Tag Archives: support

Let's create that ideal world together!

John Slater recently hosted a brown bag about how to improve Mozilla’s web sites by making a clearer distinction between Mozilla, the non-profit organization, and Firefox, one of its products (and, of course, the most popular since it happens to be the best browser in the world!). He also posted a blog post about the topic, and David Boswell then followed up by providing his thoughts from the point of view of the Mozilla Foundation.

As I’ve said before, my vision for SUMO goes beyond Firefox: SUMO is a vibrant community of people who want to help others with their web experience. It’s also a support website platform for products like Firefox, mobile Firefox and Thunderbird.

The URL for Firefox Support, the largest SUMO-powered support site, is currently support.mozilla.com. While I don’t think URLs are that important in the first place (the navigation and structure of websites are far more important), this particular URL is a bit unfortunate because the support site is indeed about Firefox, and not Mozilla as a whole. A URL like support.firefox.com would make more sense, and would also send a clearer message to everyone what the focus of the site is.

In the ideal world, there would be a central place for support on mozilla.org where users of all products could find easy access to the support offerings per product. In other words, something like mozilla.org/support, which already exists today (although I would also make sure that support.mozilla.org worked).

Then, each product would have its own support site hosted on the product domains, e.g. support.firefox.com, support.thunderbird.com, and support.seamonkey-project.org. Of course, these sites would also link to all the amazing community-hosted support websites around the world — just like they do today.

So, what stops us from creating this ideal world? Well, nothing, really. But we’re an incredibly big community and support is just one piece of the big puzzle, so I encourage you to participate in the discussion!

Improve your karma: Help some Firefox users today!

Today, Firefox 3.6 will be released. From a support perspective, the big highlights of 3.6 are

  1. Less crashes
  2. Automatic plug-in update notifications
  3. More win

It’s certainly a time for celebration (perhaps I’ll even have a beer despite the fact that it’s only Thursday!) — but it’s also an opportunity to help the many people that will try Firefox for the first time today, or the even higher number of people who will upgrade from older versions of Firefox.

Do you think you know more about Firefox than the average user? (Hint: if you’re reading Planet Mozilla or my blog, the answer is most probably yes.) Then you can make a huge difference to a lot of people by helping them have a better experience on the web!

All it takes is a few minutes in our Firefox support forum. Simply browse through the questions asked by users of Firefox and see if you know the answer to some of them. If you do, make someone’s day by posting the answer!

On behalf of Mozilla and the 350 million Firefox users out there: Thank you.

I fell in love with Geneva

It’s Midsummer Eve in Sweden and I finally got some time to reflect on the fantastic weekend I had in Geneva together with other members of the Mozilla community. I was there to lead a discussion about SUMO and community support, with a focus on sharing experiences between the five local communities represented: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Mozilla Italia on SUMO

The discussion started with Mozilla Italia sharing their experiences with community support, where they explained why they recently decided to switch entirely to SUMO. It was really insightful to hear their main reasons for using SUMO today. Among other things, they said that:

  • Outdated content is worse than lack of content
  • If your documentation isn’t easy to find or badly structured, there’s no point in having it
  • Good documentation requires consistency, quality, and precision

This is absolutely true and we are constantly working on those three points on SUMO, so I was glad to see that these values were shared with Mozilla Italia. I was very impressed that they took the time and energy to share these experiences with the other communities, who are all handling community support in different ways.

After the presentation, the floor was open for questions and discussions, after which Simone, Francesco and Giuliano passed on the torch to me to hold a discussion/presentation combo about SUMO in general. Among other things, I showed the many new features in SUMO — both implemented and still in the works. In total, the SUMO discussions went on for over an hour, and many interesting ideas came out of it.


For example, we were discussing the best way to indicate in the search results that some of the content is only available in English. Should these English results be mixed together with the localized content, or should it be separated? Should we add labels specifying the language of the article? Should the behavior differ depending on locale? For example, in Germany, mixing English and German content isn’t as common as mixing Swedish and English content is in Sweden. Kadir pointed out that in Germany, the existence of English content on a German website can even lead to mistrust of the quality of the website.

GenevaAfter almost nine hours of discussions and presentations, it was time for us to explore Geneva and have dinner. I have to say that I fell in love with Geneva. It wasn’t just the nice weather or the beautiful buildings — there was something with the atmosphere that made walking around in the old town at night taking photos together with fellow Mozillians really, really enjoyable. I think everyone felt extra proud of being part of the Mozilla community that night.

In retrospect, I think that this inter-community meetup was one of the most successful Mozilla events I’ve attended to so far. The focus was on exchanging experiences and discussing, rather than passively watching other people’s presentations. It really worked very well to have a smaller group of people, as that made discussing various topics much easier. Also, William’s “no laptop rule” helped everyone stay focused on the purpose of the day rather than escaping into the wonderful world of bug filing, blogging, tweeting, and coding. :)

A huge thanks has to go to William for ensuring that the day was a true success. Big thumbs up from me, William! I would also like to thank Simone Lando, Giuliano Masseroni, and Francesco Lodolo from Mozilla Italia, for so openly sharing their experiences, pros, and cons about SUMO. It was incredibly helpful!

EU Inter-Community Meetup Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I’ll be traveling to Geneva for the first EU Inter-Community Meetup, arranged by no other than the hard-to-resist William Quiviger. I’m really looking forward to this event, which will focus on bringing together active communities from across Europe in the same city for a day of presentations, discussions and workshops. Also, I’ve never been in Geneva before (but I’m actually not sure if I’ve been in Switzerland… I have a vague memory of sitting in the back seat with my brother Manuel on the way to Spain, hearing our parents say “now we’re driving through Switzerland!” …but it could might as well have been Luxembourg, which seems like a more sensible route from Sweden to Spain)!

The communities attending are:

  • Mozilla Danmark (MozDK) represented by Hansen, Henrik Gemal and Jesper Kristensen
  • Mozilla France (MozFR) represented by Cedric Corazza, Goofy and Omnisilver
  • Mozilla Germany represented by Kadir Topal, Thomas Schwecherl and Michael Köhler
  • Mozilla Hispano represented by Nukeador, Francisco Picolini and Willyaranda
  • Mozilla Italia represented by Giuliano “jooliaan” Masseroni, Francesco “flod” Lodolo and Simone “Underpass” Lando

I’ll be leading a discussion about SUMO and community support in order to figure out how support is handled today, how these local support communities look like and differ from each other, and if and how SUMO is part of their solution.

My hope is that this meetup will allow us to learn from each other and improve our communication and collaboration. I’m sure we’ll also have time to discuss specifics in SUMO itself — for example, maybe there are things in SUMO that could be improved to make support easier?

Of course, I’m also looking forward to meeting many of the fellow European Mozillians again and have a good time together. :)


Postcard from Luxembourg by snaiwedu.

Nothing to see here, please move along

I regard myself as geeky enough that I should be able to solve computer problems myself, or at least with the help of some self-service online searching. However, there are times when I simply can’t figure it out. I don’t know if I’m slowly getting dumber as I’m getting older, or if I’m just getting used to the ever-improving user experience in modern software (after all, I spend about 80% of my time in front of the computer using Firefox). Or maybe certain software is just particularly unhelpful?

Whatever the reason, I obviously care a lot about user support, and use all the opportunities I can get to explore how other products/projects handle support. Also, I’m genuinely interested in user experience design, so I thought I should share this combined support/UX problem, not just as a self-centered way to ask for support, but because the subject genuinely interests me.

My morning greeting from Colloquy the last 12 months or so.

The problem I have is with the IRC client for Mac called Colloquy. Every time I start the program, it pops up a notification saying “You have 1 new memo.” Clicking on this notification does nothing (other than closing the notification itself) and I have searched through all menu items trying to find a place where I can actually read this memo. So far I have failed, and today I thought I should do some searching to find the answer online.

I started by searching in the Help menu and selected Colloquy Help, which took me to their Wiki documentation site. A search for “memo” there mostly resulted in articles about memory leaks, so I performed both generic and specific searches on Google instead.

A search for “reading memos colloquy mac” finally revealed the solution: the notification about 1 new memo is actually coming from the message server of irc.mozilla.org, not from Colloquy itself! After some experiments, I finally figured our how to read it.

To read my memo, I had to type, in irc.mozilla.org:

    /msg memoserv read 1

And to remove it, I had to type:

    /msg memoserv del 1

The conclusion? IRC is not for mainstream users.

Sorry for wasting your time by stating the obvious like this!

Mozilla Sweden Meetup — det BLEV kul!

After arriving safely in Skövde for The 5th International Conference on Open Source Systems (more on that later), I finally had some time to reflect on the Swedish Mozilla Meetup event in Stockholm last Tuesday, which was a fantastic opportunity to meet with enthusiastic Swedish Mozilla community members and others that were still just curious about our project and what we do to help promote the open web.

Tomcat's QA presentation There were four presentations during the event, where I was one of the presenters. I talked about community-powered support and SUMO, including the unique challenges Mozilla has with user support of a very popular open source product, and the importance of localization.

The artist currently known as Tomcat gave a presentation about Mozilla QA and the many opportunities that exist for people to participate. One of our Swedish community members — incidentally also a Bruce Willis cloneRobert Nyman walked us through the process of creating an extension for Firefox that replaced all headings on web pages with the titles of the popular Die Hard movies. Finally, Mozilla’s European community marketing star William increased everyone’s excitement of the imminent launch of Firefox 3.5 by demonstrating various ways we can all help with community marketing to further promote Firefox, open standards, Mozilla, and our mission. Interestingly, some people in the audience didn’t even know that Mozilla had a marketing team in the first place!

The slides of all presentations can be found on the meetup wiki page. I rarely put a lot of text on my slides anymore and instead use images and illustrations as a compliment to the actual “verbal delivery” of the presentation, so my deck may or may not be very useful in itself.

A big, big thanks goes to our favorite Liverpool native and Eskilstuna resident Patrick Finch for organizing this first Mozilla Sweden meetup event. Although I offered to work with him on it from the very beginning, being the hard-working, independent, and professional person that he is, he just took the project and ran with it — and as usual, it turned out incredibly well.

Photos from the event can be found on Flickr under the stomozcom tag.

Bli en del av Mozilla Sverige!

Är du intresserad av Mozilla och planerar att bli (eller kanske redan är!) mer involverad i Mozillas community? Kom till Stockholm imorgon kväll, tisdagen den 2 juni kl 18:00 och träffa några av oss för att lära dig mer! Eventet är fritt för alla, men vi har dock en gräns på 50 personer som kan komma.

Vi hoppas att vi kan lära oss mer av hur den svenska Mozilla-communityn ser ut idag och vad vi kan göra för att få den att växa. Jag kommer att hålla en kort presentation om projektet jag ansvarar för — SUMO, eller support.mozilla.com, eller Firefox Support om du så vill. Det finns massor av sätt att bli involverad i SUMO-projektet så om du är intresserad av det ska du definitivt komma!

Från min kära vän och väldigt lokala Eskilstunakollega Patricks blog:

I am very excited to announce that we will hold a Mozilla get-together on the evening of June 2nd, starting at 6pm at the delightful offices of bwin games in Stockholm.  You can register here.

We will be at the offices of bwin games, Klarabergsviadukten 82, Stockholm.