Mozilla has always been about community and understanding that the internet is a better place when we work together. Ten years ago, Mozilla created the Reps program to structure our regional programs, building more on our open source foundation. Over the past decade, the program has helped activate local communities in more than 50 countries, test Mozilla’s products and launches before they go public, and collaborate on some of our larger projects.
The last decade has also seen big changes in technology, and that only makes us at Mozilla more grateful to our volunteers and more confident in our belief that community and collaboration are essential to creating a better Internet.
“As threats to a healthy Internet persist, our network of collaborative communities and contributors continue to play a vital role in helping us improve it,” said Mitchell Baker, CEO and President of Mozilla. “These passionate Mozillians give of their time to educate, empower and engage others to support Mozilla’s mission and extend the impact of the open source ecosystem – a critical part of making the Internet more accessible and better than what they have. find.”
Ahead of our virtual 10th anniversary celebration of the Reps Mozilla program, or ReMo for short, we connected with six of the current 205 reps to talk about their favorite parts of the internet, why community is so important, and where the Reps program can go. from here.
Thank you for introducing yourself! What community do you represent and how long have you been part of the Mozilla Reps program?
Ioana Chiorean: I am currently the owner of the Reps module. I’m part of Mozilla Romania, but have always been directly involved in technical communities, like QA, Firefox OS, and support. My last roles have been more on the advocacy side as a technical speaker and building the community of representatives. I have been in the Reps program since 2011.
Irvin Chen: I am a Mozilla representative from Taipei, Taiwan. I represent the Mozilla Taiwan community, one of the oldest Mozilla communities.
Lidya Christine: I am a Mozilla representative from Jakarta, Indonesia. I have been involved in the Reps program for over two years now. I’m also part of the Review and Resources team, providing operational support to the Mozilla Community Space in Jakarta and a translator for the Mozilla Localization Project.
Michael Kohler: I have been part of the Reps program since 2012 and I am currently a Peer Reps helping on strategy related topics within the Reps program. After organizing events and building the community in Switzerland, I moved to Berlin in 2018 and started helping there. Over the past 13 years, I have worked on different Mozilla products such as Firefox, Firefox OS, and Common Voice.
Pranshu Khanna: I am Pranshu Khanna, member of the Council of Representatives for the current term and representative of Mozilla Gujarat. I started my journey as a Firefox Student Ambassador from an event in January 2016, where my first contribution was to introduce the world of Open Source to over 150 students. Since then, I have spoken to thousands of people about privacy, the open web and open source around the world and have participated in hundreds of events, programs and initiatives.
Robert Sayles: Currently, I reside in Dallas, Texas, and I represent the North American community. I first joined the Mozilla Reps program in 2012, mainly focusing on my volunteer contribution to the Mozilla Festival Volunteer Coordinator 2013.
What part of the internet do you enjoy the most?
Irvin: For me the most exciting thing about the internet is that no matter who you are or where you are, you can always find and make friends on the internet. For example, independently of each other, we could still collaborate online and successfully host the Firefox release party in the early 2000s. Mozilla gives us, the contributors in the local community, the opportunity to participate, to contribute and learn from each other globally.
Michael: Nyan Cat is probably the part of the internet that I like the most. Kidding aside, for me the best part of the internet is probably the chance to learn amazing new facts about things that I would never have researched otherwise. All knowledge is just a few clicks away.
Pranshu: The happiest times on the internet have always come from being connected with people. That was 2006, and the ability to be on chat rooms on a 256Kbps dial-up modem to connect with people about anything, and scratch people on Orkut (remember that? ). It’s been a journey, and now I talk to my mom every day via FaceTime which is thousands of miles away and to my coworkers around the world. I would have been a kid in a small town in India who wouldn’t have imagined such a big world without the Internet. It has helped me embrace the idea of open knowledge and learn so much.
Why did you join the Mozilla family?
Lidya: I started in 2016, when I first attended an offline localization event in the Mozilla Community Space in Jakarta. I have continued to be involved with Localization Events (L10N) since then, and I have also joined the Mozilla Indonesia community to help manage events and community space in Jakarta.
What really makes me engage with the community is that I appreciate that it is a supportive environment where the opportunities to learn (locally and globally) are wide.
Michael: When I was in high school, one of my teachers was a Firefox contributor. At one point he showed us what he was working on and it got me hooked on Mozilla. Already back then, I had a great interest in open source, but it hadn’t occurred to me to contribute until then. I was most impressed by the kindness and willingness to help volunteers contribute to Mozilla’s mission and products. I didn’t have much face-to-face contact with the community for the first three years, but the more I got to know a lot more Mozillians all over the world, the more I felt like I belonged to that community. I have found friends from all over the world through my involvement with Mozilla!
Pranshu: Roots. Mozilla has its roots in activism since the birth of the Internet, and my connection to the Mozilla manifesto was instantaneous. I realized that it’s not just about marketing as it’s a community built with passion like the business is, from a small community of developers working to create not just a browser, but the user’s freedom of choice. The Mozilla community is important for knowing how it started and where it is headed, and – if you are committed to be part of the journey – shape the future of the Internet. I participated in the Aadhaar Protest for User Privacy, the development of India’s National Privacy Law, Mentorship of Open Source Leaders and much more. I’m so grateful to be part of this family who really want to help people fall in love with what they do.
What is your favorite Mozilla product or Firefox project, and why?
Lidia: Besides the browser, my favorite project / product is Pontoon (localization tool) and Firefox Monitor to be notified if my account was part of a data breach or not.
Michael: My favorite Mozilla product is Firefox. I have been using Firefox for a long time and since 2008 I have been using Firefox Nightly (aptly called “Minefield” at the time). Since then, I have been a strong supporter of Firefox and have suggested Firefox to anyone who is not already using Firefox. Thanks to Firefox, my knowledge of software engineering has increased over time and to this day it has helped me in my career. And all of this, of course, in addition to being the window to the online world!
Pranshu: I love Common Voice! If I could use emojis it would be filled with hearts. Common Voice is such a noble project to help people all over the world give voice. The beauty of the project is how it democratizes places and gives people of all demographic strata a voice in the binary technological world.
Robert: I enjoyed working with Firefox Flicks several moons ago; as a representative of Mozilla, I had the privilege of interacting with the many talented creators and exploring how they could express themselves; I thought it was fantastic.
Mozilla uses the term “community” a lot, and that means different things to different people – what does the Mozilla community mean to you?
Ioana: To me that literally means people. Especially those who spend their free time helping others, volunteering. This is where I grew up as a professional and learned a lot about different cultures around the world.
Pranshu: The Mozilla community is my family. I have met so many people around the world who passionately believe in the Open Web. It’s a very different ecosystem than what the world thinks of as a community, we are really close to each other. After all, doing good is part of all of our code.
Robert: The Mozilla community means that everyone brings something different to the table; I have witnessed a powerful movement over the years. When everyone comes together and brings their knowledge to the table, we can make a difference in the world.
How has the ReMo program evolved over the past decade, and where do you think the program is heading?
Irvin: The Reps program had played an important role in connecting isolated local communities. With regular meetups and events, we can meet, receive regular updates from various projects, and collaborate on different efforts. As a community with years of history, we can extend our help beyond local users to foreign Mozillians by sharing our experiences, such as experiences on community building, event planning, implementation. local website place, etc.
Michael: Over the past few years, reps have continued to provide important information about their regions, such as hosting bug-hunting events to test local websites to make sure they work for Firefox Quantum. There would have been quite a few bugs without the volunteers who tested local websites that Mozilla employees could not have tested themselves. Additionally, representatives have always been excellent at coordinating communities and assisting with conflicts within the community.
I see a bright future for the Reps program. Mozilla can do much more with the help of volunteers. Mozilla Reps is the perfect program to help coordinate, find, and grow communities to advance Mozilla’s vision and mission for years to come.
Pranshu: Over the past decade, the ReMo program has grown from helping people read, write, and build on the internet to improving the ecosystem by building leaders and helping users focus on their privacy . The program aims to create pillars in society who are committed to catalyzing collaboration between diverse communities for the common good, breaking down the silos that divide people. ReMo has representatives across the world, and I can imagine the community building great things together.