Grow Mozilla discussion this Thursday



If you’re interested in helping new people get involved with Mozilla, join us Thursday for an open community building forum.

Exploring Contributor Motivation

Sean Bolton


Why does understanding motivation for open source matter? This allows community builders to design more fulfilling experiences for contributors. It allows a contributor to be recognized in way he or she prefers. It allows community builders to advocate for projects that would be exciting to contributors.

The challenge of studying motivation (and thus recognition) is that our internal biases are strong. I can easily assume that the things I am motivated by are what others are motivated by and the ways I want to be recognized are the ways others want to be recognized. These ideas are deeply engrained – it is our internal motivation mechanism after all.

To find some objectivity in this area, I took from academic writing and did my own user research. The results are were synthesized from Organizing for Open Innovation by Wallin (2010) and countless contributor interviews and interactions I’ve had during my exposure to Mozilla. Some of these interviews were done during Summit 2013 and my Europe trip in early 2014.

Six main areas arose (in no particular order):

  • Intrinsic – This is an internal motivator focused on personal growth and self-actualization. Here people contribute because it is fun for its own sake and because they grow personally from it.
  • Extrinsic – This is an external motivator focused on material recognition such as a badge that a person can point to as a representation  and/or certification of their contribution.
  • Community – This motivator is based on our human need to feel part of a larger group that shares our view of the world – having a sense of belonging. (See Why Do People Join and Stay Part Of a Community for a deeper exploration here.)
  • Preemptive Generosity – This motivator is about giving something before it is asked for. It could be anything and it’s tied to our feelings of reciprocity. In a broad perspective, open source itself often follows this rule by releasing code before others know to ask for it.
  • Social Value – Motivation here is about feeling as if your contributions create a better world. There needs to be a clear and strong sense of impact. As Jimmy Wales once put it, “Usually, when people have an eight-hour binge of editing Wikipedia they think, well, I made the world a little bit better place than it was when I started.”
  • Helpfulness – This motivator is based purely on the desire to help others and give back. This is less about changing the world per se and more about having an impact in a person’s life. Similar but different.

When we can be explicit around these motivators, we can design contributor experiences that support them. That creates a more fulfilling experience for contributors and allows a project to grow while remaining meaningful.

Below is a PDF I put together to explore these motivators as they relate to Mozilla (it’s certainly incomplete). However, these should be relevant in all community driven projects and be non-unique to Mozilla.

contributor motivation

[Post also appeared on Sean Bolton's blog.]

July 1st about:Mozilla Issue: Protect Net Neutrality, Safe Browsing for Domestic Violence Survivors, and more…



In this issue, you’ll find out how to raise your voice in support of net neutrality, read about exciting new contribution opportunities, and learn about a new way to map your career path.

Thanks for advocating for the free Web!

— The about:Mozilla Team Continue reading …

Nourish your community, nourish yourself.



Food is vitally important to nourish the body you live in.    Recognition is how we help feed our communities and nourish them as they make us strong.  Recognition, like food, is for everyone to partake in, and to share.

Used with Creative Commons Liscense

The tools, processes, and systems we use to identify people making contributions in our project vary widely.  It’s a situation created by valuing freedom of systems over efficiency of systems, and that isn’t something that Mozillians are willing to give up.  It makes it very hard to know who to give access and recognition to.   The Community Building team is working long term on this problem.  I’m here to ask you to nourish your community members, on an ongoing basis, by using vouching as a quick and easy way to give meaningful recognition.

The Community Tools team  implemented as a first step in allowing people to self identify as supporters or contributors to the Mozilla project.   The vouching system is one of the major ways we identify people who make actual contributions to the project. Read more about that here.

Being a vouched Mozillian means something.  It means you can be invited to large events like our Summit .  It means you can get access to internal calls .  It means you are visible to the project, as a Mozillian helping us move forward. It means we trust you.  Let’s make our words reflect that trust.

Since the vouching change was implemented we’ve seen some vouches like:

“ Karl has been around a long time.”

“Cindy makes things.”   

We can do better than that.  That is like skipping breakfast.  You get through it, but nothing nourishing happens.

For example, compare the vouches above, to this:

“Lindsey worked nights and weekends to help the Release Engineering team finish the release on time – it went out on time with much higher quality thanks to her extra effort!”  

Ask yourself:

  • Which one will make Lindsey feel valued?
  • Which one demonstrates the higher level of trust and access that being a vouched Mozillian gives her?

If you want to know more: go to the Vouching page on the wiki to see some additional examples.

We should all see vouching as a form of recognition.  Use it to tell people what they did was meaningful.  Help them understand that the additional access and trust we are giving them comes from the impact of their contribution.  Encourage them to keep contributing by saying thank you.

If that isn’t enough for you, do it because it helps us build the OSS community we need… a community where contribution is valued, regularly, in public.

So here is the request:

1) Create a Mozillians account if you don’t have one.  Talk to three people you know and trust in your regional community– ask them to vouch for your work.  You need to be vouched three times before you can vouch for others.

2) If you have an account and three vouches,  go vouch for others.  Yes, you, even you.  This is a change that our unpaid contributors should drive.  You know your regions, your groups, and your people best.  Take the leadership to recognize them for the impact they are making in their areas.  Take the time to make that mean something in our context.

3) Come back here, and share your story in the comments.

  • How did it feel to vouch?
  • How did it feel to receive a vouch that shared your impact, thanked you, or celebrated your contributions?

And always, keep being awesome!

Mozilla Voices has a new name!



Hey gang, Anthony Duignan-Cabrera here, Editor in Chief of what was originally known as Mozilla Voices.

It was felt that the initiative needed a new name, one that made it clear to the audience that this online news and content platform wasn’t ABOUT Mozilla, but about our mission and support of open systems and a free and healthy Internet.

We opened it up to the community and we received dozens of great ideas, some generating wonderful conversations.

But there was one that just jumped out and caused us to pause and take note: The Open Standard

It completely captured the spirit of what we want to accomplish. Not just as a play on words, but one steeped in both the great journalism traditions and Mozilla’s overall mission.

The name was suggested by Justin Crawford, Product Manager for Developer Relations, and when I asked what inspired him, he sent me the most wonderful explanation:

“I love old newspaper names, the ones that use bold words to try and explain what a newspaper is about. It’s a “Monitor” or a “Camera” or it is the “Times” or an “Inquirer” or it is the “Globe”. Those are aspirational names: They say, “A newspaper is not just school board minutes, it’s not about ads. A newspaper is a camera on the times, monitoring the globe, inquiring after facts.”

My dad (Rocky Mountain News circa 1968-1981) has a belt with the word “Newsman” swooping across it like the word “Superman” in old comic books. Maybe the news business isn’t what it was in the 20th century, but at its best, the news did and does live up to its bold self-image. It holds us all to higher standards than our natures might otherwise cleave to. This is what I also admired about Mozilla when I decided to join: We make standards, and we make products that embody standards, and we do it in the open. We do what we do for the sake of standards.

“The Open Standard” is a cute play on words (“Standard” is an old newspaper name, and “open standards” are … well, you know), and that’s what initially brought it to mind. But this name is more than cute. The Open Standard will be a beacon, a tribune. It will rally and inform. In its finest hour it will live up to its name.”

I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you, Justin.


Grow Mozilla discussion this Thursday



If you’re interested in helping new people get involved with Mozilla, join us Thursday for an open community building forum.

Yammer Inclusion Reserach Findings



[On behalf of Tre Kirkman]

A few weeks ago in my blog I announced the Yammer Inclusion research initiative as part of the Diversity & Inclusion strategy. To begin the research I created a public etherpad to gather feedback from the community around uses and problems with Yammer. Today I’d like to share out some key findings and provide an update on next steps.

On the Yammer Inclusion etherpad, feedback identified Yammer as a place to ask questions when there is no readily apparent alternative. In addition, it seems to be a place for community building, especially for remote staff. Inactive users complained that Yammer is frustrating, time consuming, and overly negative, offering no compelling reason to use over other Mozilla communication channels. These issues were both technical (frustrating interface, etc.) and procedural (discussions too ideological).

Responders preferred the staff Yammer for posts containing sensitive or confidential information, although some felt the split leads to a situation where the community exchange is neglected and unused. Overall, there was a common theme that Yammer primarily functions as an open forum to share ideas, engage a wider community, and locate an unknown point of contact better than other channels of communication.

In the coming weeks I will research the recurring issues raised from the initial feedback to find potential solutions. For more information on the initiative, visit the wiki page Communication Research wiki. Please email me at tkirkman at mozilla dot com if you have feedback or ideas to share.

Firefox 32 New Contributors



With the upcoming release of Firefox 32, we are pleased to welcome the 68 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 53 of whom were brand new volunteers! Special thanks to Sezen Günes for compiling these statistics for this release. Please join us in thanking each of these diligent and enthusiastic individuals, and take a look at their contributions:

Grow Mozilla discussion this Thursday



If you’re interested in helping new people get involved with Mozilla, join us Thursday for an open community building forum.

Quality and Impact and the Future of the Grow Program

Sean Bolton


As you know, the Grow program was initially designed to to align with the “Enable Communities that have Impact” goal. The events were intended to mentor and train core contributors to help us bring our products to market and bolster our efforts to recruit new contributors in region.

Since then, we’ve received a lot of extremely helpful and direct feedback from participants, community members who did not attend and from a number of leaders within the Project. The sentiment, echoed on the Project call yesterday, was that the new focus was too much about increasing the size of our community, and not enough about the quality and impact of contribution.

Based on input from our community, and a lot of discussion last week during the community building team’s work week, we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all upcoming Grow events this year, including Tunisia, which was scheduled for this September. The decision was made so that the team can focus on launching a redesigned program aimed at providing more interesting and meaningful opportunities to contribute and innovate. This is very late notice, particularly for Mozillians who have spent time and energy completing applications for Tunisia, creating content, and helping with logistics and planning for the event. Know that we would never have made such a decision if we did not feel in our hearts it was the right one.

What’s next – refocus on quality and impact

We are really looking forward to seeing what opportunities we will have to come together as Mozillians in the near future. We know doing that (bringing communities together) is essential for individual, community and Project growth so planning around this isn’t going to stop – it just may look a little different. We’ve been thinking about things like smaller group meet-ups, either organized by Mozilla or as part of other, larger events like an upcoming open-source conference, where communities work together to provide solutions to very specific problems.

Now that we’ve made the tough decision about Grow, we can shift our focus towards a new program — one that focuses on the quality and impact of contributions and our community has a real, strategic, concerted impact on our goals this year.

We have some ideas already are we’re guessing you have some too so let’s start brainstorming! Here is the challenge we leave you with…

How might we design a program that results in contributions that are more fulfilling to our contributors and have a meaningful impact on our goals this year.

Please share your ideas here:

– The Community Building Team