Non-coding Volunteers, Mission-driven Mozillians, Community Coordinators & SUMO

Hey there, SUMO Nation!

On the weekend of 18th & 19th of November 2017, SUMO representatives took part in a discussion and brainstorming session organized by the Open Innovation team. This post is a summary of what was discussed (including a few definitions to maintain clarity) and a call to action for all of you who express interest in participating in the next stage of community building across Mozilla.

Please read this post carefully in order to avoid confusion or surprises in the coming months. Thank you!


The introductory part allowed everyone invited (representatives from both staff and community for the Reps Council, the Indian community, Localization, and SUMO) explain their project’s goals and current community situation. There was also a presentation regarding the diversity & inclusion status at Mozilla.

Later on, we moved on to reviewing external cases and digging deeper into what was the main problem statement: the way we try to organize communities at the moment is not the most efficient and best use of everyone’s time, energy, and other resources. We want to find a better way with your help and make it work for everyone’s benefit.

Some of the big issues leading to this statement brought up during the session were: inconsistency, competition and conflict, accumulation of power, lack of equal opportunities and oversight.

Thus, our goal was to come together as a group to create and align around a set of principles for developing healthy and cohesive volunteer leadership structures for mission-driven Mozillians.

We agreed to reach this goal through alignment on challenges and opportunities facing volunteer leadership structures at Mozilla today, developing insight into a shared set of principles to guide Mozilla’s support of its community in the future, and engaging a broader audience (this means you) as the next step.

The second day was focussed on revisiting the discussion from the first day and then working together on generating a set of principles and planning the involvement of a larger audience (this includes you as well).

It is very important to note here that all of the information and planning connected with this project is meant to apply and appeal to Mozillians interested in coordinating community activities, without changing or compromising the more “technical” or “task-based” aspects of “getting stuff done” as a Mozillian.

In other words, do not expect any large changes in the way our Support Forums, Social Support or Localization work because of this project. You should expect more opportunities to engage with the wider Mozillian community in your area (of activity or geographical) – and be ready to get involved if you want to.

A Few Definitions

Non-coding volunteers & Mission-driven Mozillians

When mentioning the above, we talked about people who:

  • Regularly contribute to a number of activities in support of Mozilla’s mission
  • Are highly invested in Mozilla as an organization and a mission
  • Contribute in multiple areas (either sequentially or simultaneously)
  • (Usually) do not contribute code to Mozilla’s products and technologies (or it’s not their primary focus)
  • (Usually) have multiple social connections to other contributors

Their activities include: evangelizing, teaching, advocating, localizing, documenting, community building and doing testing.

Leadership & Community Coordination

During the meeting, for lack of a better catch-all term, we agreed to talk about “leadership” and “leaders” as our focus. We all agreed that in the future it would be much better to use a less “loaded” term. “Community coordination” and “Community Coordinators” are friendly replacement suggestions from the SUMO team. You’ve seen them here first! ;-)

Call To Action

We spent the whole weekend discussing the above and working on synthesizing our shared experiences, questions, and ideas.

Now it’s your time to get involved and take part in creating the future of Mozilla’s global community.

Please refer to this Mozilla Discourse thread and Question document to get started.

The deadline for this project is 11th of December.

Thank you & see you on Discourse!




Huge thanks to:

– Konstantina & Martyna for all the logistics

– Lucy, Emma, Sukhmani, Ruben & George for preparing & coordinating the talks and brainstorms

Madalina, Paul & Simone for preparing & representing SUMO

– the Berlin MozSpace for being at its usual warm & welcoming atmosphere (despite and against the fiercely autumnal weather outside)