German Community Reboot


What better way to start 2013 than to reboot your community. Last Saturday we met in Berlin and in attendance were 15 of us. The goal was simple. Find a new direction and structure for the community. We had folks from Switzerland, Austria, and Germany so we have an evolution from Mozilla Germany to German Speaking Mozilla. Something similar has happened to the French Speaking Mozilla Community in the last year. Mozilla Hispano is also a huge inspiration.

[Update: I got a bit carried away here. The community has always been inclusive and German-speaking, not just contributors from Germany. The Swiss contingent at the meetup made up of relatively new contributors threw me off. Apologies.]

We wanted to envision a core community that grows to 100, or 200, or 1000 in the next year. The challenge was to come up with a structure to handle that. Some fun facts:

  • We have over 30 million users of the German Firefox version (14 million ADIs)
  • The SUMO site gets 1.7 million unique German speaking visitors per month.

After I gave my introductions and vision for Mozilla communities in general in 2013 (in essence to scale up and move into all areas of the project) the team got right down to business.

The Team!
German Community Meetup Attendees by s_hentzschel on Flickr


First up, a new mission statement. Here it is:

“Eine starke Gemeinschaft für das offene Internet”

This loosely translates as “A strong community for the open web“.


After some brainstorming, discussions, and post-it notes fun, the following functional areas were identified:

  • Administration
  • L10n
  • WebMaker
  • Dev Evangelism
  • Marketing
  • Community Building
  • Policy / Activism
  • Support
  • Programming
Areas of Interest
Areas of Interest (Photo credit: King Molan)

The community will now structure around these areas, with people assigned to work in each area. While we did talk about some specific topics at the meeting, the important thing was that all initiatives and work will flow from this in 2013 and beyond. A commitment was made to integrate more deeply with functional teams at Mozilla, and a structure like this leads easier towards that goal.

Shout Outs

Mozilla events are always a collective effort. Special thanks to:

  • Tobias Markus – for kicking off the organisation of the meeting and helping come up with a date
  • Kadir Topal – for his continued commitment to community, despite his other responsibilities in the organisation
  • Rosana Ardila – for helping with organisation, and convincing me to go ahead with it so soon in the new year
  • William Quiviger – for support on the ground in Berlin and mentorship
  • Attendees – for giving up your weekend to to participate
  • All members of the community – for your dedication and amazing work

Looking forward to the next event to meet even more German speaking community members.

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19 Replies to “German Community Reboot”

  1. Thanks for all of that, though since this event and its crappy planning I don’t consider myself a part of the long-standing (and by far not newborn) German-speaking community any more.

    1. Sorry you feel that way Robert. Yes, the initial planning when choosing dates could have been better. I take responsibility for that. But we decided to go ahead even though everyone could not make it because we felt it was urgent to get things moving. Beyond that I think it is unfair to say there was crappy planning, I didn’t hear that from anyone who attended.

      As for the German-speaking part, you are correct, that is not new and I placed too much emphasis on it. We had some new folks from Switzerland there and it felt like something a little different.

      1. Well, “crappy” might be too strong a word, but inviting not much more then 2 weeks before and that with the holidays in between surely isn’t perfect organization.
        I probably used too strong comments all in all in that comment but I feel more and more that I can’t keep up with non-paid engagement more and more given how much energy work sucks out of me already – and I have some more general dissatisfaction with some recent community things. Nothing to discuss on your blog, though.

        Still, thanks for trying to push things forward here, I hope it helps to grow this community.

  2. Good to hear. I wish that I would have been invited given that I’m part of the community for 13 years now. :/ Hopefully next time.

  3. Some surprise for me about that event. Don’t remember about an invitation for such a meeting. What was the process, which address base for invitation was used, which channel used for communication?

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