Open Badges program for Thunderbird contributors

Anne-Marie Bourcier abourcier at
Thu Jul 26 23:37:55 UTC 2012


In the spring, the Mozilla Foundation launched the "Open Badges" program 
( The intention of Open Badges is to provide a 
standardized open framework that enables organizations to issue digital 
"badges" that recognize skills or achievements.

The Thunderbird team thought it would be great to implement an Open 
Badges program for Thunderbird contributors. We started brainstorming 
about how we could implement the program and talking with the very 
helpful and enthusiastic Foundation folks who work on the project.

However, now that we are changing Thunderbird's governance model, we 
need to find out if the Thunderbird community thinks it is worthwhile to 
implement Thunderbird Badges and if the community is able and willing to 
run the program for themselves in the long term. If the community likes 
the idea and wants to move ahead, we will do all the preparation and set 
up the technical aspects and then hand the program over to the community 
in the fall.

To run the program, the community would have to implement some kind of 
process where contributions in various areas were tracked and 
significant contributions were forwarded to a person who generated the 
badges. The badge program would require an ongoing commitment, because 
it wouldn't be fair if badges were only issued to a few people and then 
the program was dropped. Also, the criteria for issuing badges must be 
clear so that the process is not open to favoritism.

A summary of our thinking about how to implement badges follows (however 
keep in mind that the community is welcome to alter as they see fit):

A badge rewards a demonstration of competency, not a degree of 
contribution. A badge isn't a reward for effort; it's a validation of a 
demonstrable skill.

Given that model, the Thunderbird Community could implement badges for 
these kinds of things:

- Thunderbird Core Contributor Badge: People who contribute a 
significant patch to the Thunderbird core, thus demonstrating a 
competency in programming.

- Thunderbird Add-on Developer Badge: People who create a Thunderbird 
add-on that is accepted by AMO, thus demonstrating a competency in 

- Thunderbird Knowledge Base Author Badge: People who create a 
Thunderbird Knowledge Base article that uses a set of the more complex 
formatting tools (templates, tables, images, etc), thus demonstrating a 
competency in authoring on a wiki platform and technical writing.

- Thunderbird Support Contributor Badge: for people solving questions 
(reward based on number of answers or technical accuracy)

- Thunderbird Ambassador Badge: People who create something significant 
outside the normal venues for contribution. For example, a Thunderbird 
contributor recently wrote a P2PU course and supporting workbook that 
explains how to set up PGP for use with Thunderbird. This is a 
significant effort that brings attention to Thunderbird from a whole new 

This wiki page describes our thinking and our progress on the project:

Let us know what you think!

Anne Marie Bourcier
Mozilla Thunderbird

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