We at Mozilla are a global community connected by a common cause. That's the logic and is straight forward right? Well, it happens in daily life and obviously it can be felt and seen over IRC as some are responded to and some aren't. We have our ups and downs in daily life but we judge each other based on our first impression all the time and based off of physical appearance. We immediately jump to conclusions and to what we feel after meeting that person and that could've been a positive or a negative experience. Now, when we are to interact with those on projects or in groups, we have second thoughts and start doubting that person's ability to work. However, if we flashback to the first impression we made, what could we have done different? Were you treating the other individual rudely? Or was the other individual treating you rudely? This creates the immediate first impression and then we start treating that person the way we were treated. And we continue to do that in daily life. However, if we change our act and treat that person with dignity and respect even though they came off as a rude and grumpy person in the first place. We never knew if that person had a bad day or if that person had some serious issues that was stuck to them and needed to be resolved. In all's end, if we treat people the way we want to be treated, we could change the world and obviously make the world a better place to live and work in. There should be no conflicts between individuals because of race, ethnicity or anything. However, there are people that don't understand the "treat people the way you want to be treated" philosophy because just recently I asked a fellow classmate of mine to help me do something as we are doing this as a class for a Christmas party that is planned for the surrounding communities and they refused. I was partially left in and charge and to lead. In the end, I asked them why they didn't do what I asked, and the response I received? "I'm not a slave". NOW, you make the call, "treat people the way you want to be treated?" or "give them a second chance?"
As many of you may know, I'm actually pretty young. I'm a volunteer and not a staff member. I recently found work at my local Wendy's and then the proceeding week I was called for an over the phone interview by the library. In Alberta, the minimum wage is $9.95 per hour and that's what I'm being paid at Wendy's right now. The rate offered by the library was $11.44 per hour. I kindly told the library then I found other opportunities. Now, I bet you're wondering why I turned the offer down and how does this blog post relate to Mozilla but I'll talk about that later. I want to compare what experience and work I have already gained and will gain more when working with Wendy's versus working a the local library. In my opinion, the customer is always placed first and obviously at the library people leave and go, there's nobody there to greet you unless you have an issue. But, you come to Wendy's with one purpose and that's to purchase food. I keep thinking if the decision I made was right, I can't be sure that I made the right decision but all I would be doing at the library would be shelving books. At Wendy's, I gain more experience and insight with the outside world by seeing the different types of customers there are, preparing orders and cleaning. With all these things, I can use it at another job and possibly even at home. With the main job at the library;shelving books, I lack the reading out books. I would've done a bad job as well and I wouldn't have learned any life skills. Now, this all relates with me still being in school and taking the leadership class that is available. The actual name for the program is Human and Social Services and really, a lot of students when asked about why they don't take leadership, they ask "what's so good about it?" or "who needs it?". In my opinion, contributing to Mozilla is all about leadership and taking the torch!
Leadership, when you first think of it, they don't teach you life lessons but only teach you how to lead but I've now gotten to understand leadership in a different perspective. Leadership isn't just about how to lead but it's really about public speaking, taking risks, building community, volunteering, mentoring and working in groups on projects. And you're wondering why I think differently and why I may have a very different perspective.
With public speaking, you can speak loudly and freely at Wendy's but obviously there is no harassment permitted. At the library, it's obviously a quiet place and you have to keep it down. I'm somewhat a loud person at times. With taking risks, there isn't much risk involved at the library but at Wendy's, you face the risk or burning yourself, taking an incorrect order or even mishandling the change for somebody. How does this tie back to Mozilla? Well, I took the risk to facilitate the "What does Mozillian mean?" session at the summit. With the other key points in leadership, building community, mentoring and working in groups on projects. You need a strong community in order to mentor each other and to cooperate effectively on projects. This relates to Wendy's as I'm the new guy and I obviously am in training, with the library, I don't feel that I can express myself in a quiet environment and place. Also, if I was to be mentored (trained) to work in the library, it would have to be out of the visitors eye because you don't want to annoy the visitor. So, this is why I believe I made the right decision to choosing to work at Wendy's. Now, to tie this all back to Mozilla, we are a global community that mentors each other and we work on projects all the time! So this is why leadership exists in Mozilla even when you don't think there is any leadership.
Now, in the end, really - how does this tie all the way back to Mozilla? My key area of contribution to is SUMO (Support), and with the community that exists there, I'm happy but not extremely happy because I know it is possible for it to be better. I gained insight through SUMO about Firefox, was made more aware of Firefox for Android and am helping with Firefox OS questions. I gained experiencing in the browser field and the technology field and I was more aware of the tools Mozilla has and how it is better than other browsers! The most important thing is that SUMO has mentors and I am one too now, but when I got started, I was happy to be in a place where everybody was so welcoming and friendly. I can say that SUMO isn't as fun filled as it was but the excitement still exists. I know that SUMO can do better and I believe it has to do better in order for us to cooperate more and do more in a global community that is connected by a common cause.
I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Mozilla Summit in Toronto. I started contributing to Mozilla with live chat support on support.mozilla.org in 2011. I slowly left Mozilla when live chat support was gone. But with the growth of Mozilla I stayed and believed strongly in what Mozilla was trying to do and accomplish for the web and community. I am grateful to be able to attend the summit, meet peers that I have worked with, talked with and communicated with. At the same time, there are things that needed to be resolved and being able to talk in person to those to resolve those issues, tensions that we may have had with each other. It was great to step away from the computer and have a social life and to talk with others.
I arrived at about 2 PM Friday of the summit which is a bit late and I know that. Some things that I didn't get were some stickers that were available earlier, opening speeches, meeting other people and not getting a room key that was summit branded. I was glad to see that there were still welcome kits available, that I was still able to find the people I wanted to meet and that the karaoke was just spectacular and fun to watch.
I facilitated a session called "What does Mozillian mean?". I was late for that session due to check in wait times and that I didn't eat for a while either. I ended up being 15 minutes late and so I had to take and facilitate the session in a different way than planned out by others and did it the way I wanted all along. It really came down to the manifesto and it was quite troubling and surprising for many and me myself to hear that not everyone may agree with the manifesto or that there were parts that people were arguing over and yet discussing human resources matters.
At the main room where we all sat, ate, met and chatted, we were also introduced to concepts and ideas that we may have never heard of. The UP project and the Australis project interested me in good and bad ways.
One thing that went bad is that I spilled hot chocolate on myself - yes, shame on me for not drinking coffee. My grey cloud summit shirt is now stained- boo! I can't wear it into public now but I guess I can wear it home at show pride while doing so.
Unfortunately, due to commitments to school, I left early Sunday. I was unable to attend the SUMO session which I really wanted to attend and I was unable to have the last dinner and rock it out with dancing at the end. I am glad that all Mozillians had fun and that all were having a blast.
Something that I would suggest is having a SUMO meetup as this is something that all SUMO contributors would benefit from as there are tensions between each other, disagreements and not liking each other. This would help us communicate with each other to make sure that we know of the road map that SUMO has and what the SUMO team is trying to accomplish for us, what they want to do for us and at the same time learn what would be helpful for us volunteers.
As a Mozillian, attending the Mozilla Summit is a huge thing as I am going to meet people for the first time in real life. Sure, we chat over video and what not but it will be an exciting yet nervous experience. With about 1 week and a half to go, I have signed up to facilitate 2 supporting sessions, these sessions will be interesting as although I have addressed crowds of 10 or 20 before and did pretty well, I don't know how I will be addressing a large crowd. At this moment, I am starting to write a list of what I need for traveling, even though it's a 3 day trip, I do need my necessities. With the brownbags, e-mails that are received and with the chats in #mozsummit on IRC, I can really pumped up and excited to be at the summit. Although I wish I could be there longer, due to commitments to school, I really can't. I know that the summit will definitely be a blast!! There are many people I want to meet. People that I don't even know can always be my friend, who knows? We could always cooperate. With the sessions I'm facilitating, I am highly suggesting icebreakers to break the barriers between those that won't talk to each other. This will help them to get to know each other and know them better and eventually be friends. I have experienced this and I love it! I just love it! Although I am not doing behind the scenes for the summit, answering questions here and there and reading wiki's really just fill my day that Mozilla is able to provide such joy and entertainment to it's volunteers and staff. Keep on rocking the free web!
Where I'll be: Toronto
My name is Andrew, also known as feer56. I am a Mozillian and I contribute mainly to SUMO. In my spare time, I also answer questions on Facebook and read on about Mozilla. The reason for this post and to start off my blog with this first post is that I don't want Tobbi or Ricmacas to feel left out even though there are many that agree and disagree with them. I am not here to quote anybody but to respond to what I see and what I have read.
Before I would like to continue on, I would like to define community and obviously, I would like you to define it as well.
According to Wikipedia, one of it's definitions are that a community can refer to a usually small, social unit of any size that shares common values.
We obviously are a not a small unit of size but we are a social unit that shares common values. Or wait.. are we?
It seems to me that us as volunteers or better yet know as contributors, don't share much common values. As said before, a lot of things are done private now and obviously sometimes rushed through, thus not give any contributors any chances to stand up and take that job. Do we want to do that job/ assignment sometimes? Yes, we do but when we are a tad late, we miss the hit and we have to wait for the next opportunity to come around.
I agree with the points made in Tobbi's blog, I agree with them and obviously, employees don't because they belong to another group.
As I also read Gervase Markham's response, he's identifying that a leader has always been there, yes but we need a central leader, we don't just need a leader to point fingers. I did find a central leader for myself and somebody to go to when I have issues but at the same time, that person is limited to what they can do. If they most likely can't answer you, they'll direct you to the person that is in charge of that section but in the end, I end up getting no response. Why? Because there is no central leadership, there must be a leader to guide, point and ask that person in charge of that area to respond to you. It's not easy when you're doing something and you are asking a question and you get no response. And, no I'm not talking about staff being in PTO or catching up after vacation or from a workweek. I'm literally saying that I get no response. If I ask somebody else, I'm obviously directed back to that person and from there I'm lost, what do I do? Where do I go? No where, because there is no central leader and obviously contributors who are part of a community lose faith, interest, trust but will still believe that Mozilla is doing good for the web and will still contribute.
One of the things identified correctly are goals that are set for the sprint or quarter. I love how we're defined as non-employees by Gervase in his post on this topic. Do I really? No, I would love to just be called a contributor, being called a non-employee makes us weak, being defined as a contributor makes us strong and allows work harder. It's like going into a organization and being asked "Do you work here?" and obviously the answer will be no but if that organization asked instead "Do you volunteer for us?" and some will say yes and some will say no but those that say no may instead ask, how can I be part of this organization by volunteering? Word choices matter and so going back to the topic of employees or as I like to call them a staff member trying to reach that goal for the quarter. Having set goals are no room for contributors obviously would tell contributors that, this project exist but you can't do anything about it once I'm finished the project. And so, that sense of pride, love and respect to that person is lost and community is lost from there as well.
From what I've been hearing, the upcoming summit which I'll be attending in Toronto will reshape up community, rebuild it and will definitely address the issues. From my perspective, that won't happen, but I can't be sure on that.
In the end, what I say and think doesn't matter because obviously nobody cares because I'm just a contributor? No, there are still great people out there that listen and help you along the way. My closing remarks is that we need to take a step back and figure out why contributors come and go, is there is a specific reason? We obviously take the reason "just no longer interested" too vaguely. There is a underlying reason and because we don't ask the question "Why are you no longer interested?". We also need to take a step back and build community, having poor relationships affect everybody in the workplace and obviously contributors contribute to a work place.