All posts by openmatt

Open when it matters: please help Mozilla

Best tweet I saw yesterday

Mozilla needs your love and help right now. More than just a debate about our CEO, this threatens to divide us in other ways if we let it. We need dialogue, and to bring open hearts and minds around the two crucial issues here — both of which are meaty and substantive and vitally important to Mozilla:

  • (1) We don’t need to agree on everything — or force ideological consensus — in order to work with others. That’s a vital part of Mozilla’s open culture and mission. A lot of people have fought for this principle. It’s at the heart of what makes open source vibrant, diverse and practical. And it’s a fragile thing worth protecting.
  • (2) But there are limits to that openness — and those limits center around basic rights. The world has changed. For many (including me), marriage equality is now a rights issue — and no longer just a speech or “personal opinion” issue. So when colleagues frame this purely as a matter of personal opinion, they signal to others that they don’t understand or haven’t considered this difference. That’s why simply doubling down on “freedom of speech” or personal opinion arguments will not work as a way to work past this. The situation requires more.

This is hard. It deserves to be treated that way. Many of us feel very strongly about either or both of these issues — and so it requires nuanced, Mozilla-style reasoning that weighs both sides to find a solution.

That’s why I’m so proud of thoughtful, emotionally complex posts from colleagues working this through in the open. Like this, or this. And disappointed by stories like this one.

If you believe in (2), as I do, I think we’re served by demonstrating patience and compassion here. The difference between marriage equality as a right versus a matter of political or personal opinion is nuanced, historically recent, and culturally complex for a global community like Mozilla’s. And it’s on us to demonstrate that we understand and show respect for (1) as well, and not skip it over casually. For a lot of people, it’s at the heart of the Mozilla project.

Our ability to work this through — together in the open, with open hearts and minds — is even more important than any decision about our CEO. It will determine our strength once all this is done.

The scrum never stops: building an open workbench for Webmaker

As we head into Q2, let’s build a better “workbench” and online scrum board for Webmaker.

TLDR version:

  • Check out the freshly udpated Webmaker Wiki. It’s one-stop shopping for key roadmaps, planning documents, tickets, and scrums. And will help provide more transparency and co-ordination across teams going forward.
  • It clearly lays out Webmaker’s key components. And how they all fit together. From teaching kits and training to localization, badges, and Maker Party. These will provide the main tracks for our scrum board as we go forward.
  • Shifting to real time production, instead of static documentation. The new wiki is a production document. The main goal is to provide a clear view of *what we’re building now.* Week by week, quarter by quarter. Instead of a static repository for documentation that quickly goes out of date.
  • Project scrum boards. To that end, each individual project page will lead with a virtual scrum board at the top of the page. We’ll embed Bugzilla tickets to do this, and use Bugzilla components and whiteboard tags to do it in a smart, automated way. (If you don’t use Bugzilla, just include links to wherever you’re tracking the work.) Continue reading

Building better user testing for Webmaker

Building a community-powered user testing process

TLDR version:

  • We want to work with you on user testing for Webmaker. Building a more regular, agile and community-powered process to gather and act on feedback from users.
  • The goal: make Webmaker.org work better for the people we most want to serve. Especially lead users: teachers, informal educators / Hive members, and techies interested in teaching.
  • It’s more than just “user testing. It’s about bringing our community closer into the design and build process — to co-build, share ownership, and take Webmaker’s user experience to the next level.

How to get involved

  1. Attend our prototype user testing event in Toronto. We’re hosting an experimental user testing event on Jan 24 in the Mozilla Toronto community space. If you’re a teacher, informal educator or Hive member, please come and test, hack and play with us!
    • More events will follow. This one’s  just a prototype we can learn from, document, and hopefully spread everywhere. 
  2. Help build a new Webmaker User Testing Kit. So that other community members can host their own user testing sessions.
  3. Sign up for updates and discussion on the Webmaker newsgroup. To discuss next steps, share thoughts, help edit and localize the new kit, etc. Continue reading