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Confusing plethora of Mozilla fora

rsbrux
Making moves

The profusion of platforms for discussion and feedback has grown to confusing proportions:

  • bugzilla.mozilla.org
  • community.mozilla.org
  • "Discussions" under connect.mozilla.org
  • "Ideas" under connect.mozilla.org
  • support.mozilla.org

Even though some of these share a Firefox login, one must reregister for different platforms.

Furthermore, the newer additions, e.g. community.mozilla.org and connect.mozilla.org seem to be resource-hungry and high overhead.  They are painfully slow in Firefox 98 under Windows 10 21H2 on a PC with an Intel core i7 processor, an SSD drive and 8GB RAM.

Please streamline and unify these platforms!  For example, why not use *one* forum platform with easily selectable and navigable sections, as most fora do?

 

16 REPLIES 16

4DEATH
Making moves

I support this. If there needs to be separation due to reasons (eg. Bugzilla) it shouldnt feel this disconnected from other ways of sending feedback. You should be able to switch platforms as needed without losing any info.

I also suggest integrated Firefox feedback button to be used better. Maybe it could include basic feedback info like browser version, os and additional relevant info based on feedback topic/category, all confirmed by user of course.

It should be painless to send feedback. Putting it behind a login can be tolerated too by making using Firefox account to auto login feedback page.

rsbrux
Making moves

Indeed, Bugzilla is the only one of the above-mentioned platforms for which I can imagine a justification for a separate existence.  (At least) all of the others should be rolled up into a single platform.  Your comment about the feedback button is spot on.  It seems to link to connect.mozilla.org but still leaves it up to the user to decide whether to submit an "Idea" or start a "Discussion". If the feedback includes a support request, then the user has to figure out how to submit a question to support.mozilla.org (which is also not straightforward). A more conventional forum with a sections tree would be easier to understand and to navigate.

MBae
Making moves

Agreed on all counts!

Whenever I am trying to troubleshoot a Firefox issue (quite often lately, it seems), I am frustrated by the number of posts I find in one or the other of the forums with my exact question, but no responses and archived. This is a logical side effect of having too many and disconnected forums.

jscher2000
Collaborator

SUMO (https://support.mozilla.org/) has knowledge base articles, and also a forum for individual support tickets. It is more like an emergency room than a place to propose and discuss forward-looking suggestions. That is one of the reasons that this site exists, but since nothing stops people from posting support questions here, or links them over to SUMO articles, there will be duplication.

Only rarely have I found a solution to a problem I'm experience in a knowledge base article and at least a few I reviewed needed to be updated.    I agree with the first three comments.   


@azurite73 wrote:

Only rarely have I found a solution to a problem I'm experience in a knowledge base article and at least a few I reviewed needed to be updated.


There definitely are not articles for everything. I don't even know whether that would be possible. If you find an article that needs to be updated, check the "Editing tools" menu on the right side of the page. You can propose changes by submitting an edit or by opening a discussion.

 

Except that I'm looking for a solution to my problem, and I never know how long that'll take (and too often I'm not successful in finding a solution) and I don't want to have to deal as someone has mentioned, yet another sign in process--which I had to deal with just to sign in to respond to your reply.   I had never heard of Khouros (sp?) before but I had to deal with it to sign in.     I'd like to be able to just find a solution to my problem using whatever search terms I can come up with, not spend 35-40 signing in, figuring out how request an article be updated, doing that, etc., etc.,    All I want is to find a solution to my problem, and get back to work.    When I have posted in the Community support sections I've gotten suggestions that (1) strongly suggest the person posting didn't actually read what I posted, or maybe read the first sentence; (2) comes across as, geez, you're pretty stupid for not being able to figure this out on your own.   I'm not a tech person, but as far as I know, I'm not required to be to use Mozilla's Thunderbird or Firefox, so why condescend to me because I'm not?    Mostly I've stayed away from the many Mozilla forums or whatever they're called for the reasons rsbrux lists.    I understand how hard some people work on Firefox & Thunderbird so if non-tech people aren't supposed to comment, aren't supposed to say, gee, I wish this would happen w/FF or TB, if I can't help make it happen then I don't have a right to comment or say, I have difficulty finding solutions to whatever problems I have, then come right out & say it.    


@azurite73 wrote:

Except that I'm looking for a solution to my problem, and I never know how long that'll take (and too often I'm not successful in finding a solution) and I don't want to have to deal as someone has mentioned, yet another sign in process--which I had to deal with just to sign in to respond to your reply.   I had never heard of Khouros (sp?) before but I had to deal with it to sign in.


I don't know what Khouros is. When Mozilla Support switched from having its own registration system to using your Firefox Account to sign in, that was intended to streamline access and reduce friction. But obviously not everyone sets up a Firefox Account, either.


I'd like to be able to just find a solution to my problem using whatever search terms I can come up with, not spend 35-40 signing in, figuring out how request an article be updated, doing that, etc., etc.,    All I want is to find a solution to my problem, and get back to work.


I think that's what everyone wants. Most of the support site is built through community effort, and it's a moving target, so I doubt all the gaps can be closed. Certainly the search feature can be improved.


When I have posted in the Community support sections I've gotten suggestions that (1) strongly suggest the person posting didn't actually read what I posted, or maybe read the first sentence; (2) comes across as, geez, you're pretty stupid for not being able to figure this out on your own.   I'm not a tech person, but as far as I know, I'm not required to be to use Mozilla's Thunderbird or Firefox, so why condescend to me because I'm not?    Mostly I've stayed away from the many Mozilla forums or whatever they're called for the reasons rsbrux lists.    I understand how hard some people work on Firefox & Thunderbird so if non-tech people aren't supposed to comment, aren't supposed to say, gee, I wish this would happen w/FF or TB, if I can't help make it happen then I don't have a right to comment or say, I have difficulty finding solutions to whatever problems I have, then come right out & say it.    


A lot of people who post on the internet are indeed annoying and sometimes abusive. It's important not to take it personally. You should always use site features to report abusive replies so moderators can consider banning those people. There are a lot of people providing good information with a less hostile attitude if you screen out the noise.

A lot of people who post on the internet are indeed annoying and sometimes abusive. It's important not to take it personally. You should always use site features to report abusive replies so moderators can consider banning those people.

Or more work for me to do, while I'm looking for a solution to a problem.     That's what I'm hearing from you, i.e, Mozilla's doing the best it can,  your wishes are unreasonable, so spend time searching, doing this and that sign in, and be grateful.     Justifying how existing status because, going by what you say, it's not possible for it to be easier for people to find a solution to a problem they're having w/firefox or Thunderbird, so end of discussion.   You've persuaded me, it's not possible for Mozilla to handle problem solving or multiple check-ins any better then it does.     Kinda like Microsoft's alleged "help" for Windows.


@azurite73 wrote:

That's what I'm hearing from you, i.e, Mozilla's doing the best it can,  your wishes are unreasonable, so spend time searching, doing this and that sign in, and be grateful.


Obviously help articles can be improved, and people are working on this all the time. Searching tools have been improved, and more work can be done. If that's what you're wishing for, it's totally reasonable.

Pointing out specific changes that need to be made in a help article or search result is very welcome, the more actionable the better. This is a community effort.

See rsbrux's post at the beginning of this thread, those seem like pretty specific desired changes to me.   And yes, I just had to use Khrouas productions or something like that to once again be able to post a response, because of my choice of log in.    I am going to end by saying, if I can't even FIND an article that solves my problem, whatever it is then I'm not going to have any specific changes to suggest in making that non-existent or unfindable by me article more helpful am I?   I will have only the general statement that I have now made repeatedly: (1) I try different phrases and different search terms but often cannot find a solution to a problem or difficulty I'm experiencing in help article or elsewhere (2) because I'm  NOT a tech person I don't always know for sure if it's a FF or TB problem or a Windows 10 problem.  For example, used to be when did one of the ever more frequent TB updates, I wouldn't lose the TB icon on the bottom taskbar (i.e., "lose" = disappears as soon as the update's installed),  and I would see the TB icon again on what I guess is called the desktop.  That no longer happens, don't remember when that annoying change occurred (because it means I have to repin every time after locating a TB icon on a different screen/display.  Every time, I have to repin the TB icon to the bottom task bar and I no longer see the TB symbol on the desktop home screen at all, instead, after each update installs, I see another white rectangle--icons, I guess-- that are probably supposed to look like a white paper w/right hand corner folded over icon with Thunderbird printed & an arrow pointing to it.     I don't know for sure if it's a stricting Mozilla TB issue/problem or if it's a Windows/TB interaction issue.    What I do know is that when I searched for a solution in the TB help center (for a help "article") or whatever it's called I could find nothing after 10-15 minutes of trying different search terms, etc., and after that I did NOT feel like figuring out, again, how to post in the "community forum" since it's been at least 3-5 years since I got a helpful response from the community  (I did find it useful a few times years ago).  

The last time I pointed out a very specific problem with Thunderbird I got zero help except for one suggestion?   Update TB.  Well, after something like 3 years of living with the problem, and updating TB the problem finally went away--so I guess, if I didn't mind the wait, it really was a "helpful" suggestion.   

That I didn't switch to a different email host or whatever the correct term is, during that 3 years has more to do w/procrastination and just being sick & tired of dealing w/software & computer issues, usually but not always generated by updates, whether of my security software, the horrible Windows, or a TB or FF update--problems sometimes caused by an incompatibility between one of the 3 caused by the update-- then how I felt about dealing with that recurring problem, which was very irritating.    

In that instance, I was very specific about the problem w/Thunderbird, yet, I didn't feel I got a useful response.   Not when it took 3 years or more for the problem to be solved, intentionally or otherwise, by those who work on TB.      Now you're telling me I need to be more specific.   So, I'm done.  

You've got one point of view, I've got another, mine is that I'd like to be able to find solutions to my problems using TB or FF, when they come up, not 3 years or more later.   Maybe I just don't get however the TB and FF search engine logic works, so I'll never come up with search terms that will cause the engine to bring up the articles that would be useful for me.   That'd be a convenient solution, wouldn't it?   That way my requests/queries/criticism, etc., can just be written off as done by someone too clueless to pay heed to.   

I use computers to help me do my work, for me, they're tools, I would like them to just function, so that I can do my work.   I am so far behind in knowledge/skill of the people who created & work on FF & TB, I don't know if I could ever catch up, but I can do my own work, my skills are pretty up to date for that, and that's what I'd like to be able to do, my work.   Without having to spend a hour sometimes more at times almost every week, because my tool isn't working well enough for me to do my work.    Not all of those problems are caused or created by FF or TB, that's for sure, it does mean I have come to lack the patience to spend another hour searching for a help article, nope, nothing there, post in a community, wait a few days or weeks, get little to no "help" - and it's particularly annoying when one or more of the respones posted indicate whoever did the post didn't read all of what I'd posted because the suggestion is to try something I'd said I'd already tried w/no success.    As for taking that personally, what about wasting my time?   I didn't like the condescension but what bothered me most was that whoever (or whoevers, appeared in more then one response iirc) it was had wasted however much time I'd spent seeing the email informing me a response had been posted, figuring out again how to log into the community forum, etc. 

    For example: I got an email indicating you'd posted a reply.  When I logged in, I wasn't taken to your reply or even that thread, every time I was taken to a board and had to scroll down, looking for the right discussion or thread.   It would make more sense/be more efficient to take someone responding to a specific post, to the thread on which that post had been made.   So--there's a very specific suggestion for improvement--and now you'll tell me I haven't posted any of my specific requests/problem in the right place.   And I won't respond because I won't feel like (1) figuring out the appropriate place and (2) finding that place and (3) figuring out how to log in if I have to register all over again.  

Thank you for the detailed follow-up.
 


@azurite73 wrote:

See rsbrux's post at the beginning of this thread, those seem like pretty specific desired changes to me.


Agreed


I am going to end by saying, if I can't even FIND an article that solves my problem, whatever it is then I'm not going to have any specific changes to suggest in making that non-existent or unfindable by me article more helpful am I? I will have only the general statement that I have now made repeatedly: (1) I try different phrases and different search terms but often cannot find a solution to a problem or difficulty I'm experiencing in help article or elsewhere (2) because I'm  NOT a tech person I don't always know for sure if it's a FF or TB problem or a Windows 10 problem. 


On #1, the search engine on the support site has gotten better in recent years but still leaves a lot to be desired. On #2, it's completely understandable. There are very few people who know the intimate details of the browser. Despite being very active on support, I learn new surprises on a regular basis. You can't let that stop you from asking a question.


For example, used to be when did one of the ever more frequent TB updates, I wouldn't lose the TB icon on the bottom taskbar (i.e., "lose" = disappears as soon as the update's installed),  and I would see the TB icon again on what I guess is called the desktop.  That no longer happens, don't remember when that annoying change occurred (because it means I have to repin every time after locating a TB icon on a different screen/display.  Every time, I have to repin the TB icon to the bottom task bar and I no longer see the TB symbol on the desktop home screen at all, instead, after each update installs, I see another white rectangle--icons, I guess-- that are probably supposed to look like a white paper w/right hand corner folded over icon with Thunderbird printed & an arrow pointing to it.     I don't know for sure if it's a stricting Mozilla TB issue/problem or if it's a Windows/TB interaction issue.    What I do know is that when I searched for a solution in the TB help center (for a help "article") or whatever it's called I could find nothing after 10-15 minutes of trying different search terms, etc., and after that I did NOT feel like figuring out, again, how to post in the "community forum" since it's been at least 3-5 years since I got a helpful response from the community  (I did find it useful a few times years ago).

The last time I pointed out a very specific problem with Thunderbird I got zero help except for one suggestion?   Update TB.  Well, after something like 3 years of living with the problem, and updating TB the problem finally went away--so I guess, if I didn't mind the wait, it really was a "helpful" suggestion.   

That I didn't switch to a different email host or whatever the correct term is, during that 3 years has more to do w/procrastination and just being sick & tired of dealing w/software & computer issues, usually but not always generated by updates, whether of my security software, the horrible Windows, or a TB or FF update--problems sometimes caused by an incompatibility between one of the 3 caused by the update-- then how I felt about dealing with that recurring problem, which was very irritating.    

In that instance, I was very specific about the problem w/Thunderbird, yet, I didn't feel I got a useful response.   Not when it took 3 years or more for the problem to be solved, intentionally or otherwise, by those who work on TB.      Now you're telling me I need to be more specific.   So, I'm done.  


That obviously is a very specific example compared with the general topic of help articles not being helpful. But I would be surprised if there is or would be a help article for it because it is one of those freak things that happens from time to time. I've personally had problems with having to change my pinned icon for Firefox every couple of years. I don't know whether it's my fault for installing multiple versions or a problem with the updater that suddenly requires removing the old icon and pinning a new one (even though the folder name is identical). Sometimes Windows won't group new Firefox windows with the pinned item, but works normally again after restarting the system. While it is maddening when things behave unpredictably, I have so many other problems that I've never tried to figure out exactly what causes that one. So I wouldn't have been able to solve it, either.


You've got one point of view, I've got another, mine is that I'd like to be able to find solutions to my problems using TB or FF, when they come up, not 3 years or more later.   Maybe I just don't get however the TB and FF search engine logic works, so I'll never come up with search terms that will cause the engine to bring up the articles that would be useful for me.   That'd be a convenient solution, wouldn't it?   That way my requests/queries/criticism, etc., can just be written off as done by someone too clueless to pay heed to.   


We'll always need person-to-person assistance for rare/unusual problems.


I use computers to help me do my work, for me, they're tools, I would like them to just function, so that I can do my work.   I am so far behind in knowledge/skill of the people who created & work on FF & TB, I don't know if I could ever catch up, but I can do my own work, my skills are pretty up to date for that, and that's what I'd like to be able to do, my work.   Without having to spend a hour sometimes more at times almost every week, because my tool isn't working well enough for me to do my work.    Not all of those problems are caused or created by FF or TB, that's for sure, it does mean I have come to lack the patience to spend another hour searching for a help article, nope, nothing there, post in a community, wait a few days or weeks, get little to no "help" - and it's particularly annoying when one or more of the respones posted indicate whoever did the post didn't read all of what I'd posted because the suggestion is to try something I'd said I'd already tried w/no success.    As for taking that personally, what about wasting my time?   I didn't like the condescension but what bothered me most was that whoever (or whoevers, appeared in more then one response iirc) it was had wasted however much time I'd spent seeing the email informing me a response had been posted, figuring out again how to log into the community forum, etc. 

For example: I got an email indicating you'd posted a reply.  When I logged in, I wasn't taken to your reply or even that thread, every time I was taken to a board and had to scroll down, looking for the right discussion or thread.   It would make more sense/be more efficient to take someone responding to a specific post, to the thread on which that post had been made.   So--there's a very specific suggestion for improvement--and now you'll tell me I haven't posted any of my specific requests/problem in the right place.   And I won't respond because I won't feel like (1) figuring out the appropriate place and (2) finding that place and (3) figuring out how to log in if I have to register all over again.  


I can't justify anyone being rude or condescending if they are sincerely trying to be helpful. I understand the mistake of jumping to a conclusion before mentally processing an entire post because I've done that. Of course the helpers should try harder to account for an entire question, but I can't think of a way to guarantee it.

Regarding notifications, in the ones I get for this site the thread title links to the specific reply shown in the message. Unless my session has expired, it takes me directly here. It works when the site automatically signs me in, but if I need to go through the page with the multiple ways to sign in, I'm not sure that works; I'll need to pay more attention the next time. Of course, each site has its own approach to notifications -- which gets back to the original topic of this discussion.

Finally, it's worth considering other community sites where people discuss Mozilla products. Two I check frequently myself are r/Firefox on Reddit and the venerable mozillaZine site, which has a treasure trove of advanced articles as well as independent forums: http://www.mozillazine.org/. As you can imagine, these have their own very different personalities, strengths and weaknesses. It would be cool if there was a search engine that could combine results from all these sources, but on the other hand, maybe it would be more stuff to read that isn't quite on point. It's a hard problem.

You are not hearing what I'm saying: I'm saying I had a very specific problem w/TB some years ago.   I first looked for a solution in the help articles & could find nothing.    Then I posted in the community.   I got one response, that was to update TB.   I did that for 3 years, dealing w/a really annoying problem for 3 years, until finally, an update, probably inadvertently fixed the problem.    Then I mentioned another specific problem,  more recently, which I again searched the help articles for a solution and couldn't find one.

 

Read your responses: as I read it you said, yep, sometimes things happen and they're so rare that you won't be able to find any help, not in the help articles, not anywhere, in fact I have had a similar problem to you w/regards to non-appearing Mozilla icons after updates.  Repeatedly.    I guess it doesn't bother you.   I'm tired of it and that's why I looked for a solution.   

To me your response says, really I don't understand why any of this bothers you, you should keep trying because the search engine has improved--except I'd just told you that I'd looked again recently and hadn't found a solution for the disappearing icons & odd substitutes for icons (which don't always work like an icon does, some do, some don't).     Like I said, what's clear is that you find an inability to get help, to get a helpful response from the "community," is ok.    And you're ok w/glitches that add minutes to time spent doing mundane but necessary tasks every day.    Because Mozilla is a wonderful community, even if it's not helpful.    Well, I guess it works for you.


@azurite73 wrote:

To me your response says, really I don't understand why any of this bothers you, you should keep trying because the search engine has improved--except I'd just told you that I'd looked again recently and hadn't found a solution for the disappearing icons & odd substitutes for icons (which don't always work like an icon does, some do, some don't).     Like I said, what's clear is that you find an inability to get help, to get a helpful response from the "community," is ok.    And you're ok w/glitches that add minutes to time spent doing mundane but necessary tasks every day.    Because Mozilla is a wonderful community, even if it's not helpful.    Well, I guess it works for you.


I think I understand what you are saying, and don't think that is a fair summary of what I said. Let me summarize what I think about this:

(1) Mozilla should try to provide as much "how to" information and personal help as possible within the limited budget, and should continue to leverage its goodwill in the community to encourage good user-to-user support.

Every user is starting from a different place and has different preferences about how they receive information and varying levels of ability to execute written multi-step instructions. The difficulty is not unique to Mozilla.

(2) The search on Mozilla Support is better now than it was a couple years ago, but it still needs improvement; I'm not sure the search on this site would be a great model to emulate, either (I think this is the Lithium platform).

Firefox recently added a small number of feature links to the Firefox address bar to help users that appear to be searching for fixes (for example, if you type firefox cache you get a button for clearing data). Building out this feature hopefully will help with the more obvious questions, but there will still be a lot of work for search to do for less common problems or one where the user doesn't know the magic words.

(3) The selection of articles on Mozilla Support only covers the most common issues, which leaves many issues to personal assistance on the forum or on unofficial sites. I don't know how realistic it is to try to cover a lot more topics when the community keeps having to run to catch up with frequent changes just to maintain current articles, and then rush to do all the localizations in the supported languages.

There are contributor forums on the site to propose new articles that are needed, and there are editing tools to add a new section to an existing article if you want to just leave your suggested revisions for the editors and not get into a discussion about them.

(4) Forum volunteers sometimes give low quality assistance due to insufficient time, lack of knowledge, or bad attitude. The community managers are constantly thinking about how to improve this while simultaneously trying to extend reach on Twitter, Facebook, and other channels where people raise questions rather than coming directly to support. It's a work in progress and it would be great to see more progress.

 

I fear that this thread is slowly diverging from the original topic, but @jscher2000's last post brings up a few points which I find relevant:



(2) The search on Mozilla Support is better now than it was a couple years ago, but it still needs improvement; I'm not sure the search on this site would be a great model to emulate, either (I think this is the Lithium platform).

I have had negative experiences with Lithium as a platform on several fora, not just Mozilla's.  If Lithium is the platform behind connect and community, that could well explain the poor performance.  Why is Mozilla spending its limited budget on an expensive solution like Lithium, when there are less expensive, lower overhead, solutions which work better, e.g. Discourse, XenForo, Flarum or just phpBB?


(3) The selection of articles on Mozilla Support only covers the most common issues, which leaves many issues to personal assistance on the forum or on unofficial sites. I don't know how realistic it is to try to cover a lot more topics when the community keeps having to run to catch up with frequent changes just to maintain current articles, and then rush to do all the localizations in the supported languages.


If Mozilla would spend less effort on changes which break the UI (e.g. the new print dialog, which we have discussed elsewhere) and more time fixing the existing reported problems, there would be less work required to update existing help articles.

 


(4) Forum volunteers sometimes give low quality assistance due to insufficient time, lack of knowledge, or bad attitude. The community managers are constantly thinking about how to improve this while simultaneously trying to extend reach on Twitter, Facebook, and other channels where people raise questions rather than coming directly to support. It's a work in progress and it would be great to see more progress.

If Mozilla would reduce the number of their own platforms, it would free up community resources for the outreach you propose on other channels.  OTOH, what good is outreach on new channels when, according to available statistics, Firefox is losing its existing users.  As has been amply discussed elsewhere in these fora, "It's cheaper to keep 'em".

Gopher
Making moves

Yes,this.