing "SUMO things the “SUMO way”. If we want to participate in a more global and varied community of Mozillians, we need to share the ways we do things and learn from others how they do theirs - and the same goes for those of us who coordinate what we do on any group level. I am really curious to hear what proposals and ideas the global Mozillian community has in this space, and I am sure we can learn and share a lot of useful information through this project.

At the same time, I also hope that as part of this principle, we can make using Mozilla’s vast resources easy for everyone involved in its mission. Great events, swag, fun, and opportunities to grow professionally (or as a hobby) with the open web for everyone out there… We can make it happen!

Principle 6: Community coordinators and technical coordinators should (where possible) be “separate but equal”
In SUMO’s context, “community coordinators” are those of us who get Mozillians together and “technical coordinators” are those of us who make sure the contributions submitted by Mozillians are reviewed and approved according to contribution standards we set for ourselves (“best answers” in forums, properly linked tweets via Twitter, Knowledge Base articles that are formulated and formatted accordingly for their language).

Both kinds of coordinators are equally important to us. We need Mozillians who pull us together and motivate us (but also talk about Mozilla to non-Mozillians) - and we need Mozillians who help keep agreed upon standards of excellence a reality. Those two rather different tasks sometimes require different skills (or equipment), and we want to make sure everyone participating in them has access to whatever is needed (within reason) and is treated with the same respect and attention as any other Mozillian engaged in coordinating people or tasks.

Whew, that’s me for now… I’ll keep thinking about practical approaches to those principles and listening to what you say in this thread or in the global discussion threads on this subject (with Mozillians usually not present around SUMO).

We’ve got a few days before Austin (where the discussion continues and results in 2018 goals) - make your voice and opinions heard!

Thank you :slight_smile:


(Mkll) #8

I wholeheartedly approve of this idea after having consulted with Michal (vesper) about my questions of this proposal. This will unify non-coding Mozillians and no one will be left behind in this. We are a community of good-doers.


#9

Hi @vesper

Thank you for writing that, wow!

I went into this work a little concerned that it was a concern for SUMO, but further to the meeting in Berlin I increasingly see this as a benefit to both SUMO and the wider Mozilla community. Whilst I am still waching for any downside risk, I think that a) SUMO contributors and the SUMO community can benefit from this work and b) whilst we tend to be quite happy, there are others in Mozilla who may wish to learn from us…and us from them.

I guess the biggest question I have right now is “What does not being renewed as a community coordinater look like?”. I hope we want people to feel involved and connected, but how do we not renew involvement without pushing people away?


#10

Hi all, I am here because of your mail message @vesper. Thank you! As a noob contributor, I thought some of my uninformed observations might be of some merit :thinking:

First of all, I have to admit that I feel slightly overwhelmed by the mass of information, but have tried my best to understand the latest proposals and why they are thought necessary.

How did I become involved at all? I saw the “Save the world” page:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/get-involved

Then, because I believe in the Mozzilla mission and have spent many years working as a technical author and technical specialist for electronics, computing and software, thought I might be able to offer some help with questions, especially as with the release of Firefox Quantum it seemed that the flood of new ones might overwhelm the current volunteers.

So, looking at the new proposals, I find a definition of the main problem in this statement in the SUMO blog:

... the way we try to organize communities at the moment is not the most efficient and best use of everyone’s time, energy, and other resources. We want to find a better way with your help and make it work for everyone’s benefit.

As I am still learning the structure of where everything is, what resources I can use, how to get help on helping, etc. as things are at the moment I have a lot to learn. It does seem to me though that there is a definite room for improvement, so what things do I think are some of the most important?

  1. Clear information structure. There is so much information, in so many different forms and in different areas I find it a bit overwhelming and so a good overview document with links to each type of information and sub-documents about that area would be very helpful. If there is such a document, but I just have not seen it, I apologize in advance. Perhaps it could automatically be emailed to new contributors?

  2. Leadership and Leaders. I think the terms “community coordination” and “community coordinators” are good names. It seems to me that for some roles, these people might need to be national, in others international, but most of all language specific (so “distributed” perhaps needs to be pretty flexible). As for a definition of the number of them required and what they should be responsible for, that probably needs a lot of discussion. It seems to me though that it would be helpful for people to be monitoring my contributions and mailing me with suggestions about how I could be helping better. As it is, I have been in mail contact with an experienced contributor (and moderator) who has given me some excellent assistance, but I had to contact him in the first place.

  3. Live chat facilities? I found a recent thread suggesting this:

It seems to be a very good idea to me as a way of speeding up response times with support issues. My thoughts on this are not of a “public” chat system for people to ask questions, make comments, etc. but rather a “private” chat facility for SUMO contributors so that they can ask quick questions of other contributors online to help quickly solve support questions. As for the chat client itself, I really do not mind what it is, but think it would be best if it was non-commercial and hosted by Mozilla, if at all possible.

There are many other things I could say, but I think this is more than sufficient for a first post, so hope that it is a valid contribution to the discussion?

Oh, I am not sure that “Mission-driven Mozillians” is such a great name, I would prefer something like “Mozilla Community Volunteer”.


#11

Hi everyone! I am also here because of the email I received from @vesper. I am happy about Mozilla taking this initiative. I agree with everything @RichardInEngland said.

I contribute for the French team on SUMO, but I live in the US. While I think the communication from the french community is great and my team leaders are really amazing people, I do feel a bit left out because of where I live. I would love to be more involved in some way with the SUMO community in general, not only with the French team. I would like if I were contacted more about events depending on where I live.

I feel like the content on SUMO is growing really fast now with all the mobile versions of Firefox and other new services and products. It is getting harder and harder to maintain and have all english and locale articles up to date. There is a need for some improvements and restructuring for more efficiency, but there is also a need for more people and volunteers.

What I think also needs improvements, to attract and keep more volunteers:

  1. A better structure of the information and the Mozilla Wiki. The information is all over the place, difficult to find and find back. There are so many websites, blogs and some locales have their own blogs, wiki and websites. I found it really difficult to know where to start as a contributor, and if I had read all the documentation I should have read.

  2. Better ways of communication. IRC feels a bit unwelcoming and is not that easy to set up and use. I think with real-time channels like Gitter, Slack, etc. for SUMO and other projects, contributors would feel a lot more at ease to ask questions.

  3. A better way of prioritizing (depending on release dates for example) which articles needs to be updated first.

  4. Not enough information is passed down to contributors. During the “Lithium” migration and back, there were long periods of time, were I didn’t know what was going on and what I should do. I would love if we could get more regular updates (email), like every week or month, about what’s going on in the SUMO community (and Pontoon too).

  5. More notifications with information about release dates, SUMO meetings and events would be great too. There is too much information we have to look up to know about it. And when we hear about it, it is often too late. I always get notifications and updates about what’s going on with the french community, but almost never from the SUMO community in general.

I hope my comments were helpful.


(Goofy) #12

Hi all,
hey there seems some moves are in progress to regulate and organize locale communities. :slightly_smiling_face:

My first reaction after reading the whole docs and principles was: I hope Mozilla do not intend to organize and regulate every locale group the same way… I am pretty sure some groups are self-organized or happily organized in such a way that it just cannot apply anywhere else in the world.
So I am glad this round of discussion (probably initiated in Berlin) is widely open to various continents and cultures and not northern-American biased as sometimes happens within Mozilla.
That said I have nothing against general principles such as sharing responsibilities and power (though I am just wondering what kind of power I have as a contributor :thinking: ) and renewing “leader” role (btw we call it “responsable” in French, which is smthg like “the person in charge”, with no added connotation of power)

Let me take every point and give my word

Principle 1: Community coordination should be renewable
SUMO usually works in the rhythm of releases, so checking in for coordination needs every one or two releases sounds like a healthy practice.

I have no problem with the renewal principle (and am ready to leave my current role as soon as anyone in the team tells me he/she wants to take it over) but I am surprised to read it could/should be done “every one or two releases”. Considering the rapid rolling release of Firefox, it means there should be a kind of permanent rotation. Even in locale communities where there are a good number of contributors, I am not sure there would be volunteers to accept more responsibilities every 6 months or so.

Principle 2: Community coordination should be distributed
Ideally, to make sure the mission continues successfully, we want to avoid all the decision power and responsibility being put upon the shoulders of a single person (or two people).

I agree completely.
I am “co-locale leader” for French on Sumo along with Imen, to whom I immediately asked to have the same status as me when I was asked myself to be “leader”.
But even when we are two, sometimes it is not enough :smile: when heavy flood of updates are rushing on Sumo with contributors that come and go, and yes there should be 3, 4 or event 5 co-leaders for every locale at the same time and not one after another.
Now there is a practical limit: it is not so easy to find more than 3 (?) people you can trust and rely on completely (I mean, people available and who can do the right job and share the common load of work)
Another major problem is: unlike Mozilla employees who are devoted to their work 7/24 :wink: we volunteer contributors are not always available for Sumo.

Principle 4: Community coordination should be diverse & inclusive
For this perspective, we are already in a very good spot. SUMO contributors are from all walks of life, places, cultures, and types of humour.

I fully agree and support this principle. I suppose the localization and documentation communities within Mozilla are a little bit more inclusive than the developer core teams, but there is always room to make things better and welcome every kind of human beings (and even :cat: and :dog: , why not)

Principle 5: Community coordination should be consistent
This part is what I think is the most important bit for us, as we have been mostly focused on doing "SUMO things the “SUMO way”. If we want to participate in a more global and varied community of Mozillians, we need to share the ways we do things and learn from others how they do theirs - and the same goes for those of us who coordinate what we do on any group level. I am really curious to hear what proposals and ideas the global Mozillian community has in this space, and I am sure we can learn and share a lot of useful information through this project

Here I am not sure of the meaning of it all, apart from the idea of sharing experience with other Mozillian communities.
Obviously more IRL meetups are necessary, mixing l10n and doc sprints (15 days before each major release ?), time for open discussion and share of experience.
Here I must say that the process to get meet-ups organized for a locale community should be more simple. My impression is: when we ask Mozilla there should be a budget to get train/plane fares and food/drinks covered, we are not trusted even though our request remain very reasonable in terms of money. But enough with that rant :slight_smile:

Principle 6: Community coordinators and technical coordinators should (where possible) be “separate but equal”

I suspect this is more difficult to put in practice than every other previous principle :thinking:

ah and I would take the occasion of this already too long post to second fully our great Cécile (in a message above) about the need of better communication (between contributors and staff) esp. to have a much clearer view of priorities in rush moments. Current information is already done with care but in a way that presumes we are always connected to Sumo day after day, which we are not unfortunately :slight_smile: