Local vs. Global participation in Drumbeat. Does the top-down model help growing the leadership circle?

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Alina Mierlus

Jun 2, 2011, 7:20:13 PM6/2/11
to The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat
Hello everyone,

I've been thinking for a while to raise this question here. I was
looking back to some old threads in this list [1] [2] [3]. (early
conversations about Drumbeat in Europe).
Since we started to redefine the future of mozilla.cat website and
even rethink the model of community we want to follow, I thought it
would help to take a look at the early conversations we had on Drumbeat
as a global, multi-local movement.

So, there are three things which were supposed to be the core values
of Drumbeat: multi-local maker communities, (thought) leadership and

My impression is that, over time, we reached on just half of those
values (and loose some things on the way).
There is a still growing maker community with some strong and world
changing programs and projects as School of Webcraft, MoJo, WMM or
But I can't see too deep participation from all over the globe
(especially from non-english speaking countries) yet.

On leadership, as with the communities, there are some people leading
featured projects, but in terms of growing the local leadership circle,
things are going very slow (or maybe it is just me).

And finally conversations, which I personally consider very important
(and no, I'm not thinking at just making noise, but at conversations we
have through calls, live events and meet-ups, blogs and even this list)
- sharing events happening around the world, experiences, spot drumbeat
local leaders and their ideas. Where are all these things?

For example, before Drumbeat Festival, we had a blog with interviews
and conversations w/ participants. It was inspiring :).
As part of a local team who put time, work and dedication into
helping building the Festival and community around it, seing that
website dissapear after 1 - 2 months is not really encouraging.

I would love to see participation on the calls/general meetings from
other regions apart North America (when I participate - on Etherpad, I
see that I'm often the only person from outside US and Canada).

I assume that many would like to see see peers from various regions
and cities around the globe sharing what they do, what they think etc.

For example, when Drumbeat was still in the beginning, the Brazilian
community inspired us all with their energy and events and there were
also people moving in South America and even Europe.

In Barcelona, it may be possible to get people involved. For that we
decided to spend the following months rethinking the website and how it
can better enable the participation in Drumbeat and Mozilla project in
And I would love to get feedback and ideas during the process from
this community.





Alina Mierlus
Community engagement geek

Identi.ca: @alinamierlus
Twitter: @alina_mierlus

Mera Szendro Bok

Jun 3, 2011, 6:10:01 PM6/3/11
to con...@alinamierlus.com, The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat

Great questions and as a lead organizer or the Drumbeat San Diego
event<http://www.newmediarights.org/drumbeat#Documentation>I have lot
of insight on this topic.

Wiki w/ San Diego information and all outreach material including agendas
for meetings: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Drumbeat/events/SanDiego

A certain amount of leadership and access to the weekly calls and Drumbeat
engagement specialists adds value to the experience of building your own
local event.

On the other hand the organizers who are building the events need to know
from the beginning that it's going to be on their shoulders to take care of
planning and building the event. I think that the #Drumbeat twitter feed and
this listserv do assist in helping with the outreach and questions elements
of the planning. At the same time you want that organizers feel ownership
about building the event.

I found that keeping volunteers engaged during the planning and after the
event is the biggest challenge. You want people who have large networks as
your main organizers, but often times they are very busy and sometime don't
feel like doing the nitty gritty work.

The most important thing is to identify who on the ground is a mover and
shaker and can gather ample contacts who also are movers and shakers. I
think that Mozilla needs a couple of community engagement geeks helping out
to offer tips but also compile the great resources on the Wiki to help
create templates for outreach and almost an overview of how-to's in pulling
off the event, to make the building of the event less daunting and

That's all my advice for now, my time is limited, but if anyone on the list
wants to continue the conversation please feel free to contact me at


Mera Szendro Bok

> _______________________________________________
> community-drumbeat mailing list
> community...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/community-drumbeat

Mera Szendro Bok
Communications and Information Officer
New Media Rights
3100 5th Ave. Suite B
San Diego, CA 92103

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Michelle Thorne

Jun 6, 2011, 6:57:59 AM6/6/11
to The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat, con...@alinamierlus.com
Hey all,

Exciting to see this conversation kicking off, and I too am keen to see
momentum build in other parts of the world while growing the leadership of
established community members.

I'm still new, but I'd love to share ideas here on the list, on community
calls, or 1:1 to make this better.

The latest Knight-Mozilla Innovation jams, in my opinion, are proof that
together we can pull off truly global events while working towards
meaningful goals:


With activities in 15 cities, inc. four in Latin America and another four
outside North America (although granted in English-speaking countries),
we're on to something. Some lessons from those jams:

* Drive events around design challenges / shared action. This boost
collaboration and gives purpose to the event. Specific, value-add challenges
work better than very general ones (i.e. we got more action around the
"Beyond Comments" challenge than from the broad "People=Powered News"
* Articulate what makes the audience unique. For MoJo, it was about bringing
jouranlists, techies, and designers together to work on a specific problem
set. This is also what we're trying at the festivals, for example in
Barcelona with the educators and web geeks. This gives another sense of
purpose and focus.
* Frame the local event in a broader narrative arc that goes beyond the
immediate timeframe. The Knight-Mozilla jams lead up to a longer term
fellowship program and global conversation, and they re a great feeder for
the forthcoming festival, which focuses on Media, Freedom, and the Web.
* Provide assets, like Mera mentioned, to make it easier for organizers to
plug and play. Evolve those assets when more ideas / improvements come in.
We did this for the MoJo jams, for example adding the bingo icebreaker cards
from Jennie in New York and slides in Spanish made by Renata in Guatemala.
* Run an evaluation afterward. That's in progress now for MoJo, and the
results will be shared soon.

There's much to learn and to discuss together around what types of events,
themes, and processes work. Would love to hear from you all what you think
about the above and from Mozilla events you've attended.

// michelle

On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 12:10 AM, Mera Szendro Bok

Karl Dubost

Jun 6, 2011, 8:39:31 AM6/6/11
to Alina Mierlus, The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat

Le 2 juin 2011 à 19:20, Alina Mierlus a écrit :
> My impression is that, over time, we reached on just half of those values (and loose some things on the way).

Which is cool somehow. Cultures have to evolve, fork. People have to make their own locally. If you go into there is one way about thinking about it, you fall quickly into propaganda or evangelization (in the religious sense of it). Communities are healthy when they live by their own.

Basically, it is about accepting to give up on authority. People will do things which are completely nonsense for your own values, that is part of the game.

> But I can't see too deep participation from all over the globe (especially from non-english speaking countries) yet.

It is not because you do not see it that it doesn't exist ;)
Be careful of branding, they kill ideas.

Karl Dubost
Montréal, QC, Canada

Michelle Thorne

Jun 6, 2011, 11:58:51 AM6/6/11
to The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat, Alina Mierlus, Heather Leson
Hi all,

> > But I can't see too deep participation from all over the globe
> (especially from non-english speaking countries) yet.
> It is not because you do not see it that it doesn't exist ;)
> Be careful of branding, they kill ideas.

Heather Leson shared a great recap today on the community call about a
globally network set of events called Random Hacks of Kindness. She had some
fantastic insights into what made this work around the world. There's
definitely some overlap with the MoJo examples sent earlier.

Some highlights form the notes[1] and maybe Heather has some more points to

How to make volunteer coordination successful:

- Unified dashboard for information (putting together a wiki page and
google doc of everything's going on)
- All of media and content:

- Unified streaming content
- Global ustream dashboard: http://pedrofuent.es/rhok3.html

- Have a content curation team - storify, coveritlive, scribblelive or
something to tell the story while we go

- Collect a log of highlights from beginning of events to end, so people
joining midstream can get up to speed

- Multi-channel communication to make sure that information is shared
across sites/cities (piratepads, skype/irc, etc)

- Have dedicated people assigned to run central dispatch between cities.
(We had two in Toronto). Use skype group chat for global team lead

It's inspiring to learn from other events what works well. Does anyone else
have examples / recommendations to achieve this kind of global
participation? Especially how different language groups can be encouraged
and highlighted internationally, or how we can concretely improve access and
contributions from beyond the English-speaking world? Maybe we can take a
single project and work on expanding it, like Hackasaurus jams, which will
help keep the conversation focused and productive.

It's hard, and there are lots of challenges, but the rewards are great. :-)

// michelle

[1] http://etherpad.mozilla.com:9000/Drumbeat-Monday-community-call-June

> --
> Karl Dubost
> Montréal, QC, Canada
> http://www.la-grange.net/karl/

Heather Leson

Jun 6, 2011, 3:29:51 PM6/6/11
to Michelle Thorne, The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat, Alina Mierlus
Hey Michelle, I would love to keep talking with you about this. Let's set up
a time to Skype or chat in the coming week?


I've run a number of global collaboration events this past year. The key is
a strong team of people with both diverse skills and a strong sense of
community spirit. I am happy to share experiences and answer questions.



Alina Mierlus

Jun 6, 2011, 7:25:31 PM6/6/11
to The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat, mich...@mozillafoundation.org, hea...@mozillafoundation.org, me...@newmediarights.org
Hi all,

Very interesting opinnions. And so far, I love the direction of the
discussion: events and community leadership. Is actually what we want at
the core of Mozilla (local Catalan) community: generating more
opportunities and civic/public value through participatory events and
engaged communities.


Totally agree on events, that they should be locally planned/organized
and reach to Mozilla Drumbeat Engagement specialists when needed (I
personally learned a lot from first Drumbeat events and organizers
training held in Berlin and Paris).
But yes, I have to agree that the mosta challenging is to find
community engagement geeks and keep organizers engagend during and after
I was thinking that maybe a series (ecosystem of events + micro-events
could help). For example now, in the Catalan community are experimenting
participatory l10n:
We also held a series of micro-events as MozPub and Web Cocktel (Web
evenings), in order to raise the awareness about the importance of
(open) web, keeping up the community spirit and just have conversations ;).
And so far, worked, because through those micro-events we found local
champions to help out with 1st Barcelona Design Jam:

Now we are trying to experiment the same with Drumbeat Cafè, a simple
2 hour, bi-weekly, face 2 face meet-up in order to offer support,
brainstorm ideas and help folks engage with communities and transform
ideas in projects.

So regarding finding or even forming new community engagement leaders,
an ecosystem of different sized events may be a solution.

@Heather & @Michelle

Really excited about the Design Challenge style MoJo meet-ups. The
feedback looks great.
I think that there are more people interested to joining an
event-centered call :). I put my name on the list.


Mark Surman

Jun 8, 2011, 3:37:05 PM6/8/11

Yes, great conversation so far.

A couple of things that I'd add:

1. Personally, I'm still excited about the idea of local Drumbeat
events. 15 Mojo events in one month have made me optimistic.

2. However, I think they work better when concrete (e.g. mojo,
designjams, etc.) than general (e.g. let's talk open web).

3. Karl is right: cultures and goals change. Drumbeat has really
clustered on education and media for now, which is focusing where goals
and culture are going. Many people involved aren't in this newsgroup.

I've got some bigger questions I'd love to chat about that flow from
this. How broad should Drumbeat be (stay with current focus?)? Is it the
right frame for the future (or is what we're doing just 'Mozilla')? But
more on these later.


Alina Mierlus

Jun 13, 2011, 3:40:06 PM6/13/11
to Karl Dubost, The community mailing list for Mozilla Drumbeat
Hi Karl,

> Which is cool somehow. Cultures have to evolve, fork. People have to make their own locally. If you go into there is one way about thinking about it, you fall quickly into propaganda or evangelization (in the religious sense of it). Communities are healthy when they live by their own.

Yes, you are right. And I also think that a self-organized,
self-sustainable community is much healthier.

Every (local) community has its own culture, history, model, which
differs from others.

What I wanted to touch here is the sense of "connectedeness" and

I've been in several groups/communities during the years and I can say
that "making your own locally" has a very big advantage but it also
involves the risk of becoming isolated in a connected age.

Regarding evengelization and propaganda... I'm not sure what you meant,
but certainly, I and many people from mozilla.cat are not really fans of
those practices ;)

> Basically, it is about accepting to give up on authority. People will do things which are completely nonsense for your own values, that is part of the game.

Totally, and is what Drumbeat brought in the last 2 years, different
people and ideas, participatory events as the Festival, meet-ups etc.

And it is not about authority :) here. It is all about meritocracy. And
it is always a challenge to insert meritocracy in a group/community.

> It is not because you do not see it that it doesn't exist ;)
> Be careful of branding, they kill ideas.

I don't think I did any reference to "branding" in my message. When a
number of communities, groups or peers come together under an umbrella
project/inititiative they do so because they follow/agree a common
mission and a broader scope.

The lack of time to time conversations (sharing knowledge and ideas,
adress problems) is a signal that something may go wrong. It doesn't
have to be a rule, though.

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