Mozilla Community Portal: Why I’m so excited 🤩 and think you should be too

Over the past 15 years I’ve been involved with Mozilla supporting different global and local communities first as a volunteer and now as staff. There has been one thing where everyone has been perpetually struggling: “How do I get support for my community to operate if I don’t have enough or consistent (technical) resources?”

I remember the hundreds of hours we invested at Mozilla Hispano in 2007 to set up our own server (special thanks to @striptm and @willyaranda), then had Mozilla to pay one for us. Also all the additional work on setting up and keeping 3 or 4 different content management systems updated (Wordpress, Mediawiki, the old Phpbb and then Discourse). I remember we even created a custom templating system for mediawiki to support contributors’ profiles and events before mozillians.org or Reps portal existed!

This story should be familiar to anyone who has been supporting their own local communities: finding, installing, updating and maintaining tools to support all their always-evolving activities.

Historically, Mozilla communities have been created organically and support for infrastructure and tooling has been evolving over time, from individuals paying for hosting back in 2004, to having a strong process to request funds and tooling today.

But still, we have been relying on dozens of really skilled technical contributors’ time to set up and maintain systems for their own needs ad-hoc. This is not really efficient and has often translated into abandoned sites and unsupported communities when some key people stopped contributing. It has also meant that small groups and communities have not been able to set-up for success due to their limited resources.

That’s why I’m SO excited about the work we are doing now with the Community Portal. I think this is a great opportunity to optimize support to any community, small or big, and get a set of high quality tools to manage your contributions: from listing all contributors, posting updates and content, surfacing events, connecting them with activities or campaigns and having a safe place for contributions to talk to each other.

For me, this is a dream coming true, seeing that any group of mozillians will be able to create their own safe space to keep doing what they love the most, without any additional investment or technical knowledge, and that it will remain accessible in the future, even if people come and go.

I recommend everyone to embrace this new platform to get your communities to the next level of support. This is a historical moment for Mozilla and its communities, there is going to be a before and after the Community Portal.

We all deserve this.

Thank you!

PS: If you want to read more about how we have been modernizing the community approach at Mozilla in the past years, I invite you to check the blog post I published a month ago.

PS2: I would like to hear from YOU: How you think this will change how you and your communities and groups will operate? Please feel free to post it here or over your blog and through a link as a reply, thanks!


Rubén Martín
Global Communities Strategist

Spanish version

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Finally a place where we can have all the information together. It was always difficult to find out local people and with different interests, without knowing Mozilla’s jargon. It will be nice to see how are communities can grow and be nurtured with new people.

Good work!

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I am excited about the momentum this project is taking, as @nukeador has a base of many years of experience from many communities.

For communities with technical contributors it is very tempting to use the latest tools with great functionality, but in the medium term it can become a hard work as you have to invest time in keeping it updated and keeping control against attacks, full disk…

This project frees communities from these tasks so they can dedicate it to… the Mozilla project :wink:.

Both new communities, communities without online presence or established communities have a great ally in these tools.

It’s time to use them and give feedback so that they continue to improve.

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Reading your story reminded me of several similar situations that we faced in the Brazilian community. Some volunteers took care of the entire structure to keep the site, lists, and other things running some years ago when I joined the community.

I started my activities with Mozilla five years ago, and I remember how hard it was to find people, events, and stuff happening around my area. We started a local Mozilla club trying to bring more people to our activities (I live in a small town far away from São Paulo or other huge cities), and we published our blog to share the news about our club and our activities. If we had the portal back there, probably our life would have been easier.

I’m thrilled and excited to see what we will achieve with this new hub for volunteers!

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I like the events of the new portal because in this way is not anymore a Reps task but can be for any Mozillians and this improves the parity with the various volunteers. Until there will be the email notifications is kind of useless because cannot replace other solutions like Meetup or Eventbrite because people want to subscribe and get notifications when there are updates.

About the groups they are important but I see that there are a lot that are not really Mozilla centric (blockchain as example) and this creates some troubles with the image/brand/quality of the portal (I already got some comments for that).
Otherwise, this force some communities like mine to evaluate for a new logo because with the new Mozilla design doesn’t fit pretty good.

The Discourse integration is helpful because is a way to finally migrate from other instances (also if I don’t like that the Discourse home change the orders of the categories) and opens new opportunity to get more people involved with the rest of the community and not just their own community.

Remove the official site of a community at the same time to migrate to the community portal is not so cool right now because the group page is a profile and not a landing page. Honestly I think that we need to get a landing page system or something like that before to use the group page instead of our website (or any community website).

Now there are also updates in Discourse about what is happening in the community-portal so it is more easy to keep updated about new features.

I think that we are on the right way and there are a lot of things to do but is not impossible to achieve them.

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Thanks, it would be great if you can share more details on your needs at #community-portal around events notifications and how the group page could be more attractive for your community. We need to know soon as we are thinking on what we need to include on the second half of the year milestones.

The verification process that is going start happening next week will take care of the groups that are not doing mozilla-related activities.

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As a new person in the Mozillian space, thank you :raised_hands: Excited to be a part of supporting Mozilla and the community more actively :blush:

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