Refreshing the Participation Buffet

Please read this blog post and let me know what you think – it lays out an important way forward for our work of the Participation Team in the next while.

"What we’ve also heard over the past few months is that lacking clarity on the best areas to have an impact is one of the main things limiting contribution. When I look at this objectively, I completely
understand. Mozilla is a huge and complex project, with multiple products, projects and activities, and we’re right now in a constant state of change as Mitchell recently articulated nicely. To exacerbate the situation, we haven’t been very good at clearly communicating where Mozilla is heading.

Our much needed efforts to reinvent participation at Mozilla has added yet more ambiguity to the mix. As a Participation Team, we’ve made some progress on bringing more clarity, and have laid out a broad strategy for 2016. But this isn’t enough. We need to do better.

We need to help Mozillians know where they can apply their skills, time and passions to have an impact on Mozilla’s mission."


Great blog post! I think this is very important and I’m glad that the first step is taken now :slight_smile: Here are some random thoughts after reading the blog post. @george could you please also link this Discourse discussion in your blog post? I was already drafting my thoughts to your inbox when I saw this here.

For “Help Mozilla innovate” I think it would be great to broadly share today’s Town Hall on a broader scale. I’m not sure if that would be possible though it seems to me that this is one of the Town Halls that might be okay to share. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that before I file a re-classify request through .

About the “upcoming” section
While I love to see Dino Tank, CEL, Test Pilot and OpenComm on that list, I have a feeling that we’re going for the low hanging fruits. These scale really well, I can see that. Also going for the low hanging fruits is definitely the best thing to do here for the short term.

Servo and browser.html are trickier there since they require contribution pathways that need to be inviting and thought out. QA should be fairly easy to organize around that, code contribution definitely not. That would require mentors and thorough documentation (not saying these projects are lacking it!). I’d love to see some code contributions around those as well though! We could go for something like pre-approved budgets for hackathons or similar initiatives with Reps (we of course would need to set a framework around that).

I guess we’ll be going the non-code way for those for the moment? If we’re including coding pathways for those as well, I’d be jumping up and down due to my happiness. As said, this would be tricky, but definitely not impossible. Could you share a little bit more about those plans? I’d also be glad to help out where help is needed!

While Servo and browser.html will shape the future around Firefox, I’m still missing Firefox itself (in the present) apart from the Nightly community which I’d count as low hanging fruit as above. If you believe StatCounter (yeah, I know…) Chrome is near 60% nowadays. While I really like how they’re pushing new Web APIs, I’m pretty sure that this is not without any business thoughts behind it (I mean, Web Payments API, you can’t tell me that this is without business thoughts). This deeply concerns me since we all know that Google doesn’t have the same ideas around privacy as we have.

Having a general “contribute to Firefox” is currently impossible for this scope. But could we identify interesting components and figure out a way to enable a contribution pathway with them? One example would be DevTools for example. We’ve run a Firefox Hackathon in Zurich about a month ago and that went really well. I’d love to see an effort around fixing existing features in Firefox since I think that the efforts toward Servo and browser.html will still take some time to land in main Firefox land.

In general I think while having non-code activities is great, we should also focus on the coding pathway part. It’s trickier, but I’d be glad to help kickstart that.

As a side note: there was a small discussion around the new contribution page in the #developers IRC channel yesterday. While it mentions “learn a bit about coding” there is no reference to “hey, we invite you to contribute with your coding skills to Firefox” on that page. I don’t count “Watch someone live hack on Firefox” to that. As coder I’d want to see where the source code and bug reports are to get my hands dirty. I know that there was some research going on around this, but I thought to just share this since it’s kind of relevant here.

Further involvement
Is this part of some issue I missed on GitHub? Or does this come organicly from the current issues in the repository? I think it would be great to have a way to keep ourselves up to date on what is going on. Also, how open is this process for a volunteer organized working group that would coordinate everything needed to get something else on that list as well? (see the Firefox section above for example)

I’d be happy to discuss any of my points above here, please join this discussion and challenge me on my ideas! :slightly_smiling:



You can consider this part of the Core leaders group, we have this as a subgoal:

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George - I have some specific comments regarding giving opportunities for people to build new skills. I feel as if this is important and we haven’t put enough support behind growing the skills of both our new and existing community. I think we need more education and training opportunities for those that want to participate in the different contribution areas, and in areas as simple as helping file bugs (Even knowing how to properly file a bug and get the attention of those at Mozilla can be a challenge - and this differs depending on the project).

As the project has become more complex, we continue to be reliant on a small number of contributors who often do the lion’s share of the work in some areas (I am thinking more specifically of the areas I have worked in of late). As an example, growing our Nightly user base is great, but if we do we will need more triagers/regression range hunters/crash investigators to help out with incoming bugs. And these are the types of activities where contributors may need something more than online documentation to get them started.

I would like to see us add some strategy around how we can leverage events/workshops/Pilot Projects to explore additional training for those interested. I am more than willing to help in the Nightly area since that will be my focus. And as far as focus areas, investing in QA as a general focus area is bound to pay dividends down the road for many of the projects across the organization.


I quote everything of Michael and this is the first point, with the Live coding series on airmo and that there are for user with skills but not very entry level.
We need something very simple for new volunteers to contribute, once was Firefox OS but now we are in a limbo without news about IoT so actually we have nothing for them.

The triagebot (random ticket to triage) was a cool idea and i contributed in the past but the problems (the reason i removed my participation in that project) was the missing settings to choice the platform to triage the ticket. Maybe we can improve this for that point.

We need something concrete for new volunteers without many development skills, actually I am working for this with the webextensions platform (that can be a way).

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Thanks for this Marcia. Generally agree in the need for investing in Mozillians skills, and it’s very much part of the strategy.

In a general for this year we’ve prioritized using larger gatherings to invest in the mobilizing and leadership skills of Mozillians.

That’s married with a strong emphasis that every good participation area should have an onboarding and education component built in or it’s unlikely to be outstanding (see our criteria for what we’ll highlight). As an example, the campus campaign has a wealth of educational content, curated and sent out weekly, along with 1:1 coaching for campus teams (also roughly weekly) and encouraging people to gather on campuses for workshops and peer learning. We’re learning from this now.

Do we know yet which larger gatherings are targeted, and when and where they will be?

We are currently finishing a proposal based on the resources the team has.

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I have been meaning to write this for a while (it has been on the moz-jobs to do list) and have finally got round to it.

When I look at the participation opportunities at Mozilla, I tend to see two key issues:

1 - There is no even vaguely comprehensive list of teams where contribution is possible. Some “participate here” lists are better than others, but a number of them miss out various teams and operate as static lists.

2- There are several of these sites. Which one is the one to use?

Further to this we have the points raised about the areas currently being concentrated on at the moment and I am sure that these will ebb and flow with different teams and projects coming on board and being highlighted as key Participation priority over time.

What would be useful is to have one place that works almost like an “app store” such as Ubuntu Software or AMO. It would list all teams and projects (regardless of whether they are actively “recruiting”), have a search/filter functionality to match Mozillians with teams and have a “carousel” at the top to advertise key projects and opportunities. The “app” page would give details of what is involved and instead of “downloading” the app, a link takes you directly to that teams site.

Just an idea, welcome thoughts and feedback.