Commnities are Awesome

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The Mozilla Developer Network is an open-source documentation wiki for web developers, which is written by really passionate, smart, and inspiring people. Most are not paid employees of Mozilla. All …

The Mozilla Developer Network is an open-source documentation wiki for web developers, which is written by really passionate, smart, and inspiring people. Most are not paid employees of Mozilla. All of them are helping make the web a better place by writing, editing, and reviewing articles. How do you support a diverse community, acknowledge many different voices and perspectives, be open and inclusive, and still get things done (especially when you can’t force anyone to do anything)? In this session, I’ll share what I’ve learned (and keep learning) by working with, in, and for volunteer communities; including how to be more transparent, create opportunity, and broadly share ownership.

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  • 1. Introduce  yourself!   0  
  • 2. The  Firefox  browser  is  Mozilla’s  most  well-­‐known  product.    You  might  not  know   Mozilla  is  an  open-­‐source,  non-­‐profit,  mission-­‐based  company.       1  
  • 3. Mozilla  has  a  mission  is  to  promote  openness,  innovaGon  &  opportunity  on  the  Web.   2  
  • 4. We  rely  upon  a  huge  volunteer  community  to  achieve  our  mission.   3  
  • 5. I’m  here  today  to  talk  about  one  part  of  the  Mozilla  community;  the  volunteers  who   contribute  to  The  Mozilla  Developer  Network  (MDN).  MDN  is  an  open-­‐source   documentaGon  wiki  for  web  developer.  WriQen  by  a  community  of  developers  and   writers.  Or  would  that  be  writer-­‐developers?    Developer-­‐writers?  Anyways;     4  
  • 6. MDN  documentaGon  covers  standards  &  technologies  that  build  the  web:  HTML,  CSS,   Javascript.  Canvas.  SVG.  Mobile  &  HTML5  Apps.    We  also  write  developer-­‐centric   documentaGon  for  Mozilla  products.     MDN  scope  &  size:   •  2  million  users/month   •  35  languages   •  over  11k  documents  &  growing  all  the  Gme     5  paid  writers.         The  web  is  big  &  constantly  evolving,  Standards  are  updated.  There  is  a  lot  to   document.  More  work  than  5  people  can  possibly  do.  How  do  we  get  around  that?   5  
  • 7. We  have  an  awesome  community  who  do  amazing  things.  Our  community  consists  of   people  who  love  the  web  and  feel  passionately  that  keeping  it  open  and  accessible  to   all  is  important.         On  MDN,  community  enables  us  to  “punch  above  our  weight”   •  5  paid  writers,  plus  1  community  manager,  plus  1  manager   •  2-­‐3  part-­‐Gme  paid  contractors   •  225  core  volunteers  (contribute  weekly  over  the  course  of  several  months)   •  600+  acGve  contributors  (at  least  one  in  a  month)   •  1,500  occasional  contributors  (monthly)   •  5k  registered  users  (have  made  one  edit)   •  2m  users,  who  I  hope  will  eventually  join  and  share  their  experGse.       What  does  the  community  do?   Write,  edit,  localize,  tag  content.  Technical  and  editorial  reviews.  Contribute  code  to   our  proprietary  wiki  plaeorm.    Upload  demos  and  code  samples.  Speak  about  Mozilla   at  events.  Hold  MDN  events  for  developers  –  documentaGon  and  localizaGon  sprints.   Help  us  be  more  accessible.         Just  as  –  or  more-­‐  importantly,  thye  provide  diversity  and  different  perspecGves.   6  
  • 8. One  of  the  best  parts  of  my  job  is  working  with  the  community.       Story:  Priyanka  &  Kaustav  are  university  students  in  Pune.  Met  in  person  in   September.   Love  Mozilla  &  love  MDN   Helped  host  an  event  in  Pune,  then  began  hosGng  Doc  Sprints   Created  event  best  pracGce  guide  to  help  others  who  want  to  hold  similar  events.     Helped  re-­‐write  Gekng  Started  guide  for  new  community  members.   Provide  insight  into  what  developers  in  India  care  about     7  
  • 9. PERSONAL  STORY:  FISL  in  Porto  Allegre,  in  Southerm  Brazil.  Held  a  localizaGon  sprint   &  70  people  showed  up.  Introduced  MDN  and  gave  a  quick  introducGon  to  how  to   edit.  AQendees  asking  “it  is  that  easy””  was  thrilling.  The  big  smiles  and  enthusiasm   were  infecGous.  Many  guys  brought  their  girlfriends,  halfway  through  the  day  the   girls  had  pulled  the  laptops  away  and  were  translaGng.  Translated  200  docs.       Whave  very  remarkably  low  spam  and  malicious  edits.  Even  accidental  problems  are   rare.  People  feel  great  responsibility  to  the  site  and  the  documentaGon.  They  follow   the  style  guide  and  editorial  rules,  oqen  without  prompGng.         We  come  together  around  a  shared  goal:  documenGng  the  web.  Keeping  it  open.     8  
  • 10. You’re  probably  thinking,,  wow,  that  is  awesome,  you  have  armies  of  volunteers   working  on  documentaGon.  How  do  you  get  them  to  do  what  you  want?     9  
  • 11. You  don’t       Members  of  your  community  are  not  minions;  they  are  partners  in  a  journey.         10  
  • 12. To  get  things  done  you  share  informaGon  and  ownership.  You  help,  you  moGvate,   and  you  provide  opportunity  to  share  their  experGse  in  a  way  that  is  relevant  and   meaningful  to  them.           I  believe  providing  opportunity  is  the  key.       What,  exactly,  drives  people  to  devote  their  free  Gme  to  wriGng  stuff  they  don’t  get   paid  for?       11  
  • 13. ScienGfic  studies  find  there  is  a  powerful  and  significant  difference  between  extrinsic   moGvaGon,  the  kind  that  comes  from  outside  sources,  and  intrinsic  moGvaGon,  the   kind  that  comes  from  within  yourself.       Beyond  a  certain  level  (providing  for  basic  needs)  money,  which  is  extrinsic,  isn’t  the   most  powerful  or  effecGve  moGvator.       In  fact,  extrinsic  moGvators  may  have  a  negaGve  effect  in  the  long  run.  In  a  1974   study  Green  &  Lepper  rewarded  children  for  drawing  with  felt-­‐Gp  pens  (the  children   drew  before  with  great  enjoyment).  The  surprising  result?  Aqer  receiving  rewards  for   the  acGvity,  the  children  showed  liQle  to  no  interest  in  drawing  with  the  pens.  The   extrinsic  moGvaGon  replaced  any  intrinsic  moGvaGon,  thereby  diminishing  the  innate   enjoyment  of  the  acGvity.       What  moGvates  volunteers?     A  sense  of  belonging.  The  opportunity  to    share  experGse.  Learning  from  and  with   others.  Being  part  of  something  bigger.  Something  important.  The  exposure  to  new   ideas,  resources,  and  experiences.  Having  more  impact  than  they  would  by   themselves.     12  
  • 14. A  great  book  about  moGvaGon,  Drive,  by  Dan  Pink,    explains  theories  of  what  drives   people:     Autonomy  –  the  desire  to  direct  our  own  lives.  2.  Mastery  —  the  urge  to  get  beQer   and  beQer  at  something  that  maQers.  3.  Purpose  —  the  yearning  to  do  what  we  do  in   the  service  of  something  larger  than  ourselves.       This  applies  outside  of  documentaGon,  open  source,  or  technology.  It  is  part  of  the   human  experience.       13  
  • 15. STORY:  Burning  Man.  70,000  aQendees.  90%  of  the  staff  are  volunteers.  Volunteers   parGcipate  in  every  aspect  of  the  event;  building  the  city,  operaGons,  security,  art,   music,  cleanup,  and  tear-­‐down.         People  volunteering  at  Burning  Man  have  similar  moGvaGons  to  contributors  at   Mozilla.         Burning  Man  volunteers  say  parGcipaGng  in  the  event  profoundly  changes  their  lives.   They  feel  part  of  something  bigger  than  themselves.  Volunteering  allows  others  in   the  community  to  also  have  that  experience.       Burning  Man  has  10  principals  that  help  to  shape  their  community  &  culture.     14  
  • 16. I  find  the  principal  on  parGcipaGon  interesGng  and  relevant.     Everyone  is  invited.  They  open-­‐source  the  event,  create  a  social  experiment   15  
  • 17. Mozilla  also  has  10  principals  that  shape  the  community  and  culture.       Mozilla’s  principals  also  address  community  parGcipaGon.  Transparent  processes  lead   to  parGcipaGon,  trust,  accountability.  Everyone  is  invited.       PERSONAL  STORY:  A  couple  of  weeks  ago,  I  aQended  a  talk  by  Tony  Hsieh,  the  CEO  of   Zappos,  who  wrote  a  book,  Delivering  Happiness,  about  the  culture  at  Zappos.     16  
  • 18. Zappos  also  has  10  principals  (or  core  values)  that  guide  their  culture.       The  actual  principals  themselves  maQer  less  than  fully  commikng  to  them.  They  are   not  a  meaningless  plaque  on  the  wall  of  the  corporate  lobby.   Everyone  must  understand  and  commit  to  these  values;  at  Zappos  they  hire  and  fire   by  them.  They  set  the  tone  for  the  culture,  the  community.       By  doing  this,  you  build  a  community  &  culture  with  a  common  purpose.     17  
  • 19. You  are  probably  thinking,  That’s  great,  but…     It  would  never  work  for  me.  Not  at  my  company.  We  have  deadlines,  roadmaps  &   there  is  not  way  to  get  around  them.     So  do  we.  We  have  roadmaps,  goals.    It’s  just  that  our  prioriGes  &  roadmaps  are   developed  with  the  community,  instead  of  for  them.         Think  about  it.     If  I  can’t  convince  the  community  of  passionate  volunteers,  who  give  up  their  free   Gme  to  write  documentaGon,  that  something  is  the  right  thing  to  do  –  maybe  it  isn’t   the  right  thing  to  do.     Think  about  that.       It  is  too  easy  to  get  into  a  bubble.  A  bubble  of  your  team,  your  company,  your  area  or   region.  History  is  liQered  with  failed  products  developed  by  teams  that  got  too  far   into  their  bubbles  and  lost  touch  with  their  communiGes.         A  community  of  deeply  involved,  passionate,  smart,  and  inspiring  people  provides   diversity  and  different  perspecGves.    They  help  make  the  right  decisions.       18  
  • 20. It  isn’t  easy.  I’m  not  saying  we  do  it  100%  right  all  the  Gme.  Currently,  most  of  our   meeGngs  and  discussions  are  public,  as  are  our  roadmaps  and  goals.  We  have  an   open  list  to  discuss  prioriGes.  We  vote,  discuss,  argue  politely.  The  ongoing  dialog   improves  iniGaGves  and  ideas.    We  all  are  invested  in  creaGng  good  documentaGon.   We  can,  and  will,  conGnue  improve  openness  and  communicaGon.  Our  very  vocal   community  ensures  that.  We  constantly  improve,  learn  and  evolve.       Openess  is  hard.  Consensus  feels  slow  and  frustraGng.  However  slow  consensus  feels,   I  believe  doing  the  wrong  thing  is  slower.  STORY:  MDN  Redesign.     It  isn’t  easy,  but  what  we  share  and  achieve,  together,  is  awesome.         Not  everyone  can,  or  should,  build  a  community  in  the  same  way.  What  works  for  us   might  not  be  possible,  or  beneficial  to  you  and  your  users/community.  You   community  might  not  be  volunteers,  it  might  be  co-­‐workers  or  others  in  your   industry.       I  challenge  you  to  think  about  what  you  document.  What  inspires  you?  What  inspires   passion  in  your  users?  Can  they  help  write  the  docs?  How  about  review  them?  Can   they  promote  them  at  events?  What  opportuniGes  can  you  give  your  community?   What  opportuniGes  will  they  give  you,  if  you  allow  them  to.     19  
  • 21. Try  it.  Or,  you  are  always  welcome  to  join  our  community  and  help  make  the  web  a   beQer  place.       20