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Scope of "Mozilla" and Planet Mozilla


Mitchell Baker Mar 8, 2012 4:30 PM
Posted in group: mozilla.governance
This week has seen heated discussion about the scope of materials
syndicated to Planet Mozilla.   Here's my view.

Mozilla is a community unified around the Mozilla mission and manifesto.
  We agree on these things, but we are extremely diverse on almost every
other topic.  In fact, Mozilla is remarkable in how many people with
otherwise differing views we gather around our mission.

How do we handle this?

First, we should be very clear that being a "Mozillian" is about
supporting the Mozilla mission.  If we start to try to make "Mozilla"
mean "those people who share not only the Mozilla mission but also my
general political / social / religious / environmental view" we will
fail.   If we focus Mozilla on our shared consensus regarding the
Mozilla mission and manifesto then the opportunities before us are
enormous.

Mozilla's diversity is a success condition.  Our mission and our goal is
truly global.  Our mission taps into a shared desire for respect and
control and user sovereignty that runs across cultures and across many
other worldviews.    We may even offend each other in some of our other
views.   Despite this, we share a commitment to the Mozilla mission.
This is a remarkable achievement and important to our continued success.

What does this mean for how we handle planet.mozilla.org?

We could say that Planet Mozilla focuses on our mission and related
work.    This view means getting to know the full personality of
Mozillians will take more work and happen in other areas for those who
want to do so.

We could say that Planet Mozilla reflects the general worldview of
Mozillians, including areas outside of the Mozilla consensus.    This
view expresses a larger slice of each Mozillian's life, but means we'll
spend more time reacting to areas where we disagree or even offend each
other.

I believe the former is the best path.   It's a path based on the
promise of the web, of inclusion, and of user sovereignty.  It's the
path of the Mozilla Manifesto, and its adoption by people of all sorts
of different views.    It allows us to focus on issues, such as SOPA and
ACTA, that are directly related to our mission.   It allows Mozillians
to have divergent views on other topics without tearing ourselves apart
and damaging our ability to fulfill our unique mission.

In the past we've chosen the latter for planet.mozilla.org.  I believe
we need a core information flow and gathering space that is focused on
what we all came to Mozilla for -- how to move our particular mission
forward.

Proposals have been made to change planet,  or to start a similar
planet.mozillians.org.  I'm personally learning towards the idea of
remaking planet to be the gathering place for updates about Mozilla
activities.  I'll talk with the planet module owners and peers, as well
as monitor the discussion forums.  I'm not sure of the particular
solution yet, but in my mind I'm clear that we need a forum focused on
the thing we all agree on -- Mozilla and our mission.

Mitchell