Innovating for Inclusion in the Mozilla Open Source Support Program

Mozilla was born out of, and remains a part of, the open source and free software movement. Through the Mozilla Open Source and Support (MOSS) program, we recognize, celebrate and support open source projects that contribute to our work and to the health of the Internet.

We believe that the internet is healthiest when a diversity of people and backgrounds contribute to its development. As we note in the new addendum to the Mozilla Manifesto: “We are committed to an internet that includes all the peoples of the earth — where a person’s demographic characteristics do not determine their online access, opportunities, or quality of experience.”

This year, we’ve worked extensively with Mozilla’s Open Innovation team to improve the diversity and inclusion of our grantmaking efforts through MOSS. The Open Innovation team’s research into the state of diversity & inclusion in open source and top-to-bottom review of MOSS, resulted in a number of recommendations for the open source ecosystem at large and MOSS itself. These recommendations are intended to drive real and meaningful change in areas of governance, leadership, events, project places, community design, and engagement.

At the heart of these recommendations is an emphasis on standards and best practices development, especially in the area of data and metrics as critical to understanding the progress of our interventions on behalf of inclusion over time.

We are very pleased to be updating MOSS with new data and metrics standards to better understand the diversity of our application funnel, and to provide applicants with best practices to evaluate their project for inclusive design.  Specifically these program enhancements will focus on the following areas of work:

Gender, Language, and Geography

We will now be asking on our application optional questions about the gender-identity and languages spoken by the core teams with applicants, which combined with geographic data, which we already collect, will substantially help us to better understand the diversity of our application funnel. While the MOSS Committee will not have access to this information, the MOSS staff will use this information to better design our strategy for outreach and engagement across the ecosystem.

Governance, Leadership, and Project design

To support inclusive project design, and awareness we’ve added a new ‘Inclusive Checklist’ to the application process. This checklist is designed to support MOSS applicants in identifying easy ways that they can take steps to improve the diversity and inclusion of their projects. The checklist includes questions around governance, leadership, communication, and project places (e.g., repo, wiki). Moving forward, applicants’ self-assessment on these checklists will be considered by MOSS staff when processing applications. All resources built for these initiatives, including a Code of Conduct review tool, and demographic standards, have been contributed to the CHAOSS working group for Diversity & Inclusion.

Awardee Supplementary Support

One thing we recognize, is that while many open source projects are dedicated to an open web, the how of making their projects and communities more inclusive sometimes involves a steep learning curve. For this reason, starting in 2019, MOSS will also be investing in supplementary funding to many awardees to support them in their efforts to improve and scale their diversity and inclusion initiatives. We will be announcing additional details around this D&I support in the new year.

Committee Training

Finally, we recognize that we also have opportunities to improve as a program ourselves. Working with Mozilla’s Open Innovation Team, our Track 1&2 Committee and staff have all undergone additional training this year on evaluating codes of conduct, and we’ll continue to engage in additional trainings on diversity and inclusion topics next year.

We hope these changes give greater visibility to easy ways open source projects can become more inclusive, while signaling to diverse and underrepresented projects and communities that MOSS is an ally in their work.