Archive for April 18th, 2013

Mozilla Manifesto – Towards 1.0

April 18th, 2013

The Mozilla Manifesto identifies a set of principles that we believe are critical for the Internet to continue to benefit the public good, commercial life and individual opportunity. For those interested in Mozilla history and development, this 2007 post describes why the Mozilla Manifesto was written and its goals.

In 2007 we gave the Mozilla Manifesto an “0.9” designation and began using it as a guidepost for our work. My plan at the time was to see if translating the Mozilla Manifesto caused questions or suggestions for improvements before moving to a 1.0 version. We have seen many translations (35 languages to date). In an unplanned path, the 0.9 version proved extremely resilient and we didn’t actually change it to a “1.0” version.

We’ve now reached Mozilla’s 15 year anniversary, which is a good time to make a few tweaks and identify this as our version 1.0. To do this, we’ve gathered input from the Mozilla community over the last 12 months, via workshops held at MozCamps and at the Mozilla Festival. Having considered all that has been said so far, we are proposing 3 changes to the 10 principles in the Manifesto.

1. Add a reference to “privacy”

Preserving the privacy of users is a core Mozilla value. In version 0.9, the reference to “security” in principle 4 was intended to imply “privacy”. However, experience has shown that the text is not read that way. And so we propose changing principle 4 to add an explicit reference:

Individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.

2. Make all principles expressible in 140 characters

Rightly or wrongly, being able to make a point in 140 characters is now an extremely useful (and sometimes necessary) way of conveying information. Making each principle tweetable helps us communicate them. Also, we believe that we can do this without losing key messages, and that the shorter versions are clearer. To do this, 3 principles – 1, 6 and 9 – need to be shortened. We propose:

1: The Internet is integral to modern life – education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society.

6: The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability, innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.

9: Commercial involvement in the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.

3. Strengthen the reference to individuals being able to create their own experience

Mozilla’s mission involves empowering people to act, to move from being consumers to creators of online life. A rewording of principle 5 makes the “building and making” part much more clear:

Individuals must have the ability to shape the Internet, and their own experiences on it.

A summary is available of the feedback from the MozCamps and the Mozilla Festival – this was the document we considered in coming up with the proposals above. If there’s something big you think has not been considered, let us know. If you think any of these changes are wrong-headed or destructive, also let us know. You can comment on these proposed changes in the governance forum.

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