Let’s continue this series on some of the great practices that we have at Mozilla and that your project may wish to adopt, too.

This time, let’s talk about Mozilla’s #introduction chatroom.

Mozilla is a large community, with dozens of projects, from Firefox front-end to localization to addons.mozilla.org to Firefox Hubs to support.mozilla.org, etc. Unsurprisingly, we have many communication channels. Bugzilla and Phabricator, Github issues and Pull Requests, Matrix/Riot/Element (formerly IRC) and Discourse, etc.

When you are a seasoned contributor, you already know where to find people who can answer your project-related questions. I’ve been on #developers for the best part of 17 years, on #spidermonkey (previously named #jsapi) for about 10 years, on both of the French-speaking channels for as long as I remember, etc.

But if you are a newcomer, where do you go?

Well, you go to #introduction!

• It’s a web-accessible channel. You don’t need to download and install Discord, or Slack, or anything else to join it.
• It’s a public channel. You don’t need anybody’s authorization to join it.
• It’s a channel where you can ask dumb questions. It’s ok. On #introduction, everybody knows that you’re here because you don’t know yet. Everybody on the channel is gentle.
• On #introduction, you are not distracting people while they’re busy or in the middle of highly technical written brainstormings, simply because they’re using other channels for that.
• It’s also a mutual help channel. The first people to respond to newcomers are very often people who have only been here for a few days or a few weeks, who have passed the first few difficulties and are happy to share their knowledge.
• It’s a moderated channel. If you’re a troll or a spambot, you are going to get ejected.
• It’s a volunteer-only channel. While many Mozilla employees participate, they’re here because they want to, not because it’s part of their job description (except a few who actually talked to management and succeeded at making it part of their job description :) ). We’re here to help :)

On #introduction, you can ask about mentored bugs, or general contribution-oriented questions. Volunteers will help you, will put you in touch with other developers who might answer your questions best, or will lead you towards detailed documentation.

These days, many open-source projects have public or semi-public chats (e.g. Discord) and that’s great! But I feel that many of them are missing one that would work as #introduction.

Mozilla’s original #introduction was created in 2011 by Josh Matthews, Gavin Sharp and Ted Mielczarek.