Open Certification

Plucking this thread off Twitter, because I thought it might be fun to discuss in the context of Mozilla.

Contributing to Drupal, is already something developers know can build their credentials to obtain work building CMS for companies and orgs all over the world. Drupal profiles are a quick look up for employers and often a request in job interviews and include projects you’ve contributed to, patches, mentors and links to people you have mentored. I’m not saying badges are the answer, as Doug suggests in this open source article - but there’s something interesting about being more deliberate in surfacing real word credentials .

Also! Companies advertise their credentials in the same way - listing their staff profiles , company contributions, membership and other information for potential employees and clients to see . It’s also a way to say ‘we are part of the community’ and helping not just profiting.

In away both individual and company profiles are examples of open credentials, but not certification which feels like the next step where you bundled opportunities and tie it to certification requirements. Something like that maybe.

What does that look like in other communities you know?
What existing examples of ‘Open credentials’ do you think exist currently at Mozilla?
What types of certification could we provide, and how would that work?

My own curiosity! Seems fun topic to toss around.

If you haven’t checked out it is worth a look in how the
community is looking to document contributions and projects.

This is super cool thanks @jgmac1106 -
I like that it can act as credentials for a project or thing , even something like Medium

I like that people can add in the work of others, and that you indicate inspiration from someone else.
It felt a little disappointing that big community projects like Wordpress, Drupal, and even Mozilla only list staff: but then there’s curation by whoever wants to it seems.
Now if there was an api to this that could be triggered by badges or pull requests (for example) that would be cool.


I just added myself there :grimacing:

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@asdofindia, @tad, and I were fooling around on Telegram this morning. I created and issued these badges

I also like the way allows you to document individual contributions.

I think we need a similar and/or approach for Mozilla contributors.

The question then becomes should it be something done internally (which takes design, development work, and a budget) or do you use a open source third party solutions such as and (or any other similar service).

I think Mozillians profiles should work like this. We have vouches, but we aren’t looking past it. I always dream of a Mozillians profile that will let us know everything about a Mozillian. This addresses recognition also to an extent.


I want to add to that.

As of now, Mozillians are forced to exhibit the work they do by tweeting, blogging, sharing, advertising themselves wherever they can so that others recognize their effort.

Basically, this works like if a Mozillian wants to be recognized, they have to create a profile of their own, documenting all that they do.

And if someone’s not interested/not capable of creating such a profile for themselves, their contributions disappear from sight.

And, there’s very little others can do to surface their contributions. We can thank someone in a tweet. Tweets disappear in the never-ending feed. We can thank someone in a blog post. Blog posts go down, to the next page, and disappears. We can give them an open badge. But where do they display it?

We must figure out a way to crowd-source the documentation of each Mozillian rather than putting the responsibility on individual Mozillians themselves.

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At the moment there are;

  • Vouches (internal to Mozilla, not used enough)
  • badges (both digital and open) - Internal only (digital), lack of display mechanism (open)
  • About:credits (very external, self promoting, possibly a little unknown)

All of these are good in there own way, so how would this new level build on and not conflict/confuse with existing processes?

What would be good would be to make greater use of Open Badges from each team (as “electronic swag”), make the vouch process mean something substantial at the three vouch mark and encourage people that go “over and above” to be included on the “wall of heroes” credits page.

I agree. I think the page serves almost, if not all of the features we were discussing. It was a kind of cross-over discussion that was happening on Telegram about an issue posted on Git…

The other issue is thinking about profiles, certification and contributor is recruitment and retention. This data should be central in looking for patterns of success and difficulty in participation campaigns.

We also have to be careful we do not overburden people with profile creation.

Currently I need two different Discourse profiles, a Mozillian profile, a soon to be MLN profile, a Thimble profile, my Mozilla Web Club page, Github profile , (and unofficial places like Telegram and Twitter).

I accept that being across different Mozilla teams means having to maintain many different profiles. Though you can get profile fatigue. Especially if they take active updating.

Different profiles serve different audiences but we need a central repository. It is almost as if you need one profile to rule them all.

This could be be one place that pulls info across all the other profiles and maybe auto-populates some basic info.Would also require consultation with other teams to think about what should be on the back end to allow for member retention and recruitment analysis (such as a level of leadership or the vouches you speak of).

This may very well be I had been on the fringes of MLN for the last few years and only first heard about We had a different profile. I think if we want to increase participation across Mozilla then we need to also track participation across all of Mozilla.

Given that there has to be numerous profiles across different Mozilla tools and teams being very intentional about scraping and pulling this kind of data rather than having users push it to us is very important.

  • Vouches (internal to Mozilla, not used enough)badges (both digital and open)
  • Internal only (digital), lack of display mechanism (open)
  • About:credits (very external, self promoting, possibly a little unknown)

Thanks so far for the great feedback - keep it coming.

I did end up writing a blog post and directed to this topic.

I also think it’s good to consider what we don’t want to achieve - as it is what we do. This is one of my favourite tweets reflecting the Dark Side of Open Source. Open Certification, or credentials or whatever you want to call it - is not this:

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on that thread I’ve talked of other OSS organization that have also certifications

In similar news: Say Hello to Microsoft University

I think that with some of this we already have the bare bones of it in place. If you combine the “one and done” training with open badges, you get a training method with a level of certification.

I do not think I would be too keen on a method that needs a number contributors to manage and run. It would feel like a distraction of effort and contribution away from the areas where more contributors efforts could be made more productive use of.

@Mte90 I like you summary of the schemes run by other open source communities, especially your summary at the end. I guess that Mozilla is already part way there with the vouching approach - active volunteers are rewarded for good works - it just lacks a bit of weight both internally and externally. There is a “3 vouch benchmark”, but aside from a sense of “I am now fully vouched” pride, it does not link into anything.

But does it have to…? I was contributing before being vouched, and I have continued contributing afterwards, the only difference being that I have a sense that what I do is regarded as “good” by my peers and those that I look up to.

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An excellent read on this topic

I just really started poking around with the badges features built into Discourse. Seems like there are possibilities to play there as well.