Regional Communities At Mozilla

Regional communities have always been cornerstones at Mozilla. From the days when they sprung up around localisation to today when they are involved in activities across the board, our local communities have impact on our products and mission. Mark Surman’s recent post outlined the formation and goals of the new Participation team. The key point is that we want to create a virtuous circle where our volunteer community has direct impact on our products, while at the same time getting value in the personal and professional lives. While radical participation is being setup for exploration, the good news is we have programs and structures that work today. The Community Development Team will be focusing in a couple of main areas. One is volunteer community leadership driven by changes in the Reps program. The other one is working with product/functional teams at Mozilla to better align with their priorities and identify projects to work on with impact. Participation infrastructure, aka community tools, is the glue that holds everything together.

For more context, please read these other posts from some of my team members.

Where Does Regional Fit?

In a very broad sense, the Regional team will focus on the health of our local communities on the ground. Our communities, whether they be country-based (e.g. Mozilla Philippines) or a broader region (e.g. Mozilla Hispano) touch all parts of the globe. They range from small to large. While many Mozillians work individually and identify as part of a functional team, many more identify as part of a regional team. They are not mutually exclusive of course.

Jump! Mozilla Philippines Group Shot
Jump! Mozilla Philippines Group Shot

Why are they important?

  • People: They enable people to connect from all walks of life behind a common mission. There is a sense of camaraderie, sharing, and fun.
  • Language: l10n teams still have a crucial role in ensuring our products are localised, our product pages are translated, and our mission and the web ecosystem is understood by as many people on the planet as possible. There is still more work to do to make everything we do open to more languages.
  • Culture: Understanding cultural norms is crucial for the organisation to adapt and apply our mission everywhere. Different cultures help shape and change Mozilla, for the better.
  • Diversity: Input and opportunities for everyone give everything we do a rich foundation. It is reflected in our products, and in the way we work.

And there are more reasons. Regional communities have sprung up organically and are structured in many different ways. Mozilla India and Mozilla Hispano have working groups. In the Philippines, a Rep leads a functional area in the community such as localization, developer relations, FSA, education and women empowerment. Many have a strong online presence, with blogs, photo streams, social channels, and more. Some have community spaces for co-working and events. Find the community near you on our listings at mozilla.org.

Goals

The focus for 2015 and beyond will be:

  • Support our communities to be set up for success. This is of course catch-all, but worth calling out explicitly. Community Health is the foundation from which everything else follows.
  • Continue aligning communities towards product and functional impact. Today, our products such as Firefox and Firefox OS are our primary levers for carrying out our mission. They give us influence. I think in the last few years, via events such as Summits, brownbags, Mozillians email, and other channels we have done a good job of reminding people what work will make the biggest impact.
  • Support functional teams: How can Mozillians be more embedded in teams in the organisation? One way is via a number of pilots we’ll be doing throughout the year, matching volunteers to projects that will help move things forward.
  • Leadership: Not just in the sense of community leaders, but how can we empower all Mozillians to be leaders. This could mean a project leader, a functional lead, an events lead, a policy lead, a recruitment lead, and so on. Beyond Mozilla, how can we help Mozillians be leaders in other parts of their lives? The Reps program will be focusing on leadership this year and we will be working closely together.
  • Support: How can help in structuring communities for optimal impact? What processes can we put in place to detect discord in communities earlier and act before it gets out of hand.
  • Reconnect: Communications are crucial. We want to hear your ideas what you are doing, and we as regional community managers want to communicate plans, priorities and pointers with you.
Mozilla India in Hyderabad, April 2014
Mozilla India in Hyderabad, April 2014

The Team

Our regional sub-team is myself (EMEA), Gen Kanai (Asia), and Guillermo Movia (LATAM). If you live in other parts of the world, we have you covered as well. William Quiviger, who has substantial regional community building experience, will be providing guidance and support. As we proceed we will be evaluating the need for other resources.

How Can You Help?

You can help primarily by becoming more involved in your local community. Together we are stronger. Even if that means giving constructive criticism to help the community adapt and grow. As outlined above, some of our goals are not fully defined. Help us define them. Start conversations within your community on what they all mean to you. Coming very soon, we will be sending out a survey with a focus on finding out more about our regional communities. Please fill it out to help us get a better understanding of how we can support you.

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