How do Drumbeat projects work?
February 28, 2010 § 1 Comment
One of the first questions that people ask about Drumbeat is: how do projects work? And then: What do I have to do to propose a project? What kind of support does Mozilla offer? Can I get funding?
Ultimately, our goal is to find and support ideas that will make the open web better in very concrete ways. Projects that have real impact. The Drumbeat site and community are meant to help promising ideas get to this point — providing a place to shape initial thinking, work with contributors, build an audience and generate resources. The current thinking is to move projects up a three step ‘ladder’ that encourages with all of these things.
We’re calling ideas on the first step of the ladder ’emerging’ projects. This is the basic stage where you write up a project and open it for participation. Anyone can do this. There is no application process or limit to the number of projects in this category. The idea at this stage is to gather contributors, support and feedback using your own networks and people who share your interests on drumbeat.org. As people join, contribute or vote for your project, your project participation metrics will start to grow.
Projects with significant amounts of participation will move up to ‘featured’ status. If your project gets to this stage, it moves into rotatation on the lower part of the drumbeat.org homepage and gets promoted in e-newsletters. It also receives support from the Drumbeat team, with a focus on clarifying the calls for participation at the heart of the project. The aim here is to tighten the ideas behind your project, increase the number of contributors and start to grow a more general audience and public awareness.
Every few months, a small number of projects will move from ‘featured’ to ‘supported’ status. In addition to a banner at the top of the homepage, supported projects recieve a small amount of seed funding and can collect online donations on drumbeat.org. They will also receive even more support from Mozilla — help with fundraising campaigns, grantwriting, participation calls and public awareness building. The idea is that we’re giving these projects as much as we possibly can to help them succeed.
At this early stage, we’ve moved a few projects directly to ‘supported’ status as a way to bootstrap Drumbeat, to show how it will work. You can see these projects in the rotating banner at the top of the homepage. They are all projects that people suggested over the past six months as part of the Drumbeat development process. Going forward, supported projects will be selected from the ‘featured’ pool based on a combination of traction (is participation growing?) and fit with Mozilla’s goals for Drumbeat (does it allow everyday internet users to make the web better?). The plan is to put together a small community review community to help with this selection process.
One important thing to mention: this whole approach is something that will need to evolve over time. The notes here and on the site represent a very first crack at this. We’ll do a another iteration as we form the community review team, pulling in learning from project proposals that emerge in the next couple of months. If you have questions or ideas on how we can improve the process more immediately, please comment below or post in the Drumbeat forum.
PS. there is a ‘how to write up a good Drumbeat project’ document in the works. Expect a post on that soon.