A few weeks ago I attended the Aviary.pl Mozilla community meetup in the beautiful city of Gdansk in Poland. Big thanks to the community for the welcome and organisation. I was there on behalf of the Mozilla Reps Council to observe and report back on how this successful community is running and to run some new ideas by them and inform about how the Reps program fits into the new Mozilla universe.

Where would you like to go?
Where would you like to go?

Structure

The format of the weekend has not changed much since and is as William Quiviger wrote about in 2010. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The Aviary.pl Crew in action
The Aviary.pl Crew in action

In summary:

  • Day 1 : Meet in the late afternoon / early evening and catch up, talk, hack together.
  • Day 2 : Day of sessions, conversation, status updates, and more.
  • Day 3 : Voting in the new board and goal setting for the next 6 months

It was just the right balance between getting work done and collaborating and learning from each other. On Saturday evening after dinner we settled into some game playing (board and video) that showed the great camaraderie that exists in the team.

Governance

Aviary.pl is a structured organisation with a board, a board audit committee, and members.

The board and audit committee are rotated every two years. Aviary.pl tried and failed to become a registered non-profit organisation in Poland once before and during the weekend documents were prepared to make a second application. The main reason for this is to accept money more easily. I know that other Mozilla communities are wondering whether to do this in their country. You should examine if you really need to do it, and if you do to expect a certain amount of administrative overhead.

Many Mozilla communities have problems attracting and keeping new members. What I liked about Aviary.pl in this context is that they have a set process for new recruits that includes mentoring for 6 months which in general seems to lead to a better retention rate.

Guests

One thing that worked really well was the presence of invited guests from outside the Mozilla project. Members of the Gnome, Opera and Kaszëbsczi language communities brought a fresh perspective to proceedings. Also present was Lukasz Kluj who works for Lewis PR that does PR work for Mozilla in Poland.

Kashubian (Kaszëbsczi) Language

Yurek Hinz, among other things, works promoting the Kashubian language. He talked to us about his experience on getting the language integrated into Firefox, both the challenges and opportunities for a small language. Some interesting random points:

  • In the 2002 census, 53,000 people in Poland declared that they mainly use Kashubian at home.
  • Currently 3 active members of the team working on the Firefox localisation
  • After many false starts, it reached beta in 2011 and full version in 2012 listed at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all.html
  • Not getting ADU stats from Mozilla yet, we don’t know the number of users currently
  • Supporting languages like this really differentiate Mozilla over other browser and software vendors where they only support languages based on market forces

In Summary

Aviary.pl is working well. It is made up of dedicated individuals. In numbers it is strong, yet as always new contributors are welcome. The community was established in 2004 making it one of the more mature communities. As with all established Mozilla communities, it faces challenges in adapting to new Mozilla projects and priorities while at the same time keeping on top of localisation work. I gave my thoughts on how Aviary.pl can rise to the challenge and they have already been moving in that direction with outreach and development efforts.

[More Pictures]

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Gdansk Goodness – Aviary.pl In Action
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