2014 halfway point for Community Tools

As part of Mozilla’s 2014 goal to grow the number of active contributors by 10x, we have been adding new functionality to our tools. Community Tools are the foundation for all activities that our global contributors do to help us achieve our mission. At their best, they enable us to do more and do better.

We have a comprehensive roadmap to add more improvements and features, but stepping back, this post summarizes what the Community Tools team has accomplished so far this year. Tools are an org-wide, cross-functional effort with the Community Building team working on tools such as Baloo and the Mozilla Foundation building tools to enable and measure impact (see areweamillionyet.org). We’re in the process of trying to merge our efforts and work more closely. However, this post focuses on mozillians.org and the Mozilla Reps Portal.

mozillians.org

Our community directory, has over 6000 profiles of vouched Mozillians. This is a core way for volunteers and staff to contact each other and organize their programs, projects and interests through groups. Our efforts have a common theme of making it easier for Mozillians to get the information they need. Recently, we’ve worked on:

  • Improvements to vouching – making it much clearer who can access non-public information using Mozillians.org (people who have been vouched because they participate and contribute to Mozilla) and how that list of people can grow (through individual judgments by people who have themselves been vouched numerous times).
  • Real location information on profile – using geographical data for Country, Region and City information. No more duplicates or bad locations.
  • Curated groups – increasing the value of groups by having a curator and information for each new group. Group membership can also be used for authorization on other sites through the Mozillians API.
  • Democratize API access – making it easier for any vouched Mozillian to get an API key to access public information on mozillians.org (coming soon). For apps that want to use Mozillians-only information, developers can request a reviewed app API key.
  • New account fields on profiles – adding more ways to contact and learn about contributors. The new fields include Lanyrd, SlideShare, Discourse, phone numbers and more.

Reps Portal

The portal for Reps activities and events has over 400 Reps and documents over 21,000 of their activities since the Reps program started 3 years ago. It provides tools for Reps to carry out their activities as well as public-facing information about thousands of Reps-organized events and general information about the Reps program. So far this year, we have:

What’s next?

We’ve made great progress this year. There’s still a lot to do. For mozillians.org we want to focus on making contributor information more accessible, recognizing contributors in a meaningful way, and creating a suite of modules. On the Reps Portal we will work on scaling operations, measuring the impact of activities and events, and creating a community leadership platform.

The roadmap describes specific projects, and we’ll continue blogging about updates and announcements.

Want to help?

We’d love your help with making mozillians.org and the Reps Portal better. Check out how to get involved and say hi to the team on the #commtools and #remo-dev IRC channels.

Important changes to mozillians.org vouching

Today we are rolling out new changes to the vouching system on mozillians.org, our community directory, in order to make vouching more meaningful.

mozillians.org has a new vouch form

mozillians.org has a new vouch form

Vouching is the mechanism we use to enable Mozillians access to special content, like viewing all profiles on mozillians.org, certain content on Air Mozilla, and Mozilla Moderator. Getting vouched as a Mozillian means you have made a meaningful contribution.

Action required

If you attended the 2013 Summit, there is no impact to how you use the site and no action required. But…we can use your help.

If you have vouched for others previously, go to their profiles and complete the vouching form to describe their contributions by September 30th. You can see the people that you have vouched listed on your mozillians.org profile.

If you did not attend the 2013 Summit, you can still use the mozillians.org site as you do now, until September 30th.

After September 30th, your profile will become unvouched, unless a Mozillian, who attended the 2013 Summit, vouches for you again.

Both volunteers and paid staff are being treated the same when it comes to receiving multiple vouches. That means everyone who wants to vouch for contributors needs to first receive 3 vouches – more information below.

Most importantly, no one’s vouched status is disappearing this week.

More details and an FAQ on the Vouching wiki page.

Thanks to the Mozillians.org Team who worked on this big initiative to make vouching better. The new vouching system was designed through discussions at Grow Mozilla meetings and several forum threads on community-building and dev.community-tools.

Better location information on mozillians.org profiles

Mozillians.org, our community directory, now has more accurate geographic data for 6000 vouched Mozillians. You may need to update your profile, since not all of the existing data could be migrated, some migrations may not be accurate, and you may want to review your privacy settings.

profile-location-search

You can now add your location to your profile by searching a map

The new location functionality uses some great libraries and services – Leaflet, Mapbox and OpenStreetMap. Leaflet provides the user interface on the Edit Your Profile page. Mapbox is a mapping platform that allows us to use custom maps. OpenStreetsMap has structured location information that is used for the geolocation data.

Having accurate location data makes it easier for Mozillians to find other contributors in a specific country, region or city. This is especially useful for community builders or event organizers. In the past, we had a curated list of countries and all regions and cities were stored as text. This meant we had lots of duplicate data (“NYC” and “New York”) and lots of unstructured data.
This release resolves numerous outstanding bugs (see bugs dependent on tracking bug 920651).

We’ll now be able to use location data in other parts of the site, such as displaying a map of members on a group page. Look for more functionality that makes use of location information later this year.

Give it a try

Better location information is a big improvement for mozillians.org profiles. Take 2 minutes to Edit Your Profile to add or edit your correct location – it only takes a moment.

You may see issues with the map data that is provided by OpenStreetMap, and a some of our tester already discovered a few. You can let OpenStreetMap know about these issues by following our instructions for reporting bad location data.

This release has been tested on desktop devices and is largely untested on mobile devices. This is a great opportunity to get involved. If you see any issues with the location interface, file a bug and we’ll look into it. Also, stop by the #commtools IRC channel and say hi to the team.

Add more accounts to your mozillians.org profile

You can now add accounts from three popular Mozilla sites to your profile on mozilllians.org, our community directory. This changes adds support for wiki.mozilla.org, webmaker.org and reps.mozilla.org accounts. Simply sign-in to Edit Your Profile, and then fill in the accounts you want to add. You can choose to make those accounts publicly viewable or only show them to other vouched Mozillians.

New account types

You can now add accounts from three popular Mozilla sites to your mozillians.org profile

And while you are updating your profile, be sure to add your timezone. This is especially helpful for finding good times to chat with others who are in different time zones.

Introducing a better reporting system for Mozilla Reps

Starting today we are switching to a new reporting system for Mozilla Reps that is easier, faster, and activity-based. This means there are no more monthly reports, and Reps can report activities as they happen.

Reps have a better, faster form for documenting activities

Reps have a better, faster form for documenting activities

We originally chose a monthly reporting system because of technical limitations when reports were first posted on the wiki. This new activity-based reporting will provide more frequent reporting, more valuable information and better measurement of the impact of the Reps program. Reps do great things all the time, and we want to be able to show that success to them and others involved with Mozilla.

The new reporting system introduces two types of reporting (active and passive) in order to make it easier to communicate activities and save time. Active reports are done by completing a simple form. Passive reports are automatically generated as Reps work on different efforts. When a Rep creates an event or attends an event on the Reps Portal, a passive report will automatically be created about that action. A Rep’s mentor will be notified when a Rep organizes or attends an event, and that information will appear on the Rep’s profile.

A Rep no longer need to create reports saying she or he is organizing or attending an event, since it will be done automatically. In the future, we plan to add more types of passive reports, such as tweeting or blogging about a Mozilla topic.

To help Reps get started with these new reports, we will send some initial reminders to the reps-general forum, and then the friendly ReMoBot will send email reminders when a Rep has not reported any activities in 3 weeks. To prevent mentors from getting too many report notifications by email, mentors will receive daily digests that summarize the activities of their mentees.

What happens to existing reports? They have been migrated and now show up as individual activities where it makes sense.

Reps do a lot for Mozilla. We think this new reporting system will greatly improve our ability to show the impact each Rep and the Reps program as a whole are having as Mozilla builds the Internet that the world needs.

Like any process change, the new reporting system may not be perfect and may have bugs, so please do share feedback and ideas with the Reps Dev team or Council. We will continue to improve our tools and processes. If you see some odd behavior, please file a bug.

You can read more about the reporting system in the updated Reports SOP. To add a report go to the Dashboard and click ‘Add report’ or bookmark the direct link.

Welcome to a world of better Reps reports! Special thanks to the ReMo Dev team, Council, and Mentors who have worked on the new reporting system for the last few months, from design to testing. It has been a big effort, and we are excited to launch today.

Plans to improve the vouching process for mozillians.org

As we grow to a Million Mozillians, we want to make sure tools like our community directory at mozillians.org can support that growth, and we’re working on some improvements based on feedback from many Mozillians.

During the last two months ideas for mozillians.org sign ups were shared on the community-building and mozillians mailing lists, and the Community Tools team has iterated on those original ideas based on the very useful feedback received. Specifically, we have identified ways to make vouching more meaningful with vouch descriptions and to set criteria for who can vouch others. We then received positive support at a recent Grow Mozilla meeting.

A simplified overview of what’s happening

  • All vouches will have a description. If you have vouched for someone, there will be a migration period during which you will be asked to provide a short piece of text about why you vouched for them. Vouches that receive no description after the migration period will be removed.
  • A person will now be able to be vouched by multiple Mozillians.
  • Only people who have been vouched by at least three others will have the ability to vouch for other people.
  • Language on the site will better explain what vouching means, who can see your information and how the directory will continue to grow.

The detailed plans are described on the wiki page about vouching.

The Community Tools team is getting started with implementing these changes, and we will make announcements to Mozillians with our progress and when these changes are made in the next few months. Our team is excited to help scale the number of people on mozillians.org, and we think these changes, while perhaps not a perfect solution, are a step in the right direction. If you have feedback to share, post it to on the Community Tools discussion forum.

What time is it for that Mozillian?

Since Mozilla is a globally distributed project, I work with people in many different timezones. When I want to chat with someone, I often want to know what time it is in their local area. Profiles on mozillians.org now show the person’s local time.

Even better, if you hover over the time on the profile, you will see how many hours that person is ahead or behind you. The site uses your browser’s current timezone for that calculation, so as you travel, the timezone difference will update. And that’s quite handy for a bunch of  mobile Mozillians.

mozillians-profile-timezones

Madlibs for mozillians.org contributions

Michelle Marovich is organizing a Design for Participation workshop, and she has created a fun Contribution Madlibs template for people to fill out. I completed a version for how the community tools team works on mozillians.org:

We want to improve the value of mozillians.org, we need several people to collaborate with us on it therefore we will share our plans and contribution opportunities on our project wiki page and a blog syndicated on Planet Mozilla in order to publicize the work.

Then we mentor those people and communicate regularly on our project channels in order to engage with the people who are interested.

We break the work down into tasks by creating bugs for various skills and amounts of effort.

We communicate those tasks by marking them on Bugzilla and linking to them from our project wiki page and our IRC channel.

So that we can work effectively together, we always make sure that people can ask questions, give feedback and share ideas on our discussion forum and IRC channel.

We continue to raise awareness of the work by blogging about it as well as sharing it with Mozillians at the project meeting, the Grow Mozilla meeting and by email.

We communicate decisions and progress by posting to different discussion forums, syncing up in our weekly meeting and commenting on bugs.

When we achieve a milestone, reach a goal, or someone does something amazing we recognize them by personally thanking them and recognizing their hard work publicly.

If you want to get involved with mozillians.org, check out our project wiki page to learn how to get started.

mozillians.org groups now have curators and other goodnesss

On mozillians.org, Mozilla’s community directory, there are hundreds of self-organized groups of people based on a variety of interests. The Community Tools team has released some big improvements for how you can create, manage and view groups in order to provide more value in connecting with fellow Mozillians.

Create a curated group

Create a group described with several fields

New ways to curate groups

Starting today, all new groups will have a curator, which is the person who created the group. The curator has the ability to set the general information of the group, manage some settings and moderate the membership of the group.

The general information on curated groups now includes the fields that have been shown on functional area groups for a while. These fields include a description, IRC channel, website, and wiki page. The group curator can also decide if the group is accepting new members by default or only by request.

Group curators can manage the group's settings and members

Group curators can manage the group’s settings and members

In the past, users created groups simply by typing words into a field on their profiles. Now, users create groups from the groups page.

If a group is set to accept new members by request, users can request to join the group and the curator will be able to manage those requests from the group’s page. Also, daily email notifications will be sent out to let the curator know when there are membership requests. Curators are able to filter group members to quickly see who is in the group and who has requested membership.

All the groups previously created still exist, and users can join and leave those groups freely.

Give it a try

I’m excited to see how Mozillians will use the new functionality for groups. You can create a new group from the [Browse Groups] page. Please file bugs for issues and enhancement ideas. If you have questions or feedback, please post on our discussion forum or stop by #commtools on IRC.

How mozillians.org evolved in 2013

Mozilla’s community directory, mozillians.org, saw a lot of changes in 2013. Here are some of the highlights.

New features and code improvements

Development work

Quality Assurance growth

  • During the course of the redesign, the community organized 3 large test initiatives to test new features and design concepts
  • 40+ community contributors, 25 repeatedly were involved in multiple test days and acted as mentors and stewards to the project
  • Mozillians was a nice gateway onto other Mozilla web projects. Often times this was the first project community members decided to get involved with before branching off onto other projects.

Some website metrics

  • 4,809 vouched profiles
  • 1,532 public profiles (32%)
  • 7,369 unvouched profiles
  • 443,052 pageviews
  • 98,527 visits

Looking back

In 2013 mozillians.org evolved from being a useful directory tool to becoming an important platform for all Mozillians. The site underwent a big redesign with improved UX. Apps like Air Mozilla and the Summit app relied on the Mozillians API for people information. New profile fields and privacy controls led to 1,500 Mozillians sharing more information and making their profiles public.

As a team we focused on ways to make a large impact quickly and also set ourselves up for our ambitious community building plans to grow to 1 Million Mozillians. We invested in building new features, paying technical debt, shipping quality releases, mentoring new contributors and improving documentation. The redesign invigorated people to get involved, and over 60 people volunteered by making contributions during the year. That’s a huge change compared to a year ago when there was less momentum and just a few people involved with making mozillians.org better. Now the project and community surrounding it feel vibrant and alive.

What was your favorite change or contribution to mozillians.org in 2013?

Looking forward

mozillians.org has the potential to be an even more valuable tool for the Mozilla community. In 2014 we’ll be exploring ways to show contributions on profiles, display badges that demonstrate skills and achievements, provide better location information, make the API even more useful and improve authorization. How can mozillians.org be more useful for your needs?

Thanks to the splendid team, contributors and all Mozillians for an awesome 2013!