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From: Mitchell Baker <mitchell <at> mozilla.com>
Subject: Introducing Mozilla Conductors -- Group Focused on Productivity in Mozilla Communications
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.mozilla.devel.seamonkey
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2011 04:04:25 UTC (over 6 years ago)
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.

CD: 3ms