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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

Greg McVerry

Thank you @ctmirror for dropping facebook comments, I have to use disquss, but at least I can reengage in local journalism. We will get you to add webmentions some day.

Greg McVerry

Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019

The differences in ratings are partly a reflection of the lower number of referrals that publishers now get from Facebook following algorithm changes. But there also appears to be a change in sentiment toward third party platforms in general. Many publishers have been burned by creating bespoke content only to find the goalposts changing or the monetisation slow to materialise.

Greg McVerry

@judell the fact the @nytimes missed this contribution of Knuth is a travesty of journalism

Greg McVerry

@smarick I wonder if we will have that talent pool producing again in formal pubs. Not sure economics there. May take intellectual collectives, unassociated with money, not sure think tank model on left or write grows thinkers of long form editorial journalism

Greg McVerry

@davewiner or go back to model of paying for quality journalism.

Greg McVerry

BlogTalk: Journalism and Weblogs @dangillmor (2004)

A fun look back at where we thought journalism could go .

Greg McVerry

Recognizing Many Networks Loosely Joined at #MozAloha

5 min read

Yesterday I got the chance to catch up with the Participation Team as we continue our development of the Leadership Toolkit.

Everyone is off at all-hands in Hawaii. I joined remotely from Connecticut to hack away at some work. It was great to catch up with Mikko, Verena, and Emma. When it comes to developing resources for open pedagogy on a global scale I can't think of anyone more qualified than this team. We were also joined by Jane who helped us shape our pupose and goals

flickr photo shared by bloomgal under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

We began by discussing the futre of our initiative. As someone joining all-hnads remotely I probably missed some contexts but what I got out of Emma's quick overview the Particatipation Team and the Innovation Team have joined under the moniker of "mobilzers." 

Emma highlighted that the focus will shift more to partners who share Mozilla's vision. Think of Mozilla  more of an alliance rather than a single organization.

That makes sense. Its more webby. I am always brought back to Weinbergers 2002 idea of "small pieces loosely joined." I think many networks loosely joined makes sense for Mozilla moving forward. Especially in terms of our goals of mobilzing new contributors to our projects and activists to our causes.

flickr photo shared by cambodia4kidsorg under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

An Alliance 

I like the idea of thinking about the many parts of our communities as an alliance. Open Science, Firefox, WebVR, Open Journalism, the Hive Network, MDN, Campus Clubs and other Moxzilla groups all have unique missions but we share a common goal. 

Then on the next level of the network there are many other organizations who share these same goals. I persoanlly began contributing to Mozliaa when the National Writing Project (a US non-profit) organized a Hakasaurus hackjam at the National Council Teachers of English (a US professional organzation). 

Protecting the web and ensuring a basic level of web literacy is too crucial a cause for any one organization.

flickr photo shared by Ars Electronica under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license


We spent much of 2015 and 1016 looking inward as organization. The workflow shifted dramatically and major programs were relaunched. I do fear in the spirit of better and faster a large portion of power was shifted internally and away from the community.

Any networked approach to mobilizing people must remian dectralized moving forward. Yet at the same time we need the systems in place to track our success. This requires an understanding of community building, learning sciences, design based research, social network analysis, and analytics. I am glad tough problems are so much fun.

These can also be draining on the limited resources of MoCo and MoFo. We have to be careful efforts are shared and not simply duplicated. In many ways to reach this vision of greater particiaption Mozilla will need to draw on a diverse set of new contributors working between netowrks. 

flickr photo shared by Marco Arment under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license


Emma used the metaphor of a flower to represent the work of our team. In 2015 we were farmers, in 2016 we had the particiatpation buffet, and now in 2017 it looks like the bee will be our metaphor.

This makes sense. A network approach will require cross-pollinators. We need to mobilze and recruit organizations. We need to go back to our communities and bring people along for the ride. I, for an example, am an academic. I need to encourage other schoalrs to contribute while also working with Mozilla to carve out a space for contributors to be recognized for their work.

You maybe a poet or an artist, a designer, a developer, an engineer, or a journalist who share values with Mozilla. Great. Lets empower you within your network so we can create a symbiotic relationship around the web.

What does this Require?

  • Championing Other People
  • Low Barriers of Entry
  • An all of the above platform approach
  • A bunch of other stuff I can't think of. Will you help?

What does this mean for our efforts on the Leadership ToolKit?

  • Hopefully we build somethign that can be used by any networks.


  • Networks are the people in them. I do not want to try to build self paced online learning modules. Its bad learning. Instead we are building our modules for live coaching delivery and will help people fork them for synchronous or aynschronous online learning (even self paced online).


  • We need to settle on a platform. I don't want to build one more place for Mozilla contributors to have to join. We somehow need a platform that is platform agnostic. For me that is the web. All of our course design should be built on the POSSE model, Publish on Your Own Site, Syndicate Elsehwere. For now this might be Discourse, Twitter, Facebook, or Telgram. We have to let conditions in the nodes decide where learners will share what they make. What we can do is empower the people who use the toolkit to own what they make and control their privacy as they decide where to share it. Personally I believe chat streams enabled with yet to be devloped bots and AI will be the future of distributed learning spaces.

Greg McVerry

Reflections as a Participant Leader at #mozfest

8 min read

Amira opened up the Mozilla Foundation comparing the MozFest journey to a magical carpet ride. What a journey. So many of us took flight and explored a confernece built on making, hacking, and playing.

flickr photo shared by ChristosBacharakis under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

Yet in almost all instances magic is an illusion.

flickr photo shared by Mozillafestival under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license


The woven threads wisping through the air of Ravensbourne College do not just stay afloat like some kind of strange indoor blimp.

flickr photo shared by Mozillafestival under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Instead the efforts of hundreds of contributors breathing life into MozFest lift us into the air. They hold up the values of the Manifesto and their voices will unleash the next wave of Open.

flickr photo shared by Mozillafestival under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Developers, designers, analytics folks, artists, activists, and even the misiter of fun made sure magic enveloped everyone at Mozfest.

flickr photo shared by Mozillafestival under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

That's how I see our role as participation leaders. We spread the wizadry so the burdens and joys of a magic carpet ride on the  Open Web will not be an illusion. The Participation Leaders (read more on our Planet) are members of the newly formed Participation Team. Our goal is to increase community involvement across all of the channels of Mozilla.

As a Participant Leader I attended my first mozfest. So I wanted to take some time and reflect on what I thought we could do to help spread a little more magic. These reflections cut across MozFest and the Participation team.

Getting Remote Right

A huge hat tip to the team behind and the remote challenges. Fuzzy nailed the live stuff, Hannah and Natalie did awesome design work, and Andre worked hard on localization. I have attended the last Mozfest as a remote attendee. In terms of Participation remote is huge.

The challenges were awesome. Everyone did a great job on the design. What remote attendees don't want, however, is  to sit alone and hack at something. We do that every other day for Mozilla. Make us feel special as remote attendees.

We want to be there. Stream all plenary addresses. Encourage crowdsourced streaming. I periscoped and live blogged many sessions. I got personal thanks from many remote attendees. As remotees we want to see as much live as possible.

Have online and synchronous remote challenges. One idea, and I steal this from Maha Bali and the Virtually Connecting Crew, is to team up an on the ground participant and a remote participant. They can then host an open session that anyone around the world can join.


We got pathways wrong. Having fifty pathways isn't choice it is a maze. Designing your own direction is at the heart of Teaching Like Mozilla... but if I need an atlas and a tour guide it is too difficult.

I should be able to count the pathways on one or two hands.

People also come to with their destination in mind. If you are into , or , or Mozilla Learning Networks you want to hang out there. Over the past year or two as a participant you have been getting help from, reading about, or building with the facilitators in that space. maybe the only time to work face to face.

I understand we do need to get people out of their spaces. I love having the hackspaces in each Space at mozfest. I would just suggest that if VPs, project managers, or community leaders are going to hack away at something you head to a different space.

Many of the spaces alternated from looking like lounges or board rooms. Neither are inviting if we want to increase participation

Maybe the answer is to fool around with the session types. You have your Mothership activities, like plenaries where everyone gathers, orbit sessions centered around spaces, and exploration sessions that get people out of their spaces and checking out other teams.

This can be done by changing up the session times. Have one hour, two hour, and four hour sessions. This will lead to a reduced number of sessions, but it seemed many people wanted to keep working long past the end. There would be a call to head to a hackspace but with coffee that good along the way few would make it.

If session time varied 1 hour sessions in a space would be limited and people would check out other places. In other words if a Space as three avilable rooms butif  rooms are doing two hour and four sessions then by default many participants will head to another space.

Participation Team Notes

  • Onboarding is vastly different across the Globe. In North America and in Western Europe most people come to Mozilla through an existing partner. Across the rest of the globe people come to Mozilla through Mozilla. We need to think about and plan for these pathways.
  • The Tech Speaker series is critically important. Many people on the Participation Team noted how the opportunity made them more confident and want to get involved in Mozilla. The tech speaker series was standing room only. We should double down on story telling in every modality.
  • Everyone is trying to figure out GitHub. I am seeing curriculum development occur both on the MoFo side and and the MoCo side. We want to lift the same carpet but may be blowing in different directions. This is my first time working on another team. The workflow is vastly different then what I was used to in old webmaker/Mozilla Learning Networks. Lets build the same system. The Participation Leaders can help be that bridge.

    Maybe the idea of simplifying git hub for community contribution is the wrong problem to solve. For many teachers and activist curriculum and lesson plans might be the first contribution they make. Some of the best lessons I have ever written were on the back of cocktail napkins. We need to have as many channels open for people to share curriculum.

    Our job as Participant Leaders should be to curate this material and recognize future contributors who might need a little cultivation (such as learning Git).

    I see having someone get to a point where they are actively contributing to Git as a key indicator of leadership growth. Anyone willing to fight their way through that pain in the ass process is pretty committed. If you can get Git simplifed awesome. Just make sure the curriculum writing process is the same across all of Mozilla

  • Maybe the Participation Space should be a distributed space. The Participation Leaders talked about this a lot. Many of us had teams we are already committed to. Some wanted to hang with the FirefoxOS teams, others were involved in Mozilla Reps, some like me wanted to hang with Mozilla Learning Networks.

    Many of our sessions overlapped or sounded very similar to sessions in other spaces. The goals of the Participation Team are the same for every team. We want greater contribution and leadership in each space

    What if Participation Leaders were embedded in their space? This would allow us to greater track the contributions and recognize future leaders. We could even offer similar sessions simultaneously across all the spaces. Then in the afternoon in the Participation space we could gather for training.

    We could even offer an exclusive "golden ticket" session for other people. So if we noticed in our embedded space that there was someone going the extra mile we can say, "Hey there is this super duper double top secret sessions to thank leaders in each space. You should go."

  • The Gear Store matters. Its hard, as a New Englander full of false bravado and  self-import it to admit, but the swag matters. I have never been one for branding. Like many of my "too cool for school New York city types" the labels did not matter to me. They matter for the rest of the world.

    I saw people trading all kinds of weird stuff for hard to get stickers or t-shirts. While it takes staff and commitment I think an effort should be made to beef up the Gear Store. I wonder though if it can't be community driven.

    What if there was a site where community artists could submit designs that could be added to stickers, t-shirts, and mugs? Mozilla just takes a 30% cutoff of gross proceeds.

  • The Museum Matters. We tried to build a Museum in the Participation space. There were some awesome older artifacts. These were cannibalized at the end of the conference. Recognizing how much people care about gear also means preserving this history. Build a traveling museum exhibit that can be easily shipped.