Mozilla India underwent a restructure in Mozilla India Meetup 2016. This failed horribly and Mozilla India is still struggling in dark. Here’s a formal eulogy and possible hopes for future.
I think there is no Mozilla India. Mozilla India is just an abstract concept. Mozilla India just refers to Mozillians from all over India. There are only Mozilla sub-India communities. We might say we are united under the banner of Mozilla India. But that is just an abstract banner. More like a geographic relation. Imagine if there was a Mozilla Asia and India and Pakistan say we’re united under Mozilla Asia banner. That is how Mozilla India sounds to me. There is nothing that Mozilla India does as one. There is no Mozilla India.
There was an idea during the reorganization that geographic teams would be formed and that these wouldn’t have existence other than for the fact that they’re geographically together. That didn’t work out.
Heck, nothing in the reorganization worked.
Except we formally got rid of task forces.
The meta team failed remarkably. So they brought in Subhashish. He failed, so they brought in Haiyya. I don’t know if Haiyya is doing any different.
But it is not any team’s failure. It is the failure of the community as a whole.
The community agreed on the concept of functional teams and focus teams and geographic teams and such. Except WebVR, Rust, Add-ons, QA, nothing else seems to be working. Whose failure?
We’ve failed as a community and I think the major reason is that we’re stronger as sub-communities. Nobody can succeed in making Mozilla India work because of the reason I mentioned above. There is no Mozilla India.
Mozilla India has traditionally been made possible by pumping significant money & efforts for maintaining it as a community in this geographical scale. This is not happening anymore. Outsourcing it (through Haiyya) didn’t work.
If there was a Mozilla India, where did the vacuum for Internet Freedom Foundation come from?
If there was a Mozilla India, where did the vacuum for Rethink Aadhaar come from?
You might say that Mozilla India or Mozillians are not into advocacy a lot. Mozilla officially works on online privacy alone and has only recently taken a stand on aadhaar.
There is always room for more groups. But what is Mozilla India actually focused on? What campaigns do we run? What noise do we make?
Forget aadhaar. Do we work on anything in Mozilla Manifesto.
At best, all we’re working on is #5 “Individuals must have the ability to shape the Internet and their own experiences on it.” That too in a limited technical way.
We are doing things. The Rain of Rust workshops have been a pan Indian effort. Same with the upcoming Firefox Sprints. Firefox helps through being central to Mozilla’s growth. And rust brings in more developer engagement into mozilla’s technologies.
The Rust campaign had 3-4 really committed individuals who took the job and got it done. That is exactly how a “focus team” was envisioned in the restructure.
Rust, Add-ons, QA, WebVR are all working in the focus group spirit. But that is all there is.
I would assume a lot of young contributors are pouring in to mozilla, but where are they getting sucked inside?! Where are the 25+ add-ons tagged “mozillain”?
My strong suspicion is that they get stuck in sub-India groups.
And nobody knows what exactly gets accomplished in sub-India groups.
I wish all campaigns are started on Mozilla India’s name. (Even just “Mozilla” wouldn’t matter). I wish all relevant discussions happen on Mozilla India official groups on different platforms. I wish people join Mozilla India groups first before they join other groups. I wish we take up more important activities. I wish the restructure worked.
Campaigns like Privacy Month and Rain of Rust that originally started in India were adopted globally because they weren’t restricted by geographic ownership. You remove the region from what you do and it becomes big!
And when we have a lot of people working together we can work on a lot more things!
Communication technologies have fragmented our discussions and open web is dying. But it is not impossible to promote a culture of openness and keep communications open.
Maybe all we have are simple problems. Maybe all we need is a better homepage, better communication, and better marketing.
Maybe all we need are a few good leaders.
If you are reading this post and want to help Mozilla India survive, consider these actions:
- Improve our homepage.
- Commit to discussing things in open - using open web as far as possible, when not, using large open groups than smaller exclusive groups and possibly documenting later.
- Keep your audience wide. Do not restrict activities to your region by rule or by association. Try to name things as non-specific as possible. Try to organize things with as many people as possible from different different regions.
- Stand up and lead Mozilla India in a positive direction.