Mozilla has always been a community and understands that the internet is a better place when we work together. Ten years ago, Mozilla created the Reps program to add structure to 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, tested Mozilla products and launches before they went public, and collaborated on some of our biggest projects.
The past decade has also seen great changes in technology, and it has made us at Mozilla more grateful for our volunteers and more secure in our belief that community and collaboration are essential to building a better Internet.
“As threats to a healthy Internet persist, our network of collaborative communities and contributors continues to play a vital role in helping us improve it,” said Mitchell Baker, CEO and President of Mozilla. “These passionate Mozillians volunteer their time to educate, empower, and mobilize others to support Mozilla’s mission and expand the impact of the open source ecosystem — a critical part of making the Internet more accessible and better than they know it. ‘they found.”
Ahead of our virtual 10th anniversary celebration of the Mozilla Reps Program, or ReMo for short, we reached out to six of the current 205 Reps to talk about their favorite parts of the internet, why the community is so important, and where the Reps Program can start from. here.
Thank you for introducing yourself! What community do you represent and how long have you been participating in the Mozilla Reps program?
Ioana Chiorean: I am the owner of the Reps module at the moment. I’m part of Mozilla Romania, but I’ve always been directly involved in technical communities, like QA, Firefox OS and support. My later roles have been more on the advocacy side of being a technical speaker and building the rep community. 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.
Lydya Christina: 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 resource team, I provide operational support to the Mozilla community space in Jakarta, and I’m a translator for the Mozilla localization project.
Michael Kohler: I’ve been part of the Reps program since 2012, and I’m currently a Reps Peer helping with strategy-related topics within the Reps program. After organizing events and building community in Switzerland, I moved to Berlin in 2018 and started helping out 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 introducing the world of Open Source to over 150 students. Since then, I’ve spoken to thousands of people about privacy, the open web, and open source around the world, and participated in hundreds of events, programs, and initiatives.
Robert Sayles: Currently I reside in Dallas, TX representing the North American community. I first joined the Mozilla Reps program in 2012, focusing primarily on my volunteer contribution to the 2013 Mozilla Festival Volunteer Coordinator.
What part of the Internet do you get the most pleasure from?
Irvine: 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 launch party in early 2000. Mozilla gives us local community contributors the opportunity to participate, contribute and learn from each other globally.
Michael: Nyan Cat is probably the part of the Internet that I like the most. All kidding aside, for me the best part of the internet is probably the ability to learn amazing new facts about things I would never have looked up otherwise. All knowledge is just a few clicks away.
Pranshu: The Internet’s happiest moments have always come from being connected to 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 scrape people on Orkut (remember that? ). It’s been a ride, and now I talk to my mother every day via FaceTime which is thousands of miles away and to my co-workers 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 helped me embrace the idea of open knowledge and learn a lot.
Why did you join the Mozilla family?
Lydia: 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 in localization events (L10N) since then, and also joined the Mozilla Indonesia community to help run the 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 plentiful.
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 hooked me with Mozilla. Already 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 personal contact with the community for the first three years, but the more I got to know many more Mozillians all over the world, the more I felt like I belonged to this community. . I have found friends 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 it’s not just about marketing, because it’s about a community built with passion like the company, a small community of developers working to build not just a browser, but the user freedom of choice. Mozilla’s community is important for knowing how it started and where it’s taken, and — if you commit to being part of the journey — shaping the future of the internet. I’ve been involved with Aadhaar’s protest for user privacy, shaping India’s National Privacy Act, mentoring Open Source leaders and much more. I’m so grateful to be part of this family that truly wants to help people fall in love with what they do.
What is your favorite Mozilla product or Firefox project, and why?
Lydia: Besides the browser, my favorite projects/products are 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 has to be Firefox. I’ve been using Firefox for a long time and since 2008 I’ve been using Firefox Nightly (aptly called “Minefield” back then). Since then, I’ve been a strong Firefox advocate and have suggested Firefox to anyone not already using Firefox. Thanks to Firefox, my knowledge of software engineering has grown over time and to this day has helped me in my career. And all this of course in addition to being the window on the online world!
Pranshu: I love the common voice! If I could use emojis it would be full of hearts. Common Voice is such a noble project to help people around the world express themselves. The beauty of the project is how it democratizes places and gives people of all demographics a voice in the binary tech world.
Robert: I enjoyed working with Firefox Flicks many moons ago; as a representative of Mozilla, I had the privilege of interacting with the many talented creators and exploring how they were able to express themselves; I thought that was fantastic.
Mozilla uses the term “community” quite often, and it means different things to different people – what does the Mozilla community mean to you?
Iana: To me, that literally means the people. Especially those who spend their free time helping others, doing volunteer work. It’s where I grew up as a professional and learned a lot about the different cultures of the world.
Pranshu: The Mozilla community is my family. I have met so many people around the world who believe passionately in the open web. It’s a very different ecosystem from what the world considers a community, we’re really close to each other. After all, doing good is part of all our code.
Robert: The Mozilla community means everyone brings something different to the table; I have witnessed a powerful movement over the years. When everyone comes together and contributes their knowledge, 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?
Irvine: The Reps program has played an important role in connecting isolated local communities. With regular meetups and events, we can meet, receive regular updates on various projects, and collaborate on different endeavors. As a community with years of history, we can extend our help beyond local users to foreign Mozillians by sharing our experience, such as experiences on community building, event planning, setting up from the local website…etc.
Michael: Over the past few years, reps have continued to provide valuable knowledge about their regions, such as hosting bug squashing events to test local websites to ensure they work for Firefox Quantum. There would have been quite a few bugs without volunteers testing local websites that Mozilla employees couldn’t have tested themselves. Additionally, the reps have always been great at coordinating communities and helping to resolve conflicts in the community.
I see a bright future for the Reps program. Mozilla can do so 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 evolved 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.