MozCamp invitation only for contributors who comply with the Grow Mozilla initiative?

Great. Just. Great!

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Atypical Confessions of an atypical contributor

I, your favorite hypocrite, traitor or whatever people might call me, thought about writing this for a long time. Just to give a different perspective on things. I have been a contributor for a rather long time (5 years to be exact). I confess that I am not a regular contributor. These things are mostly thoughts that I have, and I am going to be blunt about them. If people can’t deal with it, so be it. And this is not gonna be about Directory Tiles, even though I am eager to write my thoughts about them, but, no, not this time.

#1 – I hate the word ‘Mozillians’.

The word “Mozillians” suggest that people contributing to the Mozilla project are all the same. All one kind. It takes the focus away from potential differences in personality or culture. In my opinion, these differences need to be valued. For we are all different. And the fact that we contribute doesn’t take that difference away.

There’s another reason why I hate that word: “Mozillian” seems like “Human”. A status that, once acquired, lasts forever and cannot be taken away. However, what if I don’t want to be part of that group anymore? I think the term “contributor” is much more suited for that. It still gives some means of escape from the whole thing.

 

#2 – Products mean nothing to me.

Given there’s so much focus on products nowadays: I don’t like that. Products mean nothing to me. It’s just a name for what? Bunch of code? Initiatives? Philosophical thoughts? Honestly, do we need a name for everything? If we think about it, our product is not so different from other products. The browser is written in some programming language and evolved over years. Same for other products. That doesn’t make it ‘awesome’. That just means it’s evolved. Product names are just for identification, and that’s marketing. I don’t have anything to do with marketing reasons. I have my own mind.

Are we humans awesome? You’d assume it depends on the point of view. And YES: IT DOES!

 

#3 – I don’t like direction.

I am someone who values individuality. I don’t like direction. Giving direction means potentially saying “I know more than you do” or “I am better than you”, therefore I tell you what to do, and I will never accept that. Not when it comes to a such diverse group of people as the contributor base.

 

#4 – Good things take time

I don’t like for things being rushed. That’s not how I work. There have been so many things in the past years that have been rushed and then improved and improved or abandoned for reasons. Why not improve them and release them when ready? Unfinished projects do not make us more popular with the userbase.

 

#5 – Controversial discussions are good discussions

On a related note: In order for discussions to get most healthy, it’s important for them to be vivid. Vivid discussions means that any stand point is accepted. It might get a little heated from time to time, but that way we can ensure that there are a lot of thoughts covered in the discussion. I hate it when community doesn’t even have a say in what gets decided.

 

#6 – I hate the “1 million mozillians” initiative.

It’s hard to manage 1 million people. And frankly, I doubt Mozilla can do this. Let’s think about this: People are people, they have their own mind, their own ideals, their own hobbies, their own opinion. You can find more potential reasons in my comment here: http://hoosteeno.com/2013/12/17/a-new-mozillians-org-signup-process/#comment-159

What do they need 1 million contributors for? Hint: It’s not to benefit the people themselves.

Firefox’s 9th birthday

Given Firefox is turning 9 today, I believe it is finally time to thank us contributors for our continued effort in doing what each of us is doing. Because some of us might be forgetting that it doesn’t matter *what* you do for Mozilla, that all of the projects are equally important and that the contributors are putting a shitload of time (sorry for the expletive) into their work. Because the focus is on only such a few Mozilla projects and that those seem to receive a lot of ‘thank you’s, I want to use the time and especially thank those people who continue their efforts in projects that the majority of Mozilla doesn’t know about.

Given no one else seems to want to thank these people, I want to thank those who contribute to the following (in no particular order). If you feel like I am forgetting someone, please add them to the etherpad at https://etherpad.mozilla.org/thank-you.

  • Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • SeaMonkey
  • Webmaker
  • Community Engagement
  • Mozilla Reps / Marketing
  • SUMO (Support)
  • Coding
  • QA
  • Localization
  • Web Development
  • Add-on Development
  • Design
  • Long-forgotten projects and community initiatives that are no longer being actively developed.
  • Everyone else in the community

With so much focus it’s sometimes *very* hard to keep track of everyone and to thank everyone. Especially, people seem to be so overloaded, burnt out and fed up with the current state of things. I can only repeat myself: If you feel like I have left your area out, please *do* add an entry to the etherpad (URL above).

Thank you!

“New Mozilla” or “Community 2.0”?

The following blog post was co-written by me and by Ricardo (“Ricmacas”) Maçãs.
Both of us remember dearly when we started contributing to Mozilla. We were part of SUMO’s Livechat (online live one-on-one help sessions for regular users powered by volunteers) and it was easy to voice opinions and to give ideas. We had a strong sense of community and we loved to discuss our ideas with the developers’ team and to help them with feedback whenever needed.
    Ricardo: I think there’s a reason for this: support has always been the bridge between the end user and the developer, it is the area where it becomes clear that these two are in fact two sides of the same coin, so we knew first hand that even the nontechnical user’s opinion was important. Back then, our IRC channel was a very warm and cozy place, always bursting with activity.
     Nowadays, SUMO’s IRC channel is just another Mozilla IRC channel: full of people, mostly empty of words. After the SUMO livechat product ceased to exist, we still gather around in other IRC channels. Some of us have moved to other Mozilla projects, but we all talk to each other like we’re still in the same team. There is certainly something awesome and special that we had in Livechat that stays with us.
    Granted, Mozilla lost some degree of relevance in the past few years. Users demanded Chrome-like performance and features, and our community was not delivering. Our core product, Firefox, was no longer perceived as the innovative product it once was.
    Now, the Corporation and the Foundation are doing its best to revive Mozilla. They’re building hype, they are launching new bold bets in the mobile space. New projects, new ideas, and a coordinated effort to bring Firefox back to the top.
    However, what happens to the community? Is the hype strategy really the best? Does the community want to be preached new products that it didn’t have a say in?
    Ricardo: For example, I feel that most of Mozilla projects’ fate and direction are decided by someone else with an Apple-esque “creative” vision that I can’t reach besides vague responses of “we are considering it/working on it”.
    A community member said a few days ago, “Mozilla, don’t ask us what we can do for you, but ask yourself what you can do for us [the people]”. Active contributors are more and more aware of the slight pressure that’s building up to conform to this new product strategy.
     You’d hope that there is still the willingness and interest of the Corporation to support efforts and side-projects that are governed by the community. Great, big and small products sprung off of these efforts in the past.
    Now? There’s still the possibility to have side projects and interests that differ from the general consensus. However, it doesn’t seem to be pretty much appreciated anymore. Efforts in streamlining (or as Mozilla likes to call it: aligning) this community are undoubtedly taking place and have taken place the last months.
    The following remark in the Summit Strategy is especially important for us [1]:
  • Understand the role of “product” in being a Mozillian
    In our opinion, “Product” has no role in being a Mozillian. Only because the Mozilla Corporation decides to push a product forward, doesn’t mean that we volunteers have to. To us, being a Mozillian means pushing the open web forward. And that can be done in a variety of ways.
    We still stand strongly by Mozilla’s values and manifesto. But whenever we see proposals to streamline the community, we both feel that we are all being conditioned into ideas and vision of a somewhat new Mozilla that knows what the community needs but doesn’t quite know how to make it happen.
    We think that Mozilla should be about community, not products. It’s arguably the only thing that truly aligns us, besides the rather philosophical manifesto. And community consists of people. Without people, Mozilla wouldn’t be what it is today. Mozilla would most likely not have as much marketshare if community hadn’t helped out. But people have their own mind, they have their own reasons for contributing to this project and they have their own special areas of interest.
    Tobbi: The only thing where we probably all agree is: We’re all doing our part in advancing the Mozilla Manifesto. Some of us care more about the community and the people therein than about the products, but does this make them less of a Mozillian? I have been a member of the community for about 5 years.
    Tobbi: And I have learned enough to know that community is diverse. And our power comes from our diversity. The corporation has goals, yes, but the corporation is also under a lot of pressure to maintain its position in the market. Communities can help. However I don’t feel that it is acceptable to encourage communities and their members to do something they don’t completely see eye to eye with.
    We miss the times of Livechat, because we felt we had a voice that mattered. Was it a  huge mess because we all had voice? No, there was a clear vertical management strategy, there were Mozilla employees working there that were our “project leaders”, and the reason I put that in quotes is because these leaders hanged out with us with the humility to listen and consider our ideas, and help us foster them without reservations.
    Tobbi: I personally thrive from the ability to have a say in the general direction a project is going. Unfortunately, Mozilla is under a lot of market pressure, which leads to the influencing of community members, and I, as a contributor, am driven to support a part of the Mozilla project which I don’t quite like to contribute to since I have no means by which I can influence the direction in which it is going.
    What kept us coming back? We always valued diversity. We always embraced our   geeky side when volunteering with Mozilla, and we always enjoyed  talking about everything Mozilla-related. We knew we were improving the web, and Firefox was the browser with the right values, and the right license! That’s why we think the Livechat team is still very alive today.
    Mozilla: We, Tobbi and Ricardo, plead you to listen to the voices in your community and give community members an ear for concern. Even the silent voices, and even those who disagree with your current corporate strategy and would rather align to the manifesto in their own way. Having their own opinion is what makes them human.
Thanks, and comments are appreciated!
Tobias Markus (Tobbi) & Ricardo Maçãs (Ricmacas)

Mozilla timeline mockup: Feedback wanted!

Belarussian translation of this blog post can be found here. Thanks to Patricia Clausnitzer for her awesome translation!!!

Hi people,

it was some time since I half-heartedly offered to create a mockup for the Mozilla.org timeline page, something, which was long-desired. I was, until this stage, undergoing major struggle and can feel that I’m not completely over it 😉 But here it is: My first draft of a new timeline page. I tried to fit the design to the Mozilla colors and to make it smooth, however, there are still some parts that needs to be improved. But, we’ll see 😉

The original timeline can be found here: http://www.mozilla.org/about/timeline.html

My mockups can be found here and here.

This is not yet complete (of course) and there are still some things to improve:

  • I have to say that I need to improve the parchment background which does not look very healthy 😉
  • I need to add the Major Software releases to the timeline page

A note to my decisions:

I used the Mozilla star, as a star is often associated with “Hall of fame”, “heaven” and “highlights”, the Mozilla history is kind of both 😉

I used the old parchment, because you could imagine a person from the future finding this old parchment and thinking about how it all began with Mozilla.

Anyway, I’m waiting for your feedback / criticism! Just add comments to this blog post.

Thanks in advance,

Tobbi!

Mozilla UK – Call for feedback!

Hi guys and girls,

as I pointed out in my last blog post, I’m working on the Mozilla UK community site (among many other things), which is my first Mozilla website project. We worked for months, getting a first version of MozUK online. We set up some sites, which (we think) help  users as well as contributors (new and those already being active).

However, as our userbase and page views rise, we need to revise the whole site even more, to give users an optimal experience. And at that point, I want something from you, it’s not much, only a small thing: Your opinion.

Tell us what you think about Mozilla UK, and especially, how we could improve it!

We’ll take your feedback seriously.

Here are some criteria, that might help you evaluate our site:

  • What content do you like most?
  • What content don’t you like so much or don’t you find appropriate?
  • What do you think about the theme?
  • If you could, what would you like to add?

So, after you’ve read this post, please do us a favor and answer the feedback poll we’ve integrated into the site. You help us improve the quality of the site dramatically and push the whole project into the right direction.

Thanks for reading!

Howdy, Aloha, Moin!

Hi to everyone who reads this!

This is the first post on my brand new blog. And the first thing I wanted to tell you, is: Good find! You managed to find this specific blog together with this specific post out of millions of blogs all around the world 😉

Some words about me and my contributions in the Mozilla world:

I’m familiar with many different projects, and do multiple contributions.This includes:

  • SUMO – answering user’s questions on the forum and in LiveChat, as well as translating KB articles into my native language German and improving existing KB articles
  • QA  – writing automated Mozmill testcases (I really have to improve my skills there), running Litmus testcases etc.
  • WebQA – automating existing testcases using the Selenium framework, testing websites using Litmus, especially focused on SUMO (support.mozilla.com) and AMO (addons.mozilla.org)
  • Administrating the Mozilla UK website project together with TMZ and Leo.
  • (when I have time and feel up to it) minor contributions to SUMOdev, this includes writing small (and when I say small I mean tiny) patches for the SUMO TikiWiki etc.

Anyway, if you have any more questions, you can always contact me via email under tobbi (at) mozilla-uk.org, or just add a comment to this blog post.

I feel like adding more details about these contributions in the future, so stay tuned!

— Tobbi

P.S.: If there’s anyone who doesn’t know: All words in the title are greetings, spoken in different parts of the world: Howdy in Southern USA, Aloha is  the Hawaiian language and Moin in Northern Germany 😉