This is in response to David Boswell’s post about contributing to Mozilla. I’m a SUMO community steward on David’s team that is all about contributors, paths to contribution, and stewardship. We’re looking at all the ways people get involved with Mozilla (or not) and writing our stories, so I thought I’d share mine.
I first used Netscape on Solaris in my work at Sun Microsystems in 2002 and I’ve never looked back. So, I’m a long-time user and very short-time contributor. My first real contribution to Mozilla, other than evangelism, was to the SUMO knowledge base four months ago.
I found out about a job opening on the SUMO team and this opportunity inspired me to check out and register on http://support.mozilla.com where I found information about how to help with Firefox Mobile support and information about who to contact. So, I emailed Kadir Topal as the help wanted section suggested and within two days, he wrote me back this message:
Thanks a lot for your interest in helping with Firefox for Android, it would be great to have your expertise in our forums. We are quite new with support for mobile Firefox, but our mobile user base is growing fast, and our support forums are an ideal way to find out what things Firefox users have the most issues with. In fact you can quite often find the actual developers of mobile Firefox answering questions in our forum.
If you want to get started, just follow this link:
It will show you a filtered view of our support forum, with only the mobile questions selected. After signing up you can choose any one of the questions and start helping. You can also list the question by “most requested”, just click that button on top of the list. That way you can answer questions that concern most users.
And I’d encourage you to have a look at the Contributor Homepage to see what we are currently up to and where we meet to talk about SUMO and documentation needs: https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Contributor+Home+Page
If you have any question, you can of course mail me, or ask me in the forums at all times.
Welcome to SUMO!
I referred back to Kadir’s message a lot over the next few weeks. I did look at the Contributor Home Page and I started calling into the weekly SUMO meeting. I read about how SUMO needed knowledge base editors and, feeling more comfortable with that avenue than forums, I fixed a few typos and submitted them for review.
A few of my edits were approved and I started to get really happy and excited, so I set up a Meetup group for Firefox for Mobile and scheduled our first event. This was a new reason to live! A reason to breathe! The SUMO meetings felt like fresh air to me and I couldn’t feel more privileged to be part of a team than I do today.
I continued to attend the meetings and found that I looked forward to them every week. The team always took time to laugh together and include me in the discussions when possible. I gave a little input here and there when asked and followed this blog until I joined the team officially in July.
My first content project that really excited me was an animated gif that included a full tour of Firefox mobile. This effort wasn’t included in the knowledge base, but it was the first ‘fire in my belly’ project I had after joining Mozilla. I started looking at our processes for updating support articles and suggested some simplifications on the SUMO Contributor Forum. And finally, after watching for a number of weeks, I started to answer forum questions on a regular basis.
I’ve recently found that answering forum questions is the most fun and rewarding way I can contribute to SUMO when I have a million other things going on. It is also the place where we need to grow the most. So, part of what I’ll do this quarter in the Steward role will be to encourage others to help with the SUMO forum questions and explore all the possible ways that we can grow our forum support community and reward the awesome contributors that shoulder the majority of Firefox support questions that need answers every day.