Some community engagement news.

mhoye mhoye at mozilla.com
Fri Aug 1 17:33:47 UTC 2014


This is partly a repost, as it was suggested I'd find a wider audience 
for it. A bit of a wall of text, sure, but I think it'll be worth your 
while. There are bits in here about what we're doing right, what we need 
more of, and what we can learn to do better.

Here's an interesting paper that came out recently: " Barriers faced by 
newcomers to open source projects: a systematic review", by Igor 
Steinmacher.

http://www.academia.edu/6537077/Barriers_faced_by_newcomers_to_open_source_projects_a_systematic_review

You might want to skim it, but you'll be happy to hear that:

- We are doing basically everything right, and
- Nothing in there comes as a huge surprise.

That's a pretty good feeling, but it's important to have a feeling like 
that backed up with evidence.

One nice thing about that paper is that it's got a couple of numbers in 
it that continue to matter a lot to us. Getting back to new contributors 
with 48 hours remains super-important. Likewise DXR links in good first 
bugs and tags that help matchmaking contributors' skills to the bug's 
needs.

Mentors that are helpful, thank contributors and point people to the 
next bug they can work on. We do these things because we're all 
civilized people who care about our work and our community, obviously, 
but it's nice to know that in addition to feeling good, this stuff is 
what works.

So: I'm in the early stages of planning a short course about effective 
mentoring; what we know about communicating and educating people, how 
that applies to our community, best practices to adopt and pitfalls to 
avoid. I'd like to subject people inside Mozilla to this thing and then 
expand that out to community contributors who we'd like to see become 
mentors.

If you're interested in being a part of that - as a recipient or 
contributor - let me know.

NEXT AND LAST you're almost done go team: We're getting a lot of good 
results from our community-engagement efforts around good-first and 
mentored bugs, but getting community members on to priority bugs hasn't 
been anywhere near as successful. Diamond bugs - bugs that make it all 
the way to triage meetings but don't ultimately get assigned - are in 
very short supply; we don't have enough variety that there are a lot of 
good matches to offer people who want to move up to the next level.

I'd like to open the floodgates a bit here; if we can bring an extra 30 
to 50 points worth of work into these meetings, knowing that they won't 
get all the way to assignment and particularly stuff that you can 
eyeball as being at the 1-5 workpoint level, that would give our 
community members a better sense of how to engage with stuff that's 
capital-I important to Mozilla.

I've been answering community mail about how to find bugs that matter, 
and I'd like to have a good answer for people who want to do that work 
with us.

Thanks,


- mhoye

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