One of the questions that has been at the back of my mind since I have been contributing to Mozilla is the question of what size volunteer population I am part of.
When I volunteer at large (mainly sports) events, I know that I am one of a team of one hundred and thirty for a given part of the event (for example), but with contributing at Mozilla being digital, it is difficult to understand the size of the contributor population. It also makes it more difficult to explain what you do to others. Am I one of one hundred, one thousand or one million?
A number I have clung to is that there are 10554 active Mozillians worldwide. Not sure if this includes circa one thousand staff, and I have always been a bit concerned that the number is a) very exact and b) does not seem to change.
The email sent the other day mentions that there are one thousand staff, twenty thousand active community leader and volunteers and 1.7m active members of the supporter community. I do not dispute these figures, but I am not sure how these fit into the standard model, illustrated here. Is the twenty thousand an estimated total of the core and active contributors? Is the 1.7m an estimated total of the casual contributors and supporters?
I know it may not be that accurate, but there is also mention on Wikipedia that there are 40k active contributors in the Mozilla community.
I am not disputing any of the numbers and I fully appreciate that an accurate census is almost impossible, but it would be nice to know the size of the contributing population to better appreciate what I am part of (and which part I am in), to help “market” contributing to Mozilla (“you will be joining a team of “x” size”) and also to have a metric from which an increase in participation can be measured.