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.
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!
Global Communities Strategist