I am the original Planet Mozilla Module Owner and currently support the
Module as a Peer. These are my thoughts alone; I expect other Planet
leaders will share here when they finish their day jobs. (The Module
Owner and other two Peers are project volunteers.) That being said, I am
confident that these views are in mostly line with those of the rest of
the team and well represent the mission and purpose of the Planet
I think it's very important that people in this discussion get the
opportunity to understand what the Planet Module has been trying to
accomplish for the last half a decade before we all dive into "how to
change it" discussion.
Mozilla is a large and growing community of people spread out all over
the world. We don't all share offices and a neighborhood pub. We don't
all have the opportunity for hallway conversations and grabbing a beer
after work. As a widely distributed group, we face challenges getting to
know each other, being able to build the camaraderie and trust that
direct social interaction facilitates for traditional (not open-source)
A big part of the Mission of the Planet Module is to aid in that
challenge, to facilitate communication among a community of human beings
-- people who share more than just a work product.
Mozilla is more than just some lines of code. It's more than a few
websites. Mozilla is all about *people*. Our Mission and Manifesto are
about *people*. Our work is in support of *people*.
We create change in the world by organizing *people* and our forums for
discussion and interaction, from IRC to Planet, all carve out space for
*people* to relate to each other as human beings -- rather than simply a
bunch of automatons in a factory cranking out products Foxconn style.
And we are not alone in this. Many of the most successful open source
projects have set up Planets for this very same purpose. They realized
as we have, that a healthy open source community is about people more
than it is about code or products or anything else. Take a look at the
excellent Gnome Planet for what this looks like when it works. It's
inviting, and inspiring.
I realize that the recent events at Planet have caused many people a
great deal of strife and wasted time. I empathize with those who feel
wounded by some of the content that's made it into the Planet feed.
Some have said that we're just too big, that our community is of a size
that requires giving up the rich and empowering diversity that we share
across our various communications channels.
Others have said that they're simply not interested in the non-work
lives of our global community. They are only interested in reading about
what code others are writing or status updates on projects Mozilla is
I appreciate all of those views and concerns, and I would like Planet to
address them. I believe that the Planet Module should address them. I
have confidence that we can address them.
But I reject the idea that our community has somehow outgrown its
ability to share as a group of human beings. I reject the idea that
Planet requires an editorial regime to filter and censor or that
participation in Planet should demand self-filtering and self-censoring
of content. I reject the idea that our primary communications must be
limited to only the technical and work related.
The Planet team has been working to make Planet more usable. We have
pulled the robot-powered status updates and the project blogs into their
own feed. http://planet.mozilla.org/projects/
We are also beginning
work to create a sub-feed at Planet that will be exclusive to content
about our mission and related work.
Planet has served us well over the 5 years since the formation of the
Planet Module and it will continue to serve our amazing community going
forward. To do that it will grow and evolve. But Planet should not
devolve into sterile reports of only the lowest common denominator content.
Mozilla is more than just “a job” and I hope that Planet will continue
to make that more obvious, not less.