Tag Archives: communities

Why my community is nothing like your community

I feel very fortunate that I was able to attend Community Leadership Summit ‘09, that happened past weekend in San Jose. As it was only just a few days away from OSCON ‘09, biggest open source convention in the world, the mix of participants was skewed towards open source projects. I’m really happy about this because it allowed me to how drastically different projects interact with their communities and better reflect on my own community work.

To what extent do participants in joint activi...
Image via Wikipedia

Being a Web 2.0 alpha invite geek, I was naturally attracted to discussions about tools and work-flows that are in use. While we all deal with communities on daily basis, we have vastly different metric and approaches toward them.

Taking a number of open source projects for example, there was a lot of talk about counting SVN commits, patch and bug triage and mailing list management (visualization, early flame-war thread detection, etc.). On top of that, having a clear roadmap and goals present an important value for community so that they know where the whole project is going. This is worlds apart from your classical Web 2.0 startup where you are worrying about signups, users engagement and the number of mentions on Twitter and blogs.

Yet this does not mean that we can’t learn from each other. While their values might be different, we all still need to define goals for our communities, listen to them and then work with them so that they can reach their goal together with you. It just means that we have to talk more in meta terms, so we can identify different patterns taking shapes and then we can learn from specific case studies.

Incidentally, it looks like that the tools we have access to today are way below the needs and requirements of most of communities. Tracking of interactions across different online mediums, aggregating bugs and feedback together or even simple things like mailing list management is something that lots of people found lacking. While most of them want their tools to be free and open, there is certainly a market for better tools to support a wide variety of communities that are starting to form online and offline.

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Zbigniew Braniecki – the power of communities [firefox3 release party notes]

Mozilla (mascot)  

Image via Wikipedia

Zbigniew Braniecki – the power of communities; how to create communities, what does it mean to have a community and what does it mean to participate to communities.


Why people do things

The do it because they want a reward in some way. There are different types of rewards:

  • external motivations (good grade, money, airline miles)
  • hobby
Driven by intristic motivation, practice for interst and enjoyment. Gives you skills, knowledge, experience. But the goal is a personal fulfillment.

Volutneering – highest level on Maslow’s hiarachy of motivation. 

Mozilla communites are organic. They are organic and part of Mozilla project from the day 0. They contribute to each and every element of the system. Create new elements and serve as whistle-blowers. Contribute their unique skills and knowledge and are united by the goals of manifesto.


Crop circle community project – as an example

It’s a firefox logo in a field of corn. It’s the same technique that aliens use 😉

Firefox Crop Circle
Creative Commons License photo credit: John Griffiths


Firefox Flicks
The other example is Firefox Flicks, it’s a community made of clips that are promoting Firefox.

Example video clip:



With time, the development of Firefox/Mozilla code-base split 60% – of payed people vs. 40% of contributed code. Mozilla started hiring people, but the natural source of community, were former community members who just contributed to the level that made the project recognizable. Then they got hired to be able to spend even more time and effort in the project. This also means that Mozilla is representing American dream, if you enjoy what you do it is possible to get help to spend all of your time on the project you like and enjoy.

Mozilla is also doing Internships that are focused on “you” creating what you want, and focusing on things that you want to work on. It also means that organization is not employing people who are doing it just for money, but can attract great and passionate people. It also means that it can do more with a smaller team, and everyone is a community.


Something bigger

Mozilla is not only about Firefox, it’s something much bigger. A lot of great other things are being developed, after getting Firefox 3 out of door, the idea is to work on Thunderbird, more localization.


Thunderbird 3

The idea for next major version of Thunderbird, by Mozilla Messaging, connect social network, online identities and such.


Mobile Solutions

Working on new ways to interact with mobiles, how to use internet and new interaction paradigms.


Firefox Mobile Concept Video from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Mozilla Manifesto

It was not created in the beginning. It was created just last year. They asked the fundamental question – What does it mean to be part of Mozilla, what is the goal?


Excerpt from the Manifesto:


  1. The Internet is an integral part of modern life–a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
  2. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
  3. The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.
  4. Individuals’ security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.
  5. Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.
  6. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
  7. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.
  8. Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.
  9. Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.
  10. Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.


Firefox 3 has been released

1.5 million people in the beta testing community program.


Turn your energy on


We can all help with:

  • hunt bugs
  • improve quality
  • accessibility
  • write extensions
  • develop code
  • promote web standards
  • improve documentation
  • share ideas
  • create themes
  • build communities
  • help others
  • localize
  • spread the word
  • and lots of other ways..


Upcoming projects

A set of tools, guidelines and documentations that help new volunteers to form new communities. Help explain to people how and why communities work and what they can do about this.



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