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.