Mission Driven Mozillians - Volunteer Leadership Principles & Practices


(Lucyeoh) #1

Hello Everyone,

This is an update on the Mission Driven Mozillians project (formerly called the non-coding Enthusiasts project). If you haven’t read the framing post please do so here.

During November 25th and 26th, the input group for the Mission-Driven Mozillians project gathered in person in Berlin to kick-off a conversation about one of the 11 major themes: volunteer leadership structures.

The group co-created and aligned around a set of 6 principles for developing healthy and cohesive volunteer leadership structures for all mission driven Mozillians. You can review these principles below.

These principles will now be used to frame a discussion with a broad set of people who identify as Mission-Driven Mozillians about: what does implementation of these principles and practices look like in your community.

Quick Reminder: Who Are Mission Driven Mozillians?

From the Open Innovation strategy research project, the D&I community research, and additional interviews & research with staff members and volunteers, the Open Innovation team has defined a persona of volunteer contributors:

Volunteers who are primarily driven by Mozilla’s mission who:

  • Regularly contribute to a number of Mozilla activities, either sequentially or simultaneously
  • Are primarily motivated by Mozilla and its mission and manifesto, versus any specific project

This project focuses on the most common areas of contribution for Mission-Driven Mozillians: evangelizing, teaching, advocating, localizing, documenting, community building and testing.

Framing the Discussions

The following people from the input group will be reaching out to you on specific channels over the next 3 weeks to get your ideas, questions, and suggestions for what implementation of these principles and practices would look like in your communities:

In December the Input team will come together to synthesize all of the input we’ve gathered into a recommendation for implementation.

Principles & Practices for Volunteer Leadership at Mozilla

The principles and practices below were created and agreed upon by the input group, a diverse group of staff and volunteers who are most closely connected to the primary contribution areas (listed above). We believe that these principles and practices should be part of all structures and processes around volunteer leadership across Mozilla.

The question we want you to answer for each of these principles is: What does implementation of these principles and practices would look like in your community?

Beneath each one of the principles you’ll find a link to a discussion topic with several questions to get you thinking about what implementation could look like in Mozilla communities.

Principle = the foundational belief
Practice = how it should be applied

Principle 1. Leadership should require renewal


  • There should be set terms for all leadership roles
  • There should be regular renewal checkpoints (by community &/or staff)

>> Join the discussion

Principle 2. Leadership should be distributed


  • The number of leadership roles someone can hold at a single time should be limited
  • New leadership opportunities and pathways should be decided and consulted on by the community involved in that area
  • Criteria for the role requirements should be validated by the impacted group
  • We should create clear definitions for roles and avoid the generic term “leader”
  • Leadership responsibility should be held by groups where possible

>> Join the discussion

Principle 3. Leadership should be accountable


  • 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

>> Join the discussion

Principles 4. Leadership should be diverse & inclusive


  • Leaders should strive to include diverse voices and groups
  • Mozilla should enforce the Community Participation Guidelines consistently and strictly
  • Roles should be transparent and visible so that people know what opportunities are available to them and the expectations of them
  • Leadership pathways should explicitly consider inclusion dimensions (i.e. time, language, bandwidth, cultural norms)

>> Join the discussion

Principle 5. Leadership should be consistent


  • Leadership roles are valued the same across the org/areas (recognition, access to resources, opportunities etc. )
  • All leaders should have clarity in their roles and expectations
  • All leaders should have a shared foundational knowledge base & skills (i.e. Community Participation Guidelines)
  • Follow a shared framework for decision making
  • We should create clear definitions for roles and avoid the generic term “leader”
  • Tools should be consistent and coherent where possible

>> Join the discussion

Principle 6. Leadership should include Community Experts and Technical Experts


  • 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

>> Join the discussion

We’re going to be sharing a lot more updates from this project, stay connected by subscribing to the mission-mozillians tag on discourse.

Lucy and Rubén

Update (Feb 2nd 2018): What’s Next for Volunteer Leadership in 2018

Open Conversation to Mozilla Leadership
Mission-Driven Mozillians communities proposal
New Reps: Additional questions for the Mission-Driven Mozillians Project
Mission-driven Mozillians & SUMO
Your input on open questions for Mission-driven Mozillians project
What’s Next for Volunteer Leadership in 2018 - Shared Agreements
(Michal Stanke) #2

Hello Lucy.

Thank you for sharing the initiative. I have to confess I knew about this before, but did not have time to check what is all about. I have one but very important question. What are the issues this initiative should solve? If that is

For non-coding contributors there is a frustration when their contributions are misaligned with the organization’s expectations, and not valued or recognized as a result.

I think that’s a problem of communication and not “leadership”. If we want to be open project and open community, we should rather work on our communication and shared knowledge, rather than building leadership structures and rules.

Mission-driven Mozillians & SUMO
(Filip Hruška) #3


I have to agree with Michal here. I’ve read this post multiple times and still don’t understand the motivation behind this memo. Honestly, to me it feels too corporate; the teams work some way and you try to force specific structure upon us - volunteers - for seemingly no reason…

Anyway, I see multiple technical problems with this memo. The main one is that many communities are small, consisting of just few people who, usually, are not “diverse”.
For example, in Czech Mozilla l10n, there’s only 10 of us or so in the team and most of us are students. How exactly would you imagine envisioned


Sorry, but I really can’t make sense of that. “Leaders” are leaders, but can’t be called leaders, although they are called leaders in this document?

In other words, I wholeheartedly disagree with this idea and I don’t think this is going to work.

(Rubén Martín [Away till April 2nd]) #4

Hi @mstanke, the problem statement you quote is the general one for the project, that includes many themes (including this one, leadership).

Leadership and leadership-related problems and opportunities were identified by the input group as one of the most relevant and that’s why we are tackling it first, but we will be also discussing about the other ones in the coming weeks (including recognition and opportunity matching).


(Rubén Martín [Away till April 2nd]) #5

Yes, it can be confusing, but part of the conversation we want to have is what’s the best way to describe responsibility roles inside the Mission-Driven Mozillians communities and areas. This document captures the problem and the direction, now we need to discuss how to solve it :slight_smile:

(Databaseben) #6

The use of “Leadership” is a dynamic that exists in the environment from where this project is resulting from. So its understandable to me why its being implied.

However, there are some questions:

Does this dynamic of leadership apply to the problem/issue at hand?

Is “leadership” the solution to a problem?

If the problem at hand due to a “Lack of leadership” or “Lack of defining Leadership”, then the problem is also indicative of “Chaos and inefficiency”

Seemingly, then this project is a means to resolve “chaos” and “inefficiency”, in my opinion.

The above is just a quick assessment.

(Christopher Rushlau) #7

This entire activity sounds like one of those surveys you get from your bank, apparently designed to reassure you that the bank is not about to go out of business, but which has just the opposite effect. When an organization asks a customer/client, “How are we doing?”, I always want to say, “If you don’t know, I can’t help you.” I know they do this at colleges/universities, but imagine if your physician asked you this, or your head-of-government. Well, I’ll reprise my comment as a Peace Corps Volunteer once: “try harder.”

(Gordoncopthewick) #8

I assume that the reason why I was approached on this is because of my contributions to two topics on support.mozilla.org, one on the colour of tabs and one on getting the tabs below the search bar (which is the logical place for them if you are searching from the general to the particular, which is the logical way to search), possibly on the basis of this statement “we also need non-computer specialists being involved in development of Firefox. Currently, the development of Firefox is largely, if not entirely, developer-driven and their needs (as they see them) and the needs of what I shall call everyday users can and do diverge widely.”

A point that I have made on that forum a number of times is that Firefox developers appear not to have realised that Firefox is no longer a niche browser used by computer literate enthusiasts but a main stream browser used by the general public who are mainly not computer literate enthusiasts.

Many, maybe most, users of Firefox want a safe and secure and fast browser which allows them to do a basic set of operations. Maybe the developers who use all the functions in Firefox believe they are the norm, but they aren’t. We’ve seen this same thing in mobile 'phone technology, 'phones that can do lots of things but which are when it comes to it used only for very few of them.

In these circumstances, providing fixes to issues where updates are objectionable to users is all very well, but is not the answer.

Having set the scene from my viewpoint, I have to say that it is good to see this initiative by Mozilla. However, I suspect that it comes too late for many users and, through them, potential users. After the Quantum release and the problems it brought, I certainly would not recommend Firefox again.

Turning to the approach itself, I must admit it all comes across very much as an organisational exercise. There is far too much jargon such as “Mozillians”, “mission-driven”, “the group co-created” (by definition, if a group creates something it is co-created), “reaching out to”. It just seems to me an exercise being gone through without any clear aim other than to soothe concerns, to show something’s been done, and concerns have been listened to. I base this on the experience of three mergers in eighteen years when working, with no merger ever completed before the next took place and the same problems cropping up each time as a result, despite lots of wordage.

Even if I am wrong in the above, has the question “Why are we doing this and what do we expect from it?” been asked (and answered)? If not, it needs to be before going forward further.

On a detail point, the key question you want answered is structurally unsound. It reads “What does implementation of these principles and practices would look like in your community?” and, as such, does not make sense.

Apologies that I cannot be more positive, but I’ve seen it all before. In addition, I think that the problem with Mozilla/Firefox is that it is now another, self-perpetuating organisation where change MUST take place, irrespective of any adverse effect on users, so that the organisation can justify and maintain its existence.

(Rubén Martín [Away till April 2nd]) #9

Please, check the main topic about this project to know more about why we are doing it. Thanks!

(Ranjith Raj) #10

The whole guidelines framework gives scope only to people who are good at English, to participate in the discussion and share their opinions.

All the guidelines framed are designed ONLY by people who know English will be implemented to all other communities with different languages across the globe.

The whole discussion about diversity is a discussion about diveristy within English community.

Very little efforts to localization are put on only for the purpose of localizing Mozilla products so that the market increases, but almost no effort in community engagement and welcoming communities other than English.

Communities are unique with their language. The whole program is being planned as if it is in search of English speakers across the globe, and people from other languages are only restricted to l10n.

It is structurally defective by design that, it silences voices from many other language communities and many leaders go unnoticed just because they don’t communicate in English.

Mission Driven Mozillians - Leadership Principle 4
(Gordoncopthewick) #11

You miss my point, which is especially ironic in view of the subsequent reply about good English. The question you have posed is grammatically wrong. Either you are asking "“What does implementation of these principles and practices look like in your community?” or you are asking the question "“What would implementation of these principles and practices look like in your community?” At some point, the wording of the question has been altered but the implications of the change have not been followed through in the rest of the text.

(Rubén Martín [Away till April 2nd]) #12

I agree with you about the need to include non-English speakers. Note that:

  • The D&I research conducted interviews in local languages.
  • We have a group in charge of engaging with local communities to get feedback about this Volunteer Leadership theme in their language and come back with all the input. As an example, I know the Hispano community has localized these principles and started a conversation in Spanish.

(Emma Irwin) #13

Hi as Ruben noted below we did a ton of research this year into D&I at Mozilla, and we have championing the findings across the organization and into the open source ecosystem which includes both speaking to, and listening in ways that enable the most people. And yes, language is a huge issue. To truly build inclusive communities we need to get better at “breaking the language barrier” - we know this; it’s why the CPG is already localized in 5 languages (French, Spanish, German, Portuguese (Brazilian), and traditional Chinese). It’s also why we interviewed people during our research - in their own language.

I would be very interested in hearing how to be more inclusive from a non-English perspective - specifically in the context of this topic:

  1. What are the top 3 things a leader needs translated their community to feel empowered ?
  2. What are the top 3 ways a leader can act inclusively for their community through translation?

When I think of inclusive leadership, I think of #2 a lot because we know from research that for leaders in non-English communities, a core function needs to be helping their community understand in their own language. You can help us solve this :slight_smile:

(Ranjith Raj) #14

Thanks Ruben for your reposne and letting me know about Mozilla D&I Research.

Thanks Emma for your response and letting me know about the details of D&I research, happy about the study and appreciate the efforts put.

  1. What are the top 3 things a leader needs translated their community to feel empowered ?

Issue with pontoon.mozilla.org is that, it remained just to localise products and marketing part of Mozilla but not things that matter for community development like articles on Working in Open or initiatives like Mozilla Open Leaders.

A. mozilla.org and mozillians.org are not localised into many languages because lack of localisers or traslators. These websites should be localised with high priority even if it needs to hire professional localisers or pay firms to localise them.

B. reps.mozilla.org, activate.mozilla.community and learning.mozilla.org websites should be able to localise on pontoon.mozilla.org

C. Social media presence of Mozilla should ALSO be in non-English languages, to communicate important announcements like campaigns on NetNeutrality or programms like Mozilla Open Leaders.

  1. What are the top 3 ways a leader can act inclusively for their community through translation?

A. Organising workhops and talks in local languages, if there are more than half are non-English speakers as audience, or atleast giving them handouts/resources in local languages.

B. Setting up communication channels for their communities to discuss in their local language.

C. l10n activity is less prioritised in reps program and not in MozActivate. l10n activities are not enocuraged, not given required budget or swag. It is a structural violence problem that l10n contributors are not recognised well as compared to contributors of other domains, won’t get equal opportunities to grow.
Giving it more priority would absoltely help, and the leaders should encourage more l10n activities in their communities.

(Axel) #15

I agree that participating in mozilla is hard, if you’re not comfortable communicating in English.

Right now, you’re falling off a cliff as soon as you reach that point, that is, you need to read someone’s post on discourse or an email, and reply. Or, get information off a blog post.

We won’t be able to solve this with paid or volunteer localization. For a relatively small group of languages, we might be able to use machine translation to facilitate multi-lingual communication.

We’ll need to observe carefully how those go. Written communication already brings out the worst in people easily. When non-native speakers (or just speakers of the same language from different cultures) communicate (and then in writing), things get harder still. Adding the imperfections of machine translation to the mix will add another level of challenge to the way we communicate with each other.

The sites that you requested to be localized are often at the border of actual bidirectional communication, and thus are often left in English. That sends a signal that in that part of the mozilla project, you should expect to be talked to in English, and expected to reply in English.

If we can successfully support a multi-lingual discourse, we should re-evaluate those decisions.

Some of that content should also have actual proper local content, not translated content.

As for mozilla.org, we’re not far with our planning for 2018 yet, but I expect that the l10n team will tackle that project in particular, and explore ways to get translated contents up there.

CC @jbeatty

(Ranjith Raj) #16

The things I’ve mentioned above are simple and can be made manually with ponton.mozilla.org.
[If we can take help of NLP, AI that would be an additional advantage.]

I conciously didn’t choose to ask to localise discource UI nor the content there, I know it requires multi-lingual auto-translated platform which needs few more years.

Removing discourse from our topic of discussion, I was telling important emails and blog posts that are related to community development should be localised atleast if not all.
I’m also addressing the addressing the structural violence that is in the design of the programms and priorities.

(Daniele Scasciafratte) #17

About that point Discourse is localized by the discourse community, so if you want that is localized don’t ask to mozilla but check how they do the localization. Mozilla is using only a software that is not maintained by them.
How I know that? because I saw that the Italian localization was incomplete, so I checked and contributed.

This can be a problem because slowdown a lot the process and also on gathering feedbacks because we need to translate all of them. And as example for this principles we had a timeline of 2 weeks so you can understand that translate everything is not possible always.

There are local community that can do their part (many community do that) but localize everything again for everything can be a problems. For social also exist Social Champions that is a not official program with a mailing lists with specific people of different communities that manage social accounts, so we do promotion with specific things when is required like for Firefox quantum or the survey.
If you see on telegram or also IRC there are already local channels, depends on the community ask :slight_smile:
And in case of help the Reps program is there to help the community because we are the representative of the communities and with mentor/coach we can help.

About that point I already gave feedbacks on about why is not better do it on Reps: https://github.com/mozilla/Reps/issues/269#issuecomment-353971621
I can duplicate my reply also for learning because was a program where was requested english knowledge.

For activate and learning did you checked if they are localizable? Because it is possible do it on github. Why github? I can talk for activate because we (as council) update quite often that docs and github was a reasonable tool. Also because this kind of content is for mozillians that have to contribute back to their community and they know english to be aligned.

I am not against localize everything, I am not a native english speaker too but I started to learn english because I wanted to contribute to Mozilla years ago. Without it in the IT world you will be always a lot of step back so we need to see if everything need to be translated for everyone and what is the target. Every community around an open source project as example doesn’t translate everything as example changelog, because is for technical people but important stuff like announcement yes. In few words they translate based on their needs, as example we translated the community playbook to help our new volunteers to understand what is a community but is a doc that is not made officially for localization.

Also this point, what languages are missing? You can ask to the community to update it but this is a tool used by mozillians that are part of the international community and they know english to be part of that.

I want to close my comments asap: This thread was made to discuss about what leadership needs and not what mozilla need to do to let the community more empowered (taking all the mozilla communities as example of course).
We need before to understand what are the needs of community (we are talking about principles and practices and not issue in the mozilla ecosystem) in our case: localization is pretty clear but if it is missing somewhere doesn’t mean that someone didn’t addressed that problem in the past :slight_smile: (because quite often I already did, as example for social :joy:)
One of the practices can be define the priorities on localize stuff for the communities, and this is a good point from a leadership point of view.

Well usually this already happened, it is written somewhere to do it the workshop in english in a country where there isn’t english? Because in Italy I never done an event in english for Mozilla. It is a task of the local community to localize the resources in their language and many community are doing it, the Italian already done and I know also other communities do that but maybe they don’t publish publicly online.

This is something that we are facing in the reps program but is better to talk about that in the reps category? Because as council member I will probably missed this interesting point. If you check there was few weeks ago a reps weekly call about l10n with the l10n team! Weekly Call 30-11-2017 [Special Edition][L10N]
Yes, we are already working to improve the participation of l10n and sumo communities (25-10-2017 Meeting [Special Edition][SUMO]) in the reps program.
I suggest to you to be aligned about what we are doing (as Reps program) and ask in the right places and you will receive feedbacks :smiley:

In any case you will see a lot of updates on the new version of this principles :smiley:

(Ranjith Raj) #18

Thanks for the response.

First of all let’s take a little care not to frame strawman arguments. I didn’t start the topic of localising discourse platform, it was @axel who mis-interpreted from my previous comment. Replying @axel, I clarified discourse was not in the list of my proposed projects. I only proposed to localise reps.mozilla.org, activate.mozilla.community and learning.mozilla.org

Agree, it takes lot of time and effort. May be we can’t promise it before the deadline of starting this Mission Driven Mozillians, but acknowledging it and prioritizing it to do at later time atleast would help.

It may be hard for to achieve with the current volunteer and work force. D&I team can look at how communities like Wikipedia are doing it succesfully. I’m an active wikipedian and we have a framework that enables us to translate all announcements to local languages.

Agree it will be trouble for the staff and leadership to hadle it.

Yes! :slight_smile:

We should also considerif it is difficult for groups where reps program couldn’t reach, due to practical limitations(theoretically we can reach any group).

I wish if that solves the problem.
In practicality, It’s not mandatory that l10n is done by reps or leaders who are techies. For example, old people like 60+ who are good at language skills, making them understanding simple UI tools like pontoon is easy than making the learn github commands, pull requests, forking etc, thus enabling them to contribute to Mozilla without (the unofficially mandatory) github to contribute to Mozilla.

Never about localising changelog, but just to localise important stuff like announcements.

Sure, will ask.

I’m sure these are not mutually exclusive.

Happy about italian community, seems there is a good l10n activity. Unfortunately not all language communities can be as lucky as italian community.
Other communities might be

  1. lacking localisers/reviwers
  2. not publishing it online and making it accessible.

let’s see how we can solve these 2 problems.

Sure, will do.

Love to know :slight_smile:

(Rubén Martín [Away till April 2nd]) #19

We have just published an update on What’s Next for Volunteer Leadership in 2018 please, check it out! :slight_smile: