|| ||Mitchell Baker <mitchell-AT-mozilla.com> |
|| ||dev-planning-AT-lists.mozilla.org |
|| ||Introducing Mozilla Conductors -- Group Focused on Productivity in
Mozilla Communications |
|| ||Tue, 15 Nov 2011 20:04:25 -0800|
|| ||Article, Thread
In the last couple of months I've be involved in a surprising number of
conversations about how to make communication through Mozilla bugs and
discussion threads more productive. This ranges from how to keep the
discussion on point, how to keep the discussions about the substance and
not the people, and what to do if one feels uncomfortable. The topic is
raised by both long time contributors and new participants, and ranges
from asking for help in how to deal with the topic, to noting how much
poor communications makes it difficult to work effectively.
We need to be able to speak honestly and directly to each other and
remain civil. We do not want to move to a world where only "nice"
comments are allowed. We need to have multiple differing viewpoints
expressed with conviction. At the same time we need to be able to
disagree and not get nasty with each other. This is true of all
communications of course, but requires special tools for those of us who
live and work in open, public settings such as our newsgroups and issue
How do we improve our ability to disagree vehemently and simultaneously
remain civil and productive? As in so many things, the answer is to
empower people who are already doing some of this and to explicitly make
this a valued contribution.
The Mozilla community includes a number of people who have a great deal
of experience in promoting healthy conversations in public fora. This
includes activities such as:
-- coaching people on who to respond to nasty settings;
-- coaching people to think a little before they hit post/send/submit.
-- coaching people on how to be direct and yet civil, notifying people
they are at or past the boundary;
-- redirecting conversations into a better place,
-- building a culture of respect in how we communicate with difficult
and contentious issues
-- when necessary, letting people know they've gone beyond the boundaries.
We're seeing this sort of guidance growing organically in parts of the
Mozilla world. I believe we should acknowledge that the way we treat
each other is important, and begin empowering people to lead us in this
As part of her work with developer engagement, Stormy Peters has offered
to form a group to lead this effort. Stormy is a long-time open source
participant, former ED of the GNOME Foundation, and currently leads
Mozilla's developer evangelism efforts. She's talked to a few people
and formed an initial set of peer-nominated mentors; they are using the
name Mozilla Conductors. The primary function of the group will be to
facilitate conversations that are both honest and civil.
You can learn more about the group on its wiki page:
Stormy and other conductors will post more on this shortly.
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