Retrospective on current forum organization: Preparing for an overhaul

With our newly revised Mission and Vision and our participation in Mozilla Open Leaders the Community Team is preparing an overhaul of the forum structure to represent the new direction we follow.

In a wiki post to forum staff I wrote down a retrospective on the current forum organization, that I’ll post here, so you can give your additional feedback, additions and remarks.

Current organization

Below you’ll find current structure, rationale behind it, and retrospective remarks.


  • Prefered by CHT because of strategic + awareness focus as main community themes

    • The main categories represent strategic pillars
  • The subcategories under strategic pillars represent focus areas / breakdown of HT

  • Community commons groups community-related activities

  • Time Well Spent as familiar term refers back to TWS movement

    • Allows people to advertise their HT wares, receive rigorous feedback


Pillar - Awareness (Cultural awakening)

- Wellbeing
- Relationships
- Privacy
- Children
- Projects & campaigns ---> (new topics need moderator approval)


  • Projects & campaigns is exclusively for community-driven initiatives


  • Relationships is unclear in its exact meaning
  • Wellbeing too large in scope, could have e.g. mental + physical health posed separately
  • Projects & campaigns not clear what its for, or that new topics need moderator approval
  • Subcategories are missing, e.g. Privacy invasion has a reason —> advertising, etc.

Pillar - Advocacy (Public / political pressure)

- Projects & Campaigns ---> (new topics need moderator approval)


  • We still focus on creating Public pressure, but leave advocating / political pressure to CHT
  • We have no projects or campaigns in this category at all at the moment (some ideas exist, though)

Pillar - Engagement (Involve employees / the workfloor)

- (no subcategories)


  • We want to involve technologists to help creating solutions, but the pillar will be driven by CHT

Pillar - Humane Design (Application of HT)

- Defining Humane Technology
- Ethics
- Exemplars


  • Defining HT subcategory leads to endless discussion to redefine us
  • Ethics was added late. It is an important subject, and pervasive throughout all HT areas
  • Exemplars is unclearly defined, we might just drop this, and turn into a community website section

Community Commons

- Community principles
- Announcements
- Events & Meetups
- Help Wanted
- Introductions


  • Community principles needs no subcategory. It should be an easy-to-find document somewhere
  • Help Wanted is unclear … members asking help, job postings, community contributions needed?
  • Introductions is not needed as subcategory, it basically consists of a single topic

Time Well Spent

- Your Apps & Tools
- News Digest
- Recommended Reading


  • TWS meaning is unclear. We might redefine as ‘time well spent’ refering to community-building activity
  • Your Apps & Tools is good for HT advertisements, but ‘brutal’ feedback aspect needs more explaining
  • News Digest can be removed, we can’t keep up with this anyway
  • Recommended Reading is unclear, we need to solve this differently (e.g. community website + bookclub)

Yesterday I did a first brainstorm and created a draft alternative forum structure, that I do not want to withhold from you, so here it is. Our Community Team in cooperation with CHT (and guidance from Mozila Open Leaders) will continue to work on fleshing out a new community organization. We’ll keep you posted.

New Organization


  • The Pyramids of Humane Technology is the framework upon which the community is based

    • The compound pyramid model above shows that each pyramid closely depends on others
  • Individual pyramids (focus areas) serve in the breakdown structure to divide into focus groups

    • The four pyramids of Humane Technology are represented as main forum categories
    • Stakeholders will work with the pyramid that has most appeal to their interest and expertise
  • The Harms of Technology are represented as a separate main category

    • Separate the postiive from the negative, the solutions from the harms




- Inclusion & Diversity
- Transparency
- Digital Rights
- Privacy
- Trust
- Civility



- Health
- Parenting
- Sociability
- Mindfulness



- Collaboration
- Growth
- Innovation
- Evolution



- Ethics
- Humane Design
- Open Standards
- Decentralization
- Sustainable Business
- Governance



- Wellbeing
- Freedom
- Society



- Awareness
- Solutions
- Education
- Research
- Partners



- Vision & Roadmap
- Announcements
- Events & Meetups
- Judge My App
- I Need Help

My impression was that society, well-being and freedoms were inseparable, that they all worked together toward the goal of people flourishing with humane technology. It would very difficult to categorise a topic into just one of these three groups.

My suggestions for a topic categories:

Building Humane Technology

  • Software [includes open standards and open source]
  • Hardware
  • Communications and Media [includes decentralisation]
  • Humane Design
  • Humane Organisations [includes business and nonprofits]
  • Growth Strategies

Society, Well-being and Freedoms

  • Harms of Technology [includes attention, manipulation, privacy and health]
  • Awareness Campaigns
  • Philosophy and Ethics
  • Children [parenting]
  • Inclusion, Civility and Transparency
  • Solutions and Vision


  • ??

You are right about their close relationship. I have updated the draft to show the compound model. But the individual pyramids were defined to come to a breakdown structure into focus areas that satisfy different stakeholder needs (e.g. techies find their passion in Alignment, parents’ heart lies most with Wellbeing).
I have clarified this in the Rationale section.

You mention awareness campaigns. We’ll work with ‘programs’, so we have the Awareness Program (which in turn can be broken down into - potentially many - different ‘projects’). We’ll also have a Partner Program, Education Program, etc. But they are not mentioned as such in the forum breakdown structure. Instead we have subcategories like ‘Partnering’, ‘Education’.

But it was missing in the breakdown, so above I have created a new Focus main category for these types of subcategories. It provides the community, well… focus :slight_smile:

Ok it’s just too much. I understand that you want to go big, but I see this as too complicated.

I love the pyramids and the new focus. But I don’t think each pyramid needs to be broken down any further than society, well-being, freedoms and alignment. In fact I even thought it would be more practical to think of these 4 things as triangles that are part of one humane technology pyramid.

Let’s take a popular current topic like privacy or parenting. Does that fit into just one of the 4 triangles? I would say topics fit into all 4 triangles, into the entire pyramid.

Secondly about design. As an interface designer, less is really more and people will do more with less. Giving so many topics actually doesn’t help. I think that the forum should focus on the most popular current topics, plus the new direction for the future which I understand as solutions.

And finally yes interfaces do influence how people think. I hope we can design the forum interface for members to focus more on solutions rather than the negative.

Maybe you are right. Your concerns are duly noticed. This represents only my first take on it (I also took my experience as a moderator into account, with the (2) previous structures we had).

Privacy and Parenting can perfectly be taken separately, and should be. The first one deals with Privacy on a societal level (hence in that focus area) and elaborates things like regulations (e.g. GDPR) and protective solutions (e.g. ad-blockers) - i.e. the technical side - while Parenting has a privacy perspective of ‘How do I teach my kid about privacy, being safe online?’ - i.e. how to raise children.

Counting categories;

  • The current structure has 6 main categories and 20 subcategories
  • The new structure has 7 main categories and 38 subcategories
    • (edit: brought back to 33, still a lot)

That is a significant increase, I agree. We’ll look into drilling this down to less.

On the other hand I feel your representation throws way too many things on one heap. This will be messy as well, and I think it lacks some of the clarity. More to follow, and I’ll be explaining more of the rationale behind choices in due time.

Thanks. What I meant was that none of the sections really fall under one of the smaller 4 triangles. For example privacy fits in with all of freedoms, society, alignment and well-being to some extent. Parenting also fits in with each of freedoms, society, alignment and well-being to some extent. In fact just about everything fits in with these 4 things, because these 4 things are the basis all of humane tech.

I also don’t view the visual as a pyramid. To me it’s an attractive arrangement of triangles which work in harmony.

The structure I proposed is just an example. I limited it to 3 categories so users wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. I think the actual sections should be determined by popularity, so that every section gets regular new posts and there are no unpopular areas.


What I think is that the structure isn’t intended to be restrictive. The breakdown of the sections in to topics to me serves the purpose of providing inspiration as to what can and should be done.
Not everything has the same priority and it is visualized that we will be working our way up from where we are now.

I agree that many topics interlink and can crossover from one section to another. Also, should we want to address all angles immediately we need a hell of a lot of very active people to work on it.

So, maybe that should be our first priority.

I think the right steps are being made with the new vision, mission, structure, the rethink of the community and how we relate to the center. Now is the time to organize for scale, so we can go and spread the word to get as many humane tech activists as possible to work our way (back) up the pyramid (or up the arrangement of triangles if you will :wink: ).


Thank you, Will. Yes, there are a lot of ways to cut this and probably best structure lies somewhere in the middle. There are always concessions to be made when flattening multi-dimensional things into a hierarchy. But being able to operate at scale and handle different stakeholder needs is an important factor indeed.

PS. I really liked your suggestion (in your PM) to apply principles from Spotify Engineering Culture to community methodology.


Right. And the hierarchy depicted is not a hierarchy of organization but one of levels to reach in order to realize our utlimate vision…

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My version:

(last layer of each pyramid is without actual topic categories because is a target layer we aspire to, so no topic would fit there)


  • Access

    • Inclusion & Diversity
    • Transparency
    • Civility
  • Protection

    • Digital Rights
    • Privacy
    • Trust
  • Safety


  • Health

    • Body & Mind
    • Ergonomics
  • Harmony

    • Parenting
    • Sociability
    • Mindfulness
  • Happiness


  • Engagement

    • Collaboration
  • Expression

    • Growth
    • Innovation
  • Flourishing


  • Discovery

    • Ethics
    • Humane Design
  • Adoption

    • Open Standards
    • Decentralization
    • Sustainable Business
    • Governance
  • Evolution

Harms of technology

  • Society harms
  • Wellbeing harms
  • Freedom harms


  • Awareness
  • Solutions
  • Education
  • Research
  • Partners


  • Vision & Roadmap
  • Announcements
  • Events & Meetups
  • Judge my app
  • I need help


Thanks, Michele. I like the eye and the compass icons.

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