Categories: Contributor spotlight

Contributor spotlight – Wxie

Hi folks,

As a Community Manager in the Mozilla Support (SUMO) team, I feel so fortunate to be working alongside so many inspiring contributors, doing amazing things to support the open web. Each of them have their own story. And through this post, I’d like many more people to hear their story.

In this first edition of contributor spotlight, you’ll hear from Wxie, a localizer who help localize support content on SUMO to Simplified Chinese. Feel free to grab a cup of your favorite drink before you learn more about his contribution journey with SUMO.

My motivation was a blend of gratitude for the software that had aided me, like Thunderbird and Firefox, and a sense of community spirit. This motivation and the idea of all software should be free are still the ultimate drive for me to continue my contribution. I really expect this is a life-long journey because I feel that I am helping make the world a better place.

Q: Please tell us about yourself!

My name is Xie. I live in Shanghai, China, a metropolis.

Like many of you, I have an engineering background. I studied physics and Electrical Engineering, have been working in automotive industry for most of my career. I am interested in things related to technology, both software and hardware. I am good at system integration, like combining solutions together to make a product. Now I am doing technical consulting for a living.

In my spare time, I enjoy sports. I used to play soccer with friends regularly, but now I mainly run on my own. Sports keep me motivated and loving the beautiful life.

I am often in IRC ( using wxie as my nick. We can be friends there, too.

Q: What is your SUMO contribution story?

I started contributing to SUMO from May 2016, and I never stop my contribution since then.

I have mainly working on the Simplified Chinese Localization part. I translate the Knowledge-Base articles, like release note, How-to, New-feature-introduction, Trouble-shooting, from English into Chinese. I want to make it easier for Chinese-speaking users to have access to the wonderful world of free internet. Mozilla is a leading organization in this sense.

Apart from Knowledge-Base articles, I also work on UI text at Pontoon. This part of localization requires more discipline and careful thoughts because the text will be directly presented as user interface in the products.

Sometimes I ask and answer questions in our community forums. There I have met many interesting people, and got a lot of help.

You can also contact me at Mozilla Matrix. That is a good place to get quicker response for your questions. In summary, my contribution to SUMO focuses on localization and helping end users.

Q: You indicate in your SUMO profile that you’ve been contributing since 2016 (that’s an amazing milestone!). Can you tell us more about what motivated you to contribute in the first place, and what keeps you going until now?

All this started from the introduction of GNU back in the early year of 21st century. At that time, many people had heard of something called Linux, and I was one of them who dared to order a 6-CD set to install the Debian GNU/Linux system on my new computer.

From that time on, through my GNU system, I enter the world of free software via the GNU website. Not only does the idea of free software attract me, but also there are excellent free programs I am able to use and study. For example, I taught myself C programming though GCC. After years of benefiting from the community’s free programs, I felt a profound sense of gratitude and a desire to give back.

I became a Savannah hack in 2014, a decade ago, to contribute to the GNU project. In 2016, I transitioned from using web-mail to an email client and chose Thunderbird.

Email can be a powerful tool. In May 2016, I received an email from the system asking for support in translating the release notes for Thunderbird 45.0. Considering I was using it for gratis, and I thought I knew some English, I decided to lend a hand. I followed the link and registered as a localization contributor in SUMO (SUpport.Mozilla.Org).

My motivation was a blend of gratitude for the software that had aided me, like Thunderbird and Firefox, and a sense of community spirit. This motivation and the idea of all software should be free are still the ultimate drive for me to continue my contribution. I really expect this is a life-long journey because I feel that I am helping make the world a better place. Would you be part of it?

Q: I know you’re also a big supporter of the free software movement and even part of the Free Software Foundation. Can you tell us more about your activity in other open source communities you’re part of and how it influences your contribution to Mozilla?

As you already know, I support GNU earlier than SUMO, and in 2017 I registered as a member of Free Software Foundation to show my sincere support to free software movement.

I don’t use the term “open source” to associate my contribution to free software. Even though Free Software and Open source software are basically the same category of software, the idea behind it is very different: Free Software advocates computer user freedom, while open source focuses on software development practice.

Actually, my activity in GNU is tightly related to my contribution to Mozilla. First, I am the coordinator of the Chinese translation team for the GNU website. This is a very similar role to the locale leader role in SUMO. I can share my experience between these two roles. Second, both teams are volunteers with enthusiasm. I could talk to them about the relationship of free software and Mozilla so that we can work for both if they wish. Last, I have encountered many excellent individuals from both communities and learned new hacking skills along the way. These friendships and skills give me confidence and push me moving forward. I am grateful to all of them.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you’re facing as a SUMO contributor at the moment? What would you like to see from us in the future?

The Chinese team of SUMO is not in a challenging status at the moment. We have several active members supporting each other, and we are attracting newcomers constantly. However, there is a thing I am worried: many people leave too soon in SUMO before they know why, what and how to contribute. So I think the on-boarding process should be improved. I would suggest that after newcomers’ first contribution there is not only a recognition but also some kind of training session to let them know we welcome them and care about them.

It is always good to have a strong community to support the newcomers, and it is better to keep the newcomers to build a stronger community.

Q: Can you tell us a story about the most rewarding moment and impactful contribution you’ve made in SUMO?

Yes. There were many moments that I felt I achieved something. In 2016, I finished almost all the knowledge-base articles for Simplified Chinese, and I received an email from SUMO to join the All-Hands meeting. It was a surprise. I didn’t know at all that there is such a get-together event. It was an exciting moment when I met all the SUMO contributors and other Mozilla friends. It was rewarding.

Q: What’s your contribution focus at the moment? Any exciting projects you’re working on right now?

At the moment, the team and I are working mainly on Pontoon because Knowledge-base is stable. I am also considering some kind of succession plan to keep the team stable.

In GNU, there are more interesting projects. Besides the web translation, I am also looking into Emacs, gnunet, Guile and GUIX to see what I can do more there.

Q: I know zh-CN has a pretty active local community. Can you tell us more about the regional community there and how you work with them? 

Yes. zh-CN community is very active. We have a local chat group. In the group, people raise questions and get answer and discussion promptly. We often reach agreement regarding specific translations as well as general process through group discussion.

Thanks to SUMO community managers, including Kiki, I could sometimes arrange some small gifts to some members to show our recognition for their outstanding contribution in the localization work.

Q: What advice would you give to someone new who wants to contribute to article localization in SUMO?

Hi, newcomer, welcome to the wonderful world of SUMO. You are awesome!

Localization is an interesting task. If you are good at English and your local language, great, you can start the task right from your language’s dashboard. If you are good at your local language, great too, you can start reviewing other’s translation from the dashboard.

Don’t worry. All the tools and processes are ready for you to use right in your Firefox web browser. You can also find other volunteers from team session and in the contributor forums. We are all here to help you.

Choose an article that is not too long to start, and gradually moves to longer articles. You will win your first SUMO badge soon. Keep going. You will win more.

Stay with Mozilla, good things happen.

I hope you enjoy your read. If you’re interested in joining the Mozilla Support community just like Wxie, please go to SUMO contribute page to learn more. You can also reach out to us through the following channels:

SUMO contributor forums:
SUMO Matrix room: